Now that I’m a good chunk down the coast I feel more qualified to speak to the ‘haves and have nots’ of hostels. I’ve been trying to rate everything online based on what travellers actually look for (kitchen with stoves, free meals) as opposed to what hostels market (atmosphere). So here is my list of amenities every hostel should have.
-I don’t care if there’s an ensuite or not, but without fail, every hostel without ensuites has been WAY cleaner. Even though hand washing in ensuites is typically less awkward.. I feel like the bathrooms actually get cleaned and less weird drunk happenings occur in the shower… Ultimately, I don’t want to have to feel cleaner bathing in the ocean.
-Outlets-at least one per bed. We’re all travellers with adapters, we couldn’t use more than one plug if we tried…(or you can be hcore and bring a power bar…that’s like at least 2 tank tops worth of space though), but seriously…2 outlets for 8 people? The last hostel had outlets in the lockers!! BEST.
-Lockers. I would really rather not use my insurance if I don’t have to. Coolangatta had .75×1.5m lockers with hangers and plugs—amazing!! It’s usually fine not having them…but in a 16 bed dorm who can you trust. And I really would rather not bring my passport, laptop, and camera everywhere.
-Open access to kitchen things. Honestly, the best AND cleanest kitchens have been the ones where its free to use everything because everyone cooks and keeps a nice space. When they make you pay 20 bucks for ‘your tub’ of cutlery/bowl/plate it’s a possessive mess. And NO Traveller is going to steal plates….WHERE would we hide them. On that note, enough fridges that my tomatoes don’t get shoved into the frozen corner and then squished and punctured . Also a kitchen with a stove. Some things just aren’t meant to be cooked in a microwave.
-Free brekky. Usually its dollar loaf white bread and dry cereal…costs the hostel virtually nothing, but is SO much easier to not have to carry the ingredients from place to place as a traveller.
-no Alcohol restrictions. Basically every hostel tries to have a bar in it to make some extra cash. But once there is a bar you can’t have liquor in your room. I know that nobody cares if you drink outside here…but when I’m paying for this to be my temporary home I should be able to have wine on my bed at any hour. Nomads is pretty good at not enforcing the rule…but the place in Surfers came around twice a night and went through bags…NOT cool.
-Good Bunks…or no bunks. The 17 bed dorm in airlie was one of my favourite living spaces because I didn’t have a noisy person on the top bunk, and peoples things were all compartmentalized because everyone had the space under their bed. The bunks in coolie were great though. We legitimately jumped on the top one and couldn’t notice on the bottom. They also had high ceilings so the person on top didn’t almost die sitting up, AND had great mattresses, AND a duvet as well as a top sheet…pure backpacking luxury.
-HAND SOAP. Not the place to skimp on costs friends.
-shuttles to the bus. Everyone is always on the same one anyway. Help a sista out. You know my bag is over 20 kilos. Not only do I not want to get lost…I also don’t want to arrive in a room of new people sweating my ass off from the trek.
-Pool with tanning beds. I am so sick of having sand in everything (body crevasses and clothing), they were 4 for $20 at the reject shop…invest in some.
-Free wifi. Or at least just have the peter pans close by. There are so many bookings that need internet, but regardless…most of your patrons are spending a year + away from home and want to post pics of their travels and talk to friends. Bonus! We will probably post statuses about how great it is that there is free wifi and everyone else will come stay as well.
-A tv room that has movies. I didn’t even know I wanted that until surfers. A) its sweet to meet people, but b)sometimes a good movie is the best night.
-bag storage. I just paid you 20 bucks to share a room with 18 people. Think you could hold my bag in a room free of charge for 4 hours while I wait for my 16 hour crammed bus to the next stingy hostel? K thanks.
-location…or if it’s a bad location make up for it with buses into town like Nomads Cairns. I don’t care if I have to walk a bit…but over a hill for 10 minutes in Noosa was a struggle whilst intoxicated. Instead of saying ‘great location’ specify what you’re close to. Like in Brissie…I was more than happy to be downtown because I wanted to see city…but if I wanted bars I would’ve been an unhappy camper.
-activities!! Nomads Cairns had unreal activities every day which help you meet people and do things. Whether it was soccer or a rainforest walk, it was something to do and get people involved. Bonus, there was usually free food or booze included. Or rainbow beach (dingos) had a sunset walk, magnetic had trivia night…whatever it is, it’s a time killer…you can only beach and goon for so many hours a day.
So far the Sands in Coolangatta had it closest! We’ll see where the rest of my travels take me!