What do you imagine when you picture a hostel?
For me, I imagine
- Dormitory Beds
- Young people
Hostels are designed to reach my core demographic: young (18-30ish), male, and interested in adventure travel.
And I belong in (some) of those categories. I am young (20s), live out of a backpack, etc.
However, after my experience of living in a hostel, I believe that hostel life is WAYYY overrated.
In fact, I would even go as far as saying that hostels are bad for digital nomads!
Where I am coming from…
Let me preface this story by saying I am a recent college graduate.
I lived in a dormitory for 4 years, so I’m no stranger to living with a bunch of random people.
I arrived in Istanbul, Turkey expecting to love the hostel life.
After all, backpackers rave about these places. (Especially in Southeast Asia.
Hostels are supposedly the place where one meets lifelong friends, and they have great social scenes.
My hostel did indeed have this. I met some great people, and there was a bar on the rooftop to hang out. (Ironically, it was overlooking the Hagia Sophia Mosque.)
I met future doctors, real estate specialists in London, investment bankers, and even a consultant to the government in Dubai.
And my issue with hostels is not these people. I would happily share a hostel with these people, and would love to see them again.
However, my dormitory room did not allow me to sleep.
Now, the dormitory room never had more than 3 people. So, it was never the number of people staying within the dorm.
Rather, my issue with hostels is the party scene.
I am young, so I am supposed to be looking for the next great party. Then sleep to 12:30 PM, tourist activities in the afternoon, and back to the bar at 9 the next night.
However, that’s not me.
I like sleep.
I have one story that can prove my point.
At 2:30 AM, a guy walked into our dorm room, turned on the light, used the bathroom, and turned off the light when he walked back upstairs.
I would have no issue with this specific person if they were staying in our dorm room, but they were not.
I don’t even know who they were.
Plus, there was an empty bathroom right outside of our dorm.
How do I know this?
He actually had to open our door to use our bathroom, and I could see the other bathroom NOT being used.
As somebody who requires sleep (P.S. We ALL need sleep.), these interruptions and the loud Macklemore music at 1:30 were actually detrimental to my health. (I haven’t heard Thrift Shop that much since 8th Grade.)
My days became foggy, and this is dangerous for someone in a different country.
Plus, lack of sleep is horrible for when I am attempting to photograph or video something.
It is required for content creators (which I am NOT one) to wake up early and go to bed after the sun sets.
Mainly, because the #GoldenHour lighting is the best.
But photography and videography also require some odd hours, mainly because we want to take awesome pictures like this!
This is just a reality of my career.
So, that being said, I don’t believe that staying in a hostel is good for digital nomads. (No matter what Nomadic Matt or any other budget traveler says.)
Besides the sleep, I was constantly being introduced to new people. And the constant interruptions were prohibiting any progress.
Internet & Hostels
Finally, my other issue with hostels is the lack of reliable internet.
They claimed it was great, but if more than three people were on it? Forget about it.
The hostel also had 3 different Wi-Fi, and they would all stall-out.
Maybe you are different, but I think reliable internet is a no-compromise for digital nomads.
I use Google Docs, book hotel rooms, but I also need reliable internet for uploading YouTube Videos.
Shooting in 4K creates some HUGE file sizes. (For example, H.264 4K Video is about 1 GB per minute!)
So, I don’t want to stay up until 1 AM watching my video upload to YouTube.
Plus, I don’t like leaving my computer in an open area (without being locked.)
My Final Notes about Why Hostels are Bad for Digital Nomads
My final reason I think hostels are overrated (and this is a personal complaint) is I have a limited time and resources to create a blog and vlog that is financially sustainable.
I am chasing a clock, or rather the clock is chasing me.
Because of this, I need to be as focused as possible.
Also, if I need to find a quiet place to record dialogue, hotel rooms provide that opportunity.
Constantly being interrupted can actually ruin my video.
If I did not get my project done, it’s on me.
So, for now, I will be staying in hotels instead of hostels
Hotels might be a bit more expensive, but I think I can justify it as long as I don’t drink.
If I end up getting lonely, I will try AirBnBs.
And if that does not work, I will try to find hostels that offer single rooms. (Of which there are plenty.)
As I review this article, it may appear that I am a control freak. (Which I most definitely am….) And I probably don’t have the right attitude for travelers that stay in hostels.
Most travelers that stay in hostels appreciate each day as a gift, which I aspire to be like. (But I am a work in progress.)
So, here’s to hoping the Wi-Fi gets more stable (along with my sleep schedule.)