Forming friendships with people you meet during your travels is an extremely rewarding aspect of traveling. Yet, this may be impacted upon by the type of accommodation you select to stay in. If one opts for a youth hostel, there are likely to be more guests sharing the same interests as you, who are generally much younger than those staying in hotels or guesthouses. Below are some red flags to help you avoid ending up in bad hostels in Europe:
Notice The Crowd – Is It A Party Hostel?
One of the first things you need to do to avoid ending up in bad hostels in Europe is to look around the place where it is located. What kind of atmosphere is this hostel creating? Are there some trees for fresh air? Some hostels are very loud and party central 24/7, while others are more laid back and low-key.
If loud parties or drunk people are coming out until late at night, that place is probably not good for you to stay in. You will probably get woken up at all hours of the night due to rowdy guests and rowdier employees cashing in on your hard-earned cash by hosting wild parties for their friends.
By looking at pictures, you should be able to understand what type of crowd frequents this place. The last thing you want is to book a nice quiet place solely because of the fact that it is cheap only to show up there and find out that it is a complete madhouse with drunk/high people running all over the place getting in your way, stealing your stuff, or leaving puddles everywhere from their overflowing bladders. It would help if you had a relaxed atmosphere where everybody gets along. Is it supposed to be fun, right?
What are the people who have stayed here saying? This is where TripAdvisor shines. Just type in ‘hostel name’ + review, and it will pull up all sorts of helpful information on what other people thought about their experience there. Were they satisfied with everything, or did they complain about certain things like the facility’s need for AC repair services? If many people have posted complaining, then perhaps that is not the best place to stay.
What kind of age group is this hostel targeting? As a general rule of thumb, 18–30-year-olds should be able to afford to stay here comfortably because, let us face it, your budget should only go so far while traveling. That means if there are kids, older people, or middle-aged couples, then odds are this will not be an ideal place for you. You can probably get away with renting anything that says it is ‘family-friendly,’ and I have seen some pretty nice places, but you might end up paying an extra fee per night depending on the location.
Some places claim to be party central, but there is nobody in sight if you go there at night around 11 pm. The bar will be empty, the common area completely vacant, and it seems like nothing ever happens at these places. You can always tell by what time they lock up for the night.
If everyone needs to be out of the place by 10 pm, then that means that people are either getting home or they are all asleep because they could not stay out any later than that. It is also important to note whether or not your bed is right next to where the loudest part of the lounge/bar/common area is. It is a lot easier to fall asleep when there are not many crazy people screaming and shouting right outside your room.
How Are Clients Treated?
To avoid ending up in one of the bad hostels in Europe, look at the quality of services the facility offers to its clients. Soon after getting into the iron doors of the facility or when you are checking into a hostel, make sure to ask about the staff around there. Do they look friendly enough, or are they giving off the vibe that they do not want you there?
If they seem unwelcoming, then chances are they are not fond of strangers staying with them. It is no surprise if they turn out to be snobby towards you. It is okay to spend some time looking around before deciding on where to stay when you travel.
Check out solar energy installation projects undertaken in the facility, especially when you need to confirm that water heaters in the hostel may be due to health reasons. Besides, it is better to be safe than sorry. Customer treatment is one of the important aspects in ruling out the bad hostels in Europe.
How does the owner treat you? This is tough to assess, but by looking at pictures or searching through reviews, you can get a good idea of how the owner treats their customers. Generally speaking, if they treat them nicely and give them all sorts of perks and free services, that is an indicator that it might be worth staying in.
What kind of amenities are available to guests? Look for things like laundry services, Wi-Fi (if you need it), kitchen access (if allowed). These kinds of things should be available. Be careful, though, because some hostels will charge extra for these core amenities.
Is there a curfew or lockout period where the doors are locked at night? This is important to know because you do not want to be stuck outside of your room in the middle of the night without any way to get inside. Also, many places will lock their staff out on overnight shifts, so if you arrive after hours, you may have trouble finding someone that can let you in. If a hostel has a lockout period, then that means that nobody else can get inside either, which means no parties and less likelihood of disturbance from neighboring guests.
Maintenance of the Hostel
One of the biggest turns offs for many people when it comes to bad hostels in Europe is the dirty walls you will find in most of them. People tend to smoke a lot which can cause black stains on the walls and ceilings. If you stay in a place with dark greasy stains, that is probably not a good sign for you.
It would help if you also looked out for possible ceiling leaks or cracks, leading to mold growth. Mold is something no one likes coming across, so get rid of such places immediately before anyone picks up any health issues from sleeping there.
How’s cleanliness? Well, many things can put your life at risk if they are not handled properly with the likes of bed bugs, lice, and other pests, for example. Just think about all those people who had to deal with that stuff back in school.
That was bad enough, but now imagine that multiplied by 100+ because that is how many people share your room when you are staying at a hostel! You must be wondering what you need to know about the cleanliness of various hostel areas, such as the most visible areas like the roofs, floor, walls, or shutters, and how it is relevant to safety.
If you are not picky with where you stay, various kinds of health problems can be avoided by simply picking a clean and nice place. You might not even find a single bug or rodent during your stay because those things are easy to keep away from if you look after the place properly.
The majority of the bad hostels in Europe may avoid hiring carpet cleaning companies or work with low-quality cleaning service providers hence a dirty facility. Be keen on the tidiness of a facility.
Additional Services and Amenities
Are there maid services in the hostel? What amenities and services are offered to customers? You do not want to stay in any of the bad hostels in Europe, a hostel that does not offer free breakfast. There are tons of good hostels out there that offer you a choice between room service or large communal breakfasts. These places typically have kitchens that are well stocked with everything you need to make your meals. If it is not there, they can tell you where to go to get food for breakfast instead.
Can I Bring My Towel? This may sound like a stupid question, but you would be surprised at how many hostels do not allow this. Some places charge some fees for towel rental; therefore, it is something that you should ask before you check out a place. You might think that it does not matter, but if the price difference is negligible, why not save some money and buy your towel?
If your place is near a major tourist attraction, you should be getting pretty good rates and reviews from travelers because this tends to be where most of them go. Big cities usually offer great amenities such as public transport within walking distance or a few minutes by car.
You want to make sure that you can store your luggage in a secure place after checking out because this is when you will be exploring the local area or doing some last-minute shopping. You do not want to carry it around with you all day because it will start to get heavy, not to mention very tiring.
Is there a free map? This may seem like another stupid question, but several bad hostels in Europe do not offer guides or maps at their front desk. If they do, then find out if they have printed illustrated maps or just computer printouts. The best ones are the ones that come with a route planner because you will be able to plan out your day beforehand, so you will not waste any time.
Do you have a key card? This is something that only applies if the hostel offers security key cards for their guests. This enables guests to swipe themselves back into their rooms after hours, so they do not have to worry about getting locked out.
Don’t Go On First Impressions Alone
To avoid ending up in bad hostels in Europe, never choose a hostel based on first impressions alone because chances are they are not going to be 100% right every time. You will also run into some sketchy places and pretty decent ones if you start looking around before checking in somewhere new.
You may have traveled for a vital reason, such as seeking legal services or a bondsman for a loved one. Whichever your reason for travelling is, it is never safe to judge a book by its cover, so do not judge a hostel at first sight. You should never pay the full price until you have seen what is inside of yourself and talk to some of the people who have been staying there for a few days already.
It is okay to ask them before deciding if you are going to stay there or not. Always ask around to see if any deals are going on in the area. Some places offer a free night’s stay when you bring a certain number of people with you or mention that you have found them online first.
There are plenty of things to look out for when looking for a place to stay to avoid falling prey to the bad hostels in Europe. The first thing you should do is check the basics like how clean it seems, what kind of food they offer, and how social everyone is.
You do not want to stay somewhere where nobody talks to each other because it will be very boring! If the hostel does not provide breakfast, then make sure they give you clear directions on where to eat instead, whether it is within walking distance or not. If they give you a meal plan for dinner, you are all set because that means they provide lunch!
We have also mentioned avoiding pests in your room before, but make sure the hostel has a pest prevention system before deciding if you will stay there or elsewhere. Some places are infested with cockroaches even though they do their best to keep them away, so look around carefully before walking into any given hostel.
Another thing is how many people are sharing an average-sized room. Keep in mind that the more beds you have, the more people you will be sharing the room with. Some hostels have up to 18 beds in one single room before, and trust me when I say it can be disturbing when trying to sleep because the other guests may be talking all night loudly long! You do not want to end up at one of the bad hostels in Europe that is already infested because it could ruin your trip if that happens!
Also, ensure that the facility has engaged the best service providers, including roofing companies, to ensure all maintenance services are undertaken. This will result in a well-kept facility and help you avoid ending up in bad hostels in Europe.
The hostel is one of the cheapest and most economical places to stay while traveling. However, it can be challenging to find a suitable hostel for oneself. One should make sure your choices are right before deciding on which hostel to settle in. This will play a major role in ensuring that one does not end up in bad hostels in Europe.