Today’s topic is definitely more of a question than an answer… unless I figure out the answer once I get to evaluating the pros and cons of this very intriguing dilemma!
One thing I see a lot when checking out reviews for hostels to stay in has to do with staff attitude and helpfulness. This obviously is hugely important, as so much of travelling has to do with the community and being able to stay in social environments. The big question that these reviews bring up though is…
Should hostels be laid back or professional?
I think one of the biggest issues is that the answer to this completely depends on what you want from your hostel.
Those travellers who use hostels as nothing more than cheap accommodation can find it difficult to accept that certain facilities or amenities might be less than what they see as professional for tourist accommodation. Lack of a free breakfast, and laid back staff who can be difficult to find at times won’t be accepted if you’re looking for budget accommodation with five-star management.
But if you’re a traveller who chooses to stay at hostels for their friendly vibe and family atmosphere, then it can be easier to overlook things such as staff drinking or a lack of a lift to get to the hostel that is on the top floor or a five-story building.
Is it possible to find budget accommodation with a professional staff?
Yes! Absolutely yes! But your perception of professional needs to be flexible. In one of my all time favourite hostels, the staff would nearly always be in the courtyard chilling with guests instead of at the reception desk, and being greeted with a massive bear hug rather than a polite but restrained ‘hello’ was the norm. But a full breakfast spread was laid out every morning, a massive smile was always on everyone’s face, and they would drop you to and from the beach every day of the week in their awesome rusty van. Which sometimes broke down. I never heard a bad word said about the staff, who after a few days are like old friends and despite cracking rude jokes left, right, and center, wouldn’t think twice about going out of theirway to help out one of their guests.
Why am I discussing this?
So I know, this is a slightly random and more serious topic than I usually write about, but it worries me that so many would-be travellers I meet are nervous to stay in hostels because they think bunk beds and shared showers couldn’t possibly compare to a Holiday Inn. Firstly, you need to watch my experience of staying in a hotel, and secondly by worrying about not getting a mint on your pillow and the lack of a lift, you’re probably missing out on a whole load of new besties and potential travel buddies!