It seems strange that in many cases the first country that people really explore when they travel is not their own. Australians often go to Europe or to Asia, and Europeans in turn come to Australia or head off to New Zealand. There’s undoubtedly many reasons for this, one of which is definitely the feeling of being able to explore somewhere totally new and different. But, in many countries, including Australia, citizens who want to travel may find some unexpected obstacles in the research stage, especially when it comes to hostel stays. The specific obstacle we’re referring to comes in the crushing weight of a single line of text, often seen on websites and brochures, just taunting the travelling local.
International passport required for stay in dorms.
Well now, what’s a backpacker to do? They certainly can’t afford the private rooms, unless they planned on passing up food and drink for the rest of their travels. Following despair, it’s perfectly normal to find anger welling at the hostel owners and their stupid rules. How dare they forbid you from staying at the hostel just because you happen to be a national of the country? What absolute stupidity!
Now hold up a second. On the side of the hostel owners and perhaps being the devil’s advocate, let us explain why this occurs.
1. Hostels are cheap accommodation, and every body wants to save money.
This is great for backpackers and travelers, the people who want to get the most from their cash in their travels. BUT, cheap accommodation also attracts another breed of people. These are the local folk who are looking for a cheap place to crash while they hit up the scene and generally paint the town a blushing shade of scarlet. After all, who would spend $150+ on a hotel room when there are dorms available at $25 a night? Then there’s also those people from unfortunate socio-economic situations who find that backpacker hostels have less rules imposed than government run hostels. Of course, there is a great difference between a backpacker hostel and a hostel for people at risk. In both of these situations hostel owners face problems because:
2. The vibe of hostels is best when it’s all about travelers meeting other travelers.
This tends to go down the drain if your hostel is packed full of local talent scoping out the large number of attractive backpackers. Although hostels are sometimes all about the party, there’s another atmosphere there too. This atmosphere, of the group of intrepid adventurers grouped together for so brief a moment, is what makes staying in hostels often so interesting. So, when given the possibility of this scenario, most hostel owners can only make one decision. This isn’t to say that all local folk are going to be the same but:
3. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
If you say on your website, straight up where anyone looking to book will see it, that you don’t allow guests to stay if they don’t have an international passport, you’ll tend to turn off the kinds of people we were talking about. To them, the concept of getting a cheap room becomes too difficult, and they move on to other ideas. It isn’t a foolproof method, but considering the number of hostels that follow it we could conclude that it works at least most of the time.
Now, back to you, the intrepid travelers exploring your own country. You know you’re not one of those local folk we’ve spoken about. You’re a traveler as well, just like the other international passport carrying backpackers! Well stop worrying about it, because hostel owners will see that, and are usually just as awesome as you think they should be.
To get around this little bureaucratic issue, the best thing to do is make a call. Phone up the hostel and explain your situation. You’re not the only backpacker travelling your own country to face the problem, and you’re guaranteed not to be the last. If you’re the travelling type, hostel owners are usually more than happy to have you stay. After all, that’s what they want to fill their hostel with!