How to Deal With a Bad Hostel
Alright, we've all been there. You check into your hostel, new city, possibly new country, the world seems your oyster. Then you walk into your room....and everybody is weird or old or something. It happened to my friend and I in Bilbao.
After opening our door, we find we are bunking with six people who are on a massive hiking trek, and haven't been around showers, wifi, and such for a long time. OK fine, open windows and get over it right? We were feeling like we were being very judgemental and felt bad about it, but once we talked to them, they were super sweet, very aware of their situation and very polite. Roommate problem solved. But, the next night we were with 6 older Germans, also on a hiking trek, and they were incredibly rude. They woke us up many times by turning on the light, talking full volume and banging around all their bags. I wish they had read my hostel etiquette tips, would have let me sleep longer.
Not all hostel situations are ideal, but after staying in many hostels in many situations, here is the best advice I can offer to deal with bad or questionable hostel experience.
Bring earplugs. Seems simple but often forgotten. You would be surprised they amount of noise some people can make early in the morning and not feel bad about it. I had forgotten these on my past hostel experience and deeply regretted it at 4am. Another method I tried to use instead is classical music in earphones playing, hopefully you can't hear them through your music.
Bring a lock. While I always advise this, and I always prefer to use my lock to keep important things safe, if the people in your room are especially sketchy or shifty, lock up your stuff. Seems obvious but seriously always better to have a lock on you. Often, hostels will have locks they can rent or loan, so if you forgot and are feeling sketched out, they got your back.
Talk to them. If they're pretty rude or whatever, and you're unfortunately sharing a space for a couple of days, ask them politely to maybe not talk at full volume to a friend for 30 minutes at 4 am (real situation), or maybe don't blast music while they're getting ready at 6 am (also real)? Obviously approach the situation less passive aggressively, but sometimes people legitimately don't know how rude their behavior can be. Maybe they were raised under a rock by themselves? You never know people's life situation.
Leave the room. If they're realllllly bad you can always complain to the hostel to see if maybe they can move you, I would think this would be in extenuating circumstances though.
Sometimes the people are nice enough, but the hostel friggen sucks. My worst was in Rome where the hostel was sketchy, no place to lock up my bags, the wifi was really bad, and I was sick. Yeah first world problems and you can do anything for a small amount of time, but still sucks to be in a bad situation.
If loud, bring earplugs. I mean it's really always useful to have them around. People may be quiet but you're near a train or a busy street, ear plugs can save yo life again.
Again, bring a lock. Feels obvious but if they place is especially sketchy, carry around your most valuables. Sucks to have a small and convenient purse, and to put your passport and papers it it isn't optimal, I get it. But, always better to know your things are safe. Particularly sucks when you've got a sketchy hostel but still want to go on a pub crawl. I feel ur pain ladies and gents.
Uncomfortable beds. This is a hard one because you can't tell before booking and paying so you can't even just switch hostels. Really nothing you can do about it, but when faced with this situation in Bilbao, a friend and I just left for the day to deal with it later, and we figured we had to drink alcohol before bed to make it manageable. I always sleep better and fall asleep faster after 2 glasses of wine, and it honestly did the trick in this situation too.
We've all been there, and sometimes traveling isn't all glamor. It's okay, it's part of the journey!!! Live and learn you know.