I had a great experience for my first ever hostel stay at the Painted Turtle Guesthouse in Nanaimo, BC this past weekend, but there were still ten things I hated about staying at a hostel.

Painted Turtle Guesthouse Nanaimo Dorm Room
Painted Turtle Guesthouse Nanaimo Dorm Room

I have a followup post on ten reasons you should stay at a hostel (to show both sides).

I stayed in a room with three other males in bunk beds and it was clean and comfortable for the price I paid ($26 / night). It was just me travelling (rest of family in Chicago).

1. No upgrades or private lounge.

Being a Hilton Gold and IHG Platinum member I have had access to some incredible lounges.

2. Constant noise from bunkmates.

I love to have peace and quiet, and I absolutely cannot fall asleep unless my room is absolutely quiet. My two night stay was marred by street noise, window opening, smartphones buzzing, and noise in our hostel room.

3. Having too many names to remember.

I had three roommates my first night and two new roommates the second night. It was challenging to keep remembering new names.

4. Interesting Strange characters.

I met one guy that was from Switzerland and was staying ten days in Nanaimo and three months on Quadra Island! Who stays ten days in Nanaimo? 

5. No privacy.

If you love privacy, don’t bother staying at a hostel (the only privacy you will have is in the bathroom). You won’t be able to close a door and shut yourself away. However, many youth hostels now offer four-person, two-person and even single rooms; they cost more per person than dorm bed space. I find many of these single rooms to be on-par price wise with a hotel.

6. No pool or spa.

I love to take a dip in the pool or hot tub when I travel after walking a lot during the day.

7. Charged for small items.

You’ll also need to bring soap, shampoo, and even face cloths as these are not available. The front desk had a sign of all the small things that they sold to guests.

8. Security

I had my laptop with me so when I went to Tofino for my day trip I took my laptop (which was OK but I didn’t feel comfortable leaving it there and the in-room safe was for smaller objects.

9. Wake up calls.

I love to have a good wake up call when I stay at a hotel. It gives me a comfortable feeling when I have a flight or an appointment scheduled the next day. This amenity was not available during my stay.

10. Unexpected wake up calls.

One of my roommates had to get up and pack their bag at 5am (unexpected wake up alarm).

If you are not comfortable around strangers, a hostel is probably not the best place to stay. Most people I found were travellers that were very friendly and looking to stretch their travel dollars.

What are your thoughts on staying at a hostel?

1 Comment

  • christine westland
    Posted August 31, 2013 5:22 pm 0Likes

    Hi Steven
    I have found the travel deal of the century

    Alaska Air has partnered with several airlines that fly to Europe. I am going to Dublin for 20,000 airmiles and returning from Rome for 32,500 airmiles from Vancouver. I am staying overnight in Dallas on the way there and LA on the way home as the flight is longer but the deal is spectacular. Tax totals 200 dollars. When you sign up for a Canadian Alaska Airlines card you get 25000 airmiles and a two for one coupon which you get every year.


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