Hostels are usually absolutely packed full of interesting people from amazing places all over the world. They are travellers, journeymen, explorers and folk with generally itchy feet and a wondrous sense of adventure. But, among all of these people there is another force, more dark and sinister than we realise.
The people you never want to meet yet always seem to be colliding with in the small hostel bubble. They inflict themselves on the backpacking majority with the force of a nasty bed bug outbreak.
Thankfully, Hostelzoo has you covered with our guide on how best to not only identify these bandits, but also deal with them.
The Ultimate Traveller
The absolute bane of the hostel communal circle the Ultimate Traveller always knows a better way to do things. They can inform you, with all the condescension of a certified professional, of everything you’re doing wrong from how you pack, to how you travel. In their mind, there’s nothing that you’re doing that can’t be improved upon, and nothing they’re doing that can. Spot them by their generally bigheaded tone in conversation. Much to the chagrin of hostel owners, they can be heard loudly proclaiming their superior knowledge in communal spaces of a hostel with lines like: “If this was my hostel” or “If I ran this place”, followed by a list of much-needed improvements.
There are several ways to neutralize the Ultimate Traveller. The simplest is to let it slide, and move the conversation onward when they’re in the midst of a monologue on the virtues of their travel godliness. They think they deserve a pedestal, but they’ll only get one if you let them crawl all over you to get to the top.
Lady backpackers beware; the Casanova is on your trail, hoping no doubt to be on your tail. Unaffected by the constant rejection he faces from the female traveller, the Casanova approaches each woman like a new challenge. A voluptuous Everest to be conquered. Unfortunately for him (and probably for all the poor women in his sights) the Casanova is hardly the cream of the genetic crop. Although this would be no issue for a potential soul mate, when combined with his repellent personality he hardly makes for a wonderful hostel experience.
Seeing as rejections of unimaginable multitude has not put the Casanova off his game, putting him in his place is probably not the best way to deal with his type. Instead try the ignorance method, in which Casanova only exists when his behaviour is inline with the (albeit loose) social norms of the hostel.
The Kitchen Vagabond
In the world of the budget backpacker, there’s nothing more blasphemous than the kitchen vagabond. An individual with few morals and no cares about the people with whom they share a fridge, their sticky fingers regularly remove that which isn’t theirs. The Kitchen Vagabond is perhaps the hardest of the hostel bandits to identify, as their sneaky disposition simmers quietly under the surface. Motivated by things we can only guess at, Hostelzoo recommends trusting your instincts on this one. Unless your suspect always seems to have food without ever being seen with a shopping bag… That’s probably a clue.
Neutralising the Kitchen Vagabond is as easy as Buy, Zip, Lock. One, buy a cool bag with zips. Two, place all food inside and zip up tight. Three, lock zips together with small luggage lock. Ultimately, the Kitchen Vagabond is a soldier of opportunity, and even so small an obstacle is enough to turn them away leaving your food safe and tasty.
The Obsessive Perfectionist
It is of a wonder to the folks at Hostelzoo (as it has no doubt been for many in the hostelling industry over the years) that the Obsessive Perfectionist has the slightest inclination to travel. With a demeanour that can only be described as overwhelmingly controlling, they patrol the hostel with a greater purpose to which we are not privy. They make the lives of hostel owners and patrons alike a special kind of hell, making it their personal mission to ensure everything is in order. Leaving a bag on the floor is a personal affront to their very existence, as is the presence of any person or thing not inline with their unusually strict cultural boundaries. Look out ethnic food lovers and midnight cereal eaters, because that craziness just doesn’t fly with the Obsessive Perfectionist.
As the problems of the Obsessive perfectionist are usually too deep seated to be solvable by the average, fun-loving backpacker, the best way to neutralize them is just to leave them be. Let the storm around the hostel trying to bring everyone into their dominion of order. Then, when they get to you shrug, yawn or stretch, and watch the horror slide across their face. Feel free to tell them that they don’t own the hostel, and if they did you certainly wouldn’t stay there.
The Plastic Bag Packer
There are few people in the world of hostel travellers lucky enough to have never encountered the Plastic Bag Packer. Those who have not had the pleasure of meeting this fine individual will no doubt have heard the horror stories: The ungodly hour of their arrival, the unbearable rustling of a seemingly endless supply of plastic bags, their unbelievable forgetfulness, constantly coming back to search for yet another miniscule item in that plastic wasteland. The Plastic Bag Packer always seems to be looking for something at the wrong time, and in the wrong place. Their very presence in a dorm room at four in the morning is enough to send some previously docile hostel guests into a sleepless and murderous rage.
Dealing with the Plastic Bag Packer is simple. Usually, these bandits aren’t even aware of the wrath they bring out in the other hostel patrons. Plastic bags are hardly the most effective way to pack a bag, and tend to be apart of a system born of haste. Just head over to them and let it be known that they made as much noise as an elephant in a grass skirt doing the hula in an echoing room of cellophane. If that doesn’t clue them in, spend 99c on a canvas shopping bag, and maybe they’ll get the hint.