Guest Post By Jess Signet: I would like to thank Hofit Kim Cohen for publishing this article. Her site is a great inspiration for travelers everywhere and is full of great tips, advice and personal stories. After reading this, I highly recommend you check out her post on food experiences in India!
Hostelling is a great way to see the world, meet new friends and pick up traveling tips. It’s the ideal way for young adventurers to share their wanderlust with peers and for the less-experienced nomads to dip their toes in the water of travel.
However, there’s only so long you can survive in the midst of bodies, pub crawls, shower lines and crowded breakfast rooms before you realize it might be time to move on. If you experienced any of these seven signs, it might be time to rethink the accommodation choice and opt for more private options instead.
1. Sleep Trumps Sociability
Most youthful travelers thrive off the sleepless nights, epic hangovers and midday dozes. Unfortunately, this lifestyle is only sustainable for so long. If, after a hard night on the town, all you want is a duvet, cup of coffee and warm bath, then it might be time to accept that hostel life is no longer for you.
When you’re more worried about what time the nightly pub-crawl gets back and whether you’re going to be able to fall asleep before they do, than the cheap drink deals and social opportunities available, it’s most definitely a sign.
2. You’re Over Shared WiFi
The group in the corner is streaming a movie, so you can’t access your work emails. The connection speed isn’t good enough to upload pictures and files onto your cloud storage. Plus, if you don’t have your Virtual Private Network up-to-date and running, you know you’re probably going to have your identity stolen or contract a disastrous virus anyway.
The internet is an important part of any traveler’s life, and if the inconvenient shared hostel WiFi networks are just not cutting it anymore, then it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.
3. You Miss Home Comforts
A duvet, a dressing gown, a functioning kitchen, a bath tub and home entertainment system: the list is endless. There are many things that budget travelers have to give up in order to make their adventures a reality.
While these sacrifices are necessary for young adventurers with limited funds, there comes a point when these home comforts become equally as important as keeping the costs down—sometimes more. There’s no shame in wanting to snuggle up and get comfy after a long day of sightseeing, but if you feel this way, then it’s time to admit that hostelling isn’t for you.
4. You’ve Done the Tourist Trail
Most cities have a thriving backpacking community, with several key landmarks, popular restaurants and bars, all working along with the hostels to provide a package experience for visitors. At any one hostel you can guarantee that all the guests have seen the same things, eaten at the same places and are probably taking the same train to the next city to do it all over again.
While this is a completely reasonable way to travel, after you’ve done these tourist trails once or twice, they begin to lose their magic. If this happens, it’s time to find to alternative accommodation and experience your destination from an alternative, local point of view.
5. Money Is No Issue
Let’s face it: one of the main reasons why people chose hostels over other types of accommodation is mainly down to pricing. As soon as your budget allows for staying in hotels and guesthouses, there’s very few who would chose to remain bunked up in a 12-bed dorm. If you’re still yearning for the hostel atmosphere, but can’t handle most of the elements of communal living, then you can always aim for a private room to get the best of both worlds.
6. There’s No Room Left in Your Complimentary Locker
Packing light is a delicate art that can be appreciated by all travelers, but as you get older and more experienced, you often find yourself needing bigger and more expensive items. For travel bloggers, photographers, video makers and adventure sports lovers, your gradually growing equipment collection is eventually going to start bursting out of the only bit of private storage that hostels provide—a very small, lockable safe. Instead of trying to work out which lens or pair of hiking boots you can afford to leave at home, you might want to start accepting that your traveling career is moving on to new places and it’s time to check-in elsewhere.
7. You’re Sick of the Words “Gap Year”
For many of us, our first hostelling experience was on our gap year. Although those precious months backpacking round Europe or volunteering in Asia will always be a key and defining part of our lives, there’s only so long we can listen to eager “gap-yearers” telling us all about their first trip away from home. Their excitement is valid, but if you feel it should be saved for more appropriate traveling companions, then maybe it’s time to move away from the dorm life for good.
While hostels serve a brilliant purpose for young, budget travelers, there comes a time where most adventurers feel like they’ve outgrown them. There’s no shame in moving on to bigger, better and more private accommodations! If you feel like your days of hostelling are over or have reasons why they are perfect for travelers of any age, be sure to leave a comment below.
About the author: Jess Signet is a long-term budget traveler who has experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of hostel life. You can follow Jess and her long term travel adventures on Twitter at @Jessstravels