The 3 Worst Hostel Experiences From Our Round-the-World Trip

We recently shared our five favorite hostels from our round-the-world trip last year. Now it's time to step a little bit on the negative side (I always make time for complaining). Here are three of our worst hostel experiences from our ten months of backpacking across five continents. 

1. Smart Camden Hostel in London, England

This hostel experience was unbearably horrendous! We arrived in London like two doofuses having no idea that the 2012 Summer Olympics were commencing that weekend. Of course this meant our hostel options were extremely limited. However, we did manage to secure two beds at a hostel in the upbeat area of Camden. Little did we know the torment we'd be subjected to over the next few nights. There were eight people crammed into 4 bunk-beds in a minuscule room with zero floorspace. Everyone's bags essentially ate up the room. There was one window, but no air flow since it opened up to the center of the building where there was no breeze. This caused a stench in the room to form that was nearly visible – a combination of dirty feet and sweaty butt. The bathroom was no safe space either. The sink was barely large enough to fit both my hand into and had two faucets which blocked your ability to even use the water flowing out of them. We felt like a T-rex every time we tried clawing at some of the water from the faucet with little success. With no space to stay organized, the room was constantly a mess and on top of that the wifi wasn't reliable. Obviously we'll never stay there again.

Walking to the train station in London, we saw a crowd waiting to see olympic road cyclists to go by

Walking to the train station in London, we saw a crowd waiting to see olympic road cyclists to go by

2. Arco Youth Hostel A&A, Ole' Barcelona, and Equity Point Centric all in Barcelona, Spain

It's not that these three hostels in Barcelona were bad. In fact, all three were perfectly acceptable. The reason they go on the hostel ‘shit list' is because we were in Barcelona for three nights and had to stay in three different hostels. Not a single one of them had even two consecutive nights available when we reserved them. Unfortunately, we went to this popular Spanish city at the height of the tourist season and we were paying for our lack of preparedness. Granted, there were more expensive options that would have allowed us to stay in one place, but we're too cheap! Waking up each morning and switching hostels put an obvious damper on each day we were in Barcelona. It nearly took up two hours of every morning to pack up our stuff, check out, transfer to the next hostel, and check in. Next time we visit the city, we're booking way in advance.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

3. Hotel Backpackers in Rio Dulce, Guatemala

We stayed at Hotel Backpackers while we were volunteering at a school/orphanage for Casa Guatemala last summer. Again, it's not that this was a bad place to stay. It wasn't. It even had a fantastic restaurant attached to it which we enjoyed every evening. But our terrible experience here was due to… well, the shits. Auston and I developed severe stomach issues right before we arrived in Rio Dulce and we had to ride it out at the hotel. We were both bed ridden for 36 hours in immense pain and exhaustion. The beds we had were terrible because we were sleeping on half-inch foam pads and could feel every square inch of the wooden support underneath. There was also no fan and no air flow. After one night we decided it was worth the extra money to pay for our own private room with a real bed and a fan just to ease our pain a little. We'd never pooed so much in our lives! My count went to 15 in one day and Auston's was at 11. Yes, we counted our poos because we had nothing better to do while we laid in bed in complete agony. We would stay there again, but we would not eat that sandwich from that random rest stop during the bus ride there.

Recovering from near death at Hotel Backpackers in Rio Dulce

Recovering from near death at Hotel Backpackers in Rio Dulce

It's safe to say hostels are a great travel budget option, but they're no luxury vacation. Have you ever had a bad hostel/accommodation experience? Share the laughs with us!

4 Comments on “The 3 Worst Hostel Experiences From Our Round-the-World Trip”

  1. Sofie says:

    I have to say I’m kind of dissappointed here. Although the London hostel seems genuinly sucky, all of these hostels seemt o be on the list because of something you guys did wrong (not plan well, eat something bad…).

    1. That’s true Sofie. Which is why we titled the post as the worst hostel experiences and not just the worst hostels. One of the main reasons the experiences were so crappy is because we were opting to stay at hostels over hotels. It’d be way better to be sick in nice comfy hotel bed rather than a fan-less, airconditioning-less, uncomfortable hostel bed! It’s all part of the joys of budget traveling. :)

  2. Sam says:

    How awful! I’m glad to say I’ve never had the bad fortune of staying in a hostel or hotel in my home city of London, because every time I hear someone complain about crappy accommodation, there’s always a place in London on the list. That place in Camden sounds truly horrible!

    1. Haha. Sorry to continue to put London on that list Sam! But it had to be said. Luckily you don’t have to experience it. That’s what we get for going to London when the Olympics were happening. We were lucky to find an affordable accommodation at all.

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