Odds are you've spent a night or two in a youth hostel and remember it with some sort of fuzzy vagueness. Or maybe, if you stayed here, you don't remember it at all. Either way, that lack of recollection may lead you -- in an effort to pocket some extra cash -- to book yourself into another hostel on your next big European adventure. Which would be a mistake. Why you ask, considering the fun you no doubt seemed to have? Here are 18 reasons.
They don't call them youth hostels for nothing -- young people actually stay in these places. And we're not just talking about nubile 19yr-old coeds looking to "experience" the world, ('cause, well, that would be awesome), we're talking about noisy school groups eager to get tanked after their chaperones turn in.
2. Snorers and stinkers
There's a reason you requested a "Single" in Hughes Hall sophomore year; it's because sharing a room with fully grown adults sucks. Especially if there are 10 of them and they have, as is most likely the case, fully grown adenoids. And/or haven't done laundry since touching down in Rome, three countries ago.
3. The person who turns the light on in the middle of the night
While the respectful traveler will navigate his way across a darkened dorm room using his cell phone as a torch, swearing only in a whisper when he stubs his toe, there's always the asshat who just flips the lights on at 3am to find his bed.
4. Bunk beds
And speaking of beds, while bunks might have been all the rage on your summer Boy Scout trip to Camp Ton-A-Wandah, as an adult they're just one more creaking obstacle keeping you from successfully peeing in the middle of the night.
5. Zero-star service
Keep in mind that the hostel staff are likely travelers themselves, working for free room and board. Just in case you're wondering why the stoner at the front desk can't figure out how to get you "checked in" to the computer and left a beer stain on your passport.
6. Bed bugs
With a penchant for low-budget/filthy accommodation, bed bugs -- and their itchy little bites -- will totally ruin your night out at the deeeeth-co-techa
. And the ensuing train ride to Vienna. And making out with the Danish girl who's also staying at the hostel. You get the idea, right? If you don't believe us or want to plan ahead, check the critter history of your hostel at bedbugregistry.com
7. Communal bathrooms
Again, think back to the bathroom in college -- now multiply the amount of hair in the drain by about ten more nationalities. And you without your shower slippers.
8. Single-sex dorms
Traveling with your significant other? Single and looking to score? Consider yourself 0 for 2 if you're checking into a hostel with segregated rooms. Have fun sexting your goodnights.
9. Sex noises
And while we're on the topic of sex… Stay in enough hostels, and you'll no doubt get to spend a lucky evening enjoying the sultry sounds of two drunken roommates doing sweet love on a creaking bed next to you. Or above you. Or beneath you. Remember, bunk beds!
10. People who have seen the world, man
Sure, you're going to meet plenty of amaaazing Australians who are cool, and who totally love to drink, and who also hate One Direction as much as you, but you're also likely to be subjected to many late-night jam sessions and discussions on the socio-economic implications of American cultural imperialism (is that even something?) and the geopolitics of the Syrian conflict that you'll be begging for a hotel room with ESPN Deportes.
11. Tight arses
Unfortunately, this one is more figurative than literal. Want a towel? That's gonna cost you a few Euro. Want some stale Chex? A few Krona more. How about some sheets (boy, aren't you high maintenance)? No seriously, some hostels actually charge a linen fee. Otherwise, enjoy sprawling out on that bed bug-infested army cot.
Not as common these days, but some youth hostels still enforce a nighttime curfew, ensuring you're safely tucked in reading the latest Nancy Drew novel whilst the cool kids are out doing the Dougie, or whatever the hep new dance is these days.
Remember what it was like on Summer vacation when Mom kicked you and your friends out of the house and wouldn't let you back in -- except for Sunny D runs -- until the streetlights came on? Well, think of the hostel as your mom, except she's out of Sunny Delight. Yup, another outdated practice that helps make your hostel visit feel just one step above staying in a homeless shelter, some joints actually kick you out in the morning and won't let you back in until the evening.
14. The fight for power... outlets
Most hostels were built in those simple, backward days before smartphones, laptops, and digital cameras. So when it comes time to charge your gear, don't be surprised to find your dorm room only has one power outlet -- and somebody else has already nabbed it.
15. What the hell's cooking?
Sure, you could go out and enjoy the local cuisine, or you could fight for the only rusty saucepan in the communal kitchen and boil your "local" ramen packet to the stench of warmed canned goods and sizzling cheap meat. Totally up to you.
Just in case you were inclined to leave your electronics sitting around in full view of a bunch of strangers with limited funds, you should not do that. Better yet, set the timer on your phone and play the game, "How long will it take for someone to steal this pen that's out of ink", before leaving it unattended on a table.
17. The live-in
Almost every hostel has one -- the dude who should've gone home 20 years ago but is still there living the dream, and warning you against selling out to the man. See "Zero-star service" above.
18. Oh yea, and psychos
We'll let this video
speak for itself.