While up to 11 years ago most hostels were operated or affiliated with the YHA organization, budget air lines changed the hostel world so much, that you can find private hostels and backpackers in most major cities and tourist locations. In 2000 for example, Barcelona had one private hostel, the Kabul, and 4 YHA’s. Today, you will find up to 80 or 90 hostels on all booking websites.
But, with the growing number of hostels all over, the competition amongst them is sometimes reducing their quality. And many places open just to fill their owner’s wallets. Many times when you arrive at a hostel and approach the reception, you already can feel if the place is run by heart, or for money.
Easy backpacking knows how hard the hostel business is. Every place has to be set up, the bills have to be paid and employee’s don´t work for nothing.
On the other hand, travelers are paying guests. They might not pay 150 to stay at a 4-star hotel, but they are paying.
Some hostels tend to advertise facilities on their websites to make their place look more interesting, or sometimes even to bring backpackers to make reservations for more nights.
The following stories are written down to give you an idea what hostels do and write. They are all true and they might make you look at your accommodation as a paying guest. Because that is what you are, you worked for your money.
A hostel places their beds on all booking websites with the location mapped in the city you want to visit. Reservation made the traveler arrives in the cities train station, gets a map from the tourist info point and finds out that he has to track back by train or bus to get to the hostel, which actually is based in a town 40 minutes away. Not only that the traveler is wasting time and money to get there, he also needs to travel back and forth for his entire stay. More expenses to pay and time wasted.
Always check the location when it comes to hostels in major cities, especially Prague, Barcelona, Paris etc. Paying more for local transport adds up to the budget.
A hostel offers a dorm bed for 18 a night, all other hotels checked out on the web in the same city would charge 24 – 26. What they did not talk about on any website, internet is 5 an hour, breakfast an extra 3.50, to use the kitchen 1 and, and, and. So the 18 sleep comes to 28. The other places had all included.
A hostel offers kitchen with all facilities on their website. The traveler makes a reservation for 5 nights, thinking he would save money by getting groceries and cook his dinner in the kitchen. After check in, he discovers that the kitchen only has one microwave and a toaster, that’s all. Forced to eat out or just live on sandwiches the next 5 days, the hostel has this great deal for him, eating at the restaurant owned by the same management. What a scam!
The traveler checks in and pays for a 4 bed dorm. Actually, the room has 5 beds, but only 4 people are sleeping in it, so no problem. He goes out for dinner and comes back at midnight, just to discover that not only the fifth bed is occupied, but that the hostel placed a sixth in the dorm. A 4 bed dorm is 28, a 6 bed only 24. It´s 4 the traveler is entitled to get refunded.
The hostel has a lovely outside area to sit and relax. With it comes a little bar serving beers and food. The hostel also has a nice kitchen where guests can prepare their own meals. Now, one would think that it would be great to take your hot meal to the outside and eat. No! The hostel has signs everywhere saying “No outside food and drink in the whole hostel!” So one sits lonely in the little kitchen and eats. And the hostel makes more money selling beers for 5 to travelers.
Major rule when you want to stay at a hostel! Look at the whole package! The night might be cheap, but everything else comes expensive. When making a reservation at a hostel, why not write them an email and ask what services you have to pay for.