I am the cheapest person you will ever meet. I loathe buying things new. Ebay is my drug. I like to use clever tricks in order to pay the lowest price possible, and I have no problem sacrificing a little (or a lot) of comfort for a good deal.
I’m the girl that has no issue sleeping on a futon instead of a proper bed. I’m the girl that refuses to upgrade to a new mobile phone until the old one has died. And yet, sometimes I feel like I am too old for hostels.
Lately I have had the opportunity to stay in some great hotels. My stay at the Diamont in Canberra during the #humanbrochure campaign was more luxury than I had ever seen before. Have I become spoiled? Will I ever be able to go back to hostels?
Don’t get me wrong – there have been some awesome hostels I have stayed in and which I would not hesitate to stay in again. I have had great experiences staying in small locally run hostels, where the guests and the staff are respectful and friendly, noise is at a minimum, and sometimes there is free pudding.
Normally I try to steer clear of any hostel which has too high of a “fun” rating. “Fun” usually directly translates into vomit on the floor, and I am just not a fan of that. I try to stay away from the party hostels, or the ones above bars, just because they are simply too loud.
Lately though, as I travelled around Australia with three other people for a segment of the journey, it became more cost effective to rent cabins or small holiday homes instead of stay in dorms. And when I travel with my husband we tend to try to get private rooms if the price isn’t too much more than a dorm.
All this privacy has spoiled me.
Dan and I recently went to Sydney for a weekend. I had booked us a private room in a hostel. I had researched one that was near the city, had 24 hour reception (our flight arrived late), and that was not billing itself as a party hostel. I thought I had found my central city refuge in Sydney.
We could hear the hostel before we could see it.
A large group of people were standing outside drinking, while an even larger group of people were in the kitchen also drinking. There was a sign saying no noise after 10 pm. We wondered if that would be enforced.
The guy at reception looked apologetic as Dan and I exchanged meaningful looks. We walked up to reception, our shoes sticking to the floor where the spilled beer had recently dried.
Despite being of Germanic descent, the receptionist didn’t seem to have any of their stereotypical efficiency and it took a good 15 minutes to check us in. All the while my shoes became more and more cemented to the floor by the drying booze.
We finally got our key and went to the elevator to go to our room. Well, that was no longer an option – the elevator was full of vomit. Since becoming pregnant I have seen enough of my own vomit, that I don’t particularly want to spend time with someone elses. Despite being exhausted from the flight, we took the stairs.
“Omg – I think I am too old for hostels anymore.” And that is not a good thing – I can’t really afford to stay in hotels all the time – and the last thing I want to do is travel less because my budget gets eaten up by my accommodation choices.
“How will I get any sleep at all? I’m pregnant! I need my frickin sleep!” Dan has become accustomed enough to my pregnancy hormonal breakdowns to not respond to my outburst, but to instead grab the bags I was carrying and carry them for me.
And then we got into the room…
The room was fine. It was basic, and sparse, but it was clean. And best of all, when we closed the door, we blocked out almost all of the noise from downstairs. We did have a clean and quiet central city refuge after all!
The next day the partiers had either all checked out or were still passed out somewhere in their rooms. The floors were clean and the vomit had disappeared from the elevator. The receptionist was just as inefficient, but that is another story….
Now that we are expecting a baby, dorms are certainly a thing of the past for us. But that doesn’t mean that hostels have to be as well. I just need to be careful when reading those reviews and “fun” ratings, and hope and pray I don’t arrive during someone’s going away party.