Before traveling across the world to stay in London for three weeks, I have never experienced staying in hostel before. I assumed I did not have to believe it would be like the 2005 horror film Hostel, but besides that I just figured it would be like a dorm. As it was very similar to my freshmen year dorm life, there was a lot to get used to with long-term hostel living.
We stayed in Clink78, a hostel made from a 200 year old courthouse and jail. It really did feel like a jail. Not in the terms where I was locked up and treated like a prisoner, but there were lack of windows and air circulation. It was quite the experience.
The hostel we stayed in was meant more for short-term backpackers, so we had to learn quickly how to manage the long term staying.
Important things to know when staying in a hostel:
- Personal space no longer exists.
Imagine smashing 10, twenty something, females in room that could be considered smaller than some basic bathrooms. I am not going to lie to you; it was pretty hard at first. We did not know where to put our things or how to effectively get ready in the mornings. But after some positive group communication and understanding, we really made it work. Us girls became great friends and really got to know one another (like we had a choice). I do not know if anyone got used to the snoring at night, though….
- Being bored in NOT an option.
Relaxing in bed or being bored was out of the question while staying in the hostel. Clink78 was truly a great place to meet people from all over the world. I personally met people from Australia, France, Germany, and so many other places. The hostel had media rooms where you could relax on Wi-Fi with other people or you could hang out in the basement that includes the bar. There was always something to do!
- DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT FORGET YOUR SHOWER SHOES!
Obviously, if you think that a hostel is like a dorm you would bring shower shoes without thinking. Let me tell you, I am so thankful that I did. Most of the bathrooms were co-ed and filled with people from all over the world. Be prepared to have people look at you like you’re strange for doing your hair weird, and no not be startled if walking out of the shower and a member of the opposite sex is waiting to use the shower after you. Just say hi and be on your way. Also, there were not any electricity outlets in the bathroom, plan accordingly (it rains a lot in London, you do not need to straighten your hair).
- You will have a fantastic time! This one goes without saying. After learning to manage the weird little quirks the hostel has, you will have a great time. I had the time of my life and it will be something I will remember forever!