Backpackers Share Their Horrifying Hostel Experiences

Backpackers Share Their Horrifying Hostel Experiences

When trying to be financially responsible as a traveler, tourist, or overseas student, many opt for a cheap, affordable place to stay: a hostel. These establishments help provide food and shelter for a reasonable price during your adventures. However, you’ll be sharing facilities (even sleeping areas) with an entire group of people who are complete strangers – and this can lead to some pretty insane interactions!

If you believe that the worst person you could ever meet is someone who is just a jerk, think again. There are all sorts of horrid possibilities in hostels when it comes to fellow lodgers! Anything goes, from drunken brawls to petty theft, to bed bugs. This is only scraping the surface of everything that could go wrong – and some hostel tales are nearly too wild to be believed!

These are 25 stories from Reddit users who have learned firsthand how crazy hostels can be!

33. A Brawl Between 10 Drunk Australian Girls

Stayed four nights in a hostel in Paris. First three nights were GREAT, because my friends and I managed to snag a private room that was just us. The last night, they’d accidentally double-booked and the second party had paid more, so they spread us out over several rooms. I wound up in a 12-person room with a bunch of Australians, and apparently one of the girls had slept with the other girls boyfriend and everyone started to take sides. I was in bed with the curtains drawn by the time the fight started, and huddled in a corner in terror while 10 drunk Australian girls beat the crap out of each other. They were all friends again by morning.


32. A Talkative Vietnamese Chicken

It’s a toss up between the night of the chicken that wouldn’t shut up in Vietnam and the bed bugs in Lombok. The bed bugs were probably far worse, but I kept walking over to that caged chicken whispering: “You shut up. Shut. The. Heck. Up.”


31. Extremely Inconsiderate Angry Phone Calls

American here. I was staying in a hostel in London near the British Museum, about an 8-person room, and apparently this New Zealander girl was having a fight with her significant other back home, because the two nights she was there she would answer phone calls around 2 or 3 a.m. FROM HER BED and loudly start arguing without leaving the room, while everyone else was trying to sleep. Incredibly inconsiderate. Had a somewhat similar experience in another London hostel with men who sounded Eastern European. I know cultural norms vary, but answering a phone and holding a conversation in a room where others are sleeping when one can easily step outside seems to me more or less objectively rude.


30. Ruckus From Drunk Canadians

Drunk Canadian girls barging in the room late at night, waking everyone else up, and then proceeding to pass out and snore like a beast for the rest of the night. When sleep apnea hit and it sounded like one of them stopped breathing, I was almost hoping she wouldn’t start again just so I wouldn’t have to put up with that crap anymore.


29. Intense Insults Against The U.S.

Shared a hostel with two British dudes that incessantly and aggressively spouted off every stereotype regarding how messed up the U.S. is and how fat and dumb everyone in it is. I’m a skinny American of average intelligence who also doesn’t have much faith in the U.S., but by the second day, it was hard not to deck these guys.


28. Locked Out By Obnoxious Roommate

I was with my two friends and we got a 4-person room, so essentially had a stranger in with us. All cool, no problem. We get back to the hostel after a long day of jibbing around and have some supper and a few drinks in the bar. I felt tired, so said I would head to bed and meet my friends back in the room. The hostel had a thing where the first person to be back for the room would get the key, the only key, open it and hang out/sleep while leaving it open for everyone else to access. I check at reception and there is no key so head back to the room. It is locked. I knock. There is no response. I knock louder. Still no response. I go back to reception and check and they definitely don’t have the key. To cut a long story short, after half an hour of me, my two friends, and the receptionist banging, shouting, and screaming, a girl with noise canceling headphones opened the door with a face like thunder and goes “what?” Never has the phrase blind rage been more apt.


27. Disgusting Spread Of The Flu


The first night of my 3-week vacation in the U.K., I stayed at a hostel right by St. Paul’s Cathedral in London – one of those bunk-bed style rooms. I woke up to the sound of nasty, wet, continuous coughing coming from one of the other people in the room. Sure enough, I caught terrible flu from that room which really put a downer on nearly half of my vacation. I still enjoyed exploring the U.K., but I had to drive around with a giant box of tissues the entire time and was hopped up on flu medication.

I had planned on staying at more hostels on the trip, but decided to sleep in my rented car (a wagon, so plenty of room) rather than risk spreading/receiving more illness.


26. Horrible View On The Bottom Bunk

Naked, fat, drunk Russian guy trying to jump into the upper bunk for what seemed like an eternity while I cowered in the lower bunk and got flapped at mercilessly.


25. Creepy Exchange With Fortune Teller

I stayed at this hostel in Rome that was super sketch. It was dirty and I left with pinkeye AND bedbug bites. But that wasn’t even the worst part. There was this strange woman there that insisted on reading my fortune. She apparently used to be a heart surgeon but had to quit because she had a near death experience, which also apparently gave her a sixth sense. She told me I had a great aura about me and also warned me about the Mexicans staying at the hostel. I really couldn’t understand everything she said, because she spoke Italian and I was only just learning the language.

Well, that night, as I was trying to go to sleep I woke up with a start and saw her standing over me.

“I just wanted to give you a kiss goodnight,” she said.


24. Accidentally Goldilocks-ing Angry French Drunks

Turns out the hostel had put me in a room that was already booked out.

This led to me being shaken awake at about 4 a.m. by a young French guy with about a dozen facial piercings and his group of drunk mates. He was pretty heated speaking French and very broken English (being an Aussie I only speak English, and barely even that), so we couldn’t really communicate, but going off his very emphatic hand gestures I think they were accusing me of breaking into their room and sleeping in their beds. Like Goldilocks, with less porridge.

I was still half-asleep and had no idea what was going on. After 5 minutes of trying to convince them I had a key and that I hadn’t broken into their room (they didn’t believe me/understand and kept getting angrier), they collected all my bags and marched downstairs to the front desk.


23. A Horrifying Bedbug Infestation

American arriving in India for the first time. Landed in Calcutta, easily the dirtiest place I have ever encountered. My traveling companion and I settled on a room in a hostel with a cement courtyard that was cheap and seemed fine, if not a bit run down. Fast forward to the next day being covered in HUNDREDS OF BITES FROM BEDBUGS. It took a full day to determine they were bedbugs and not just mosquito bites.

We went back to the room, it was about 9 p.m. at this point. Lifted up the mattresses to see what seemed like thousands of bedbugs scatter. At the time there was a city-wide curfew, so we slept on the concrete with nothing underneath us, as now everything in our packs including clothes was filled with the bugs.

It took 3 weeks of soaking our belongings in buckets of water to be free of the nasty little things. Worst part was waking up every night because you can feel them crawling on your body.


22. Oven-Like Interior

Awesome hostel in Budapest, but I don’t think they know what air conditioning is. Was about 30 degrees Celsius all through the night. Had to keep the windows open but they opened up onto a main road that had trams going 24 hours. Didn’t get a wink of sleep. It was so hot and loud.


21. Scene From A Zombie Movie

British female here. I was traveling in Australia and ended up spending a few nights in a “party” hostel; room of 4 bunk beds, so 8 people. The majority of the other people seemed to know each other already (not sure if traveling together or just from being in this room) but I came back one night and passed out.

Woke up to one of the guys SCREAMING, and I mean screaming. He pushes this poor, naked girl off his bed, someone puts on the light and she is stood there covered in blood, all dripping from her mouth, looking like an extra in a bad zombie movie. At this point, not sure she knows its blood, she seems very dazed and confused. He is still in obvious anguish, flailing around on his bed. She looks down, realizes she’s naked, covered in blood and runs away never to be seen again. Poor dude had to go to the hospital with a severed banjo string. Rest of us went back to sleep.

I left the next day, but before I checked out they had put a sign on the door “Welcome to Banjos” ready for his return!


20. An Unfortunate, Unresolved Plumbing Incident

Barcelona. Two toilets near our 8-bed room. One kid vomited into one of the toilets and clogged it. We told the staff and they said they would fix it. They ended up putting an “out of order” sign on the working toilet so everyone kept using the broken toilet (except those with common sense). The smell in that place was absolutely repulsive.


19. A Horrid Christmas Awakening

I was in a great little hostel in Bangkok this past Christmas, full of wonderful people who I’d become good friends with over the last few days. Our room had six bunks, five of them filled with me and my new friends, and the sixth filled by some random dude. This random guy ended up waking us all up at 7 a.m. on Christmas morning by peeing off of his top bunk onto all of us below and all of our luggage. At first I thought it was raining in the room until I realized it was much, much worse.

The hostel owners ended up kicking the guy out and we all recovered after the initial shock, but I certainly would not want to relive that day.


18. A Frightening Allergic Reaction (That Paid For College)

I got eaten alive (200 bites) by bed bugs in a hostel in Hawaii. I was allergic to the bites and had to go to the hospital and get put on steroids. I itched so bad for weeks. Had to buy a new wardrobe of long dresses to cover the bites because I looked like a drug addict!

When I told them about the problem, they went outside and got an old bed and sprayed it with mineral oil, wrapped in plastic wrap, and said, “Here, you go! A new bed! You should be fine now!”

I lawyered up and sued them for $10,000. Helped pay for a college education, so it turned out to be worth it!


17. Waking Up To A Flood

Staying in a hostel in Amsterdam and had the drains clog up late at night so the shower, toilet, and sink were slowly filling and unable to drain out.

Woke up at 6 a.m. with the entire floor covered in water and my roommate getting extremely mad and cursing at the hostel in both English and Portuguese.

The funny part was the hostel was extremely nice and well kept, just bad luck that the room I got had plumbing issues overnight.


16. A Spelling-Casting Witch

I was on my 3rd day of being super ill while traveling and there was a literal witch casting a spell on a drunk girl in my room. When I told her to shut up, she hissed at me and yelled something I didn’t understand.


15. Extracting A Blinding Eye Infection

I was staying at a dirty hostel in Puerto Iguazu in Argentina in order to see Iguazu Falls. Got some kind of rampant mutant Argentine eye infection in both eyes that morphed from a minor irritation to full-blown both eyes swollen shut oozing pus everywhere in a lot of pain in about 4 hours, and it proceeded to spread to both ears as well as my throat. Luckily the front desk was nice about it (probably because I looked horrifying) and had a doctor come on a house call. The doctors came to my room which I was sharing with 6 others of which I knew 2, though not super well. Docs told me I had to drop my pants (mind you, I’m blind and all of this is in Spanish) and I’m like, no way Jose! But the doc was like “yes way, you need antibiotics ASAP,” and they pulled down my pants and gave me a shot in the butt right there. I think it was laced with a sedative because I passed out for like 12 hours, but in the morning I could see again, so I saw the falls after all.


14. An Obnoxious Fan-Hog

Twelve bedroom hostel in Barcelona in the height of summer. Bunk beds were three high and we were in a tiny space. There was one Spanish guy on a bottom bunk with us who hogged the only fan and would threaten us if we tried to take it. We ended up spending most of the nights out of the room anyway, but the day before we left, instead of just complaining/getting another fan, we decided to really pettily drop one of our bags from the top of the bunk as we were leaving, breaking it pretty comfortably. He was there for another 2 weeks with no fan.


13. Horrid Humiliation Turned Utter Disgust

Woke up to the unmistakable stench of vomit one morning after a night on the town. There were pools of red wine vomit all over my pillow and sheets. I was hugely embarrassed and apologetic, but also pretty surprised given how I had only been slightly tipsy the night before, and wouldn’t normally be one to throw up in my sleep. My suspicion was further aroused by the presence of partially digested spaghetti in said vomit, despite having had pizza the night before.

Turns out the girl in the bunk above had rolled over and puked over the side of the bed and onto my sheets during the night. I immediately asked to move to a top bunk, and spent a good long time in the shower.


12. The Meal That Got Away

I can get comfortable in the worst conditions, so I’m going to post a funny instead.

I once ordered chicken at a small hotel I was staying at in Cambodia. After waiting for ages, I asked what the deal was. Apparently the chicken escaped when the chef tried to butcher it and she’d spent the last hour trying to catch it.


11. Competition Between Snores And Tears

My friend and I were staying in an 8-bunk hostel room just off of Wittenbergplatz in Berlin. About an hour or two after the lights went out, there arose a propulsive and rhythmic hoooooo-pluggugguguggaguggugg … blug, blug, blug … hoooooo-pluggugguguggaguggugg … blug, blug …, like a pig being punched in the face. I lay there staring at the ceiling, unwilling to accept that this was a human being: that this was a human being snoring. After about a half hour of this, the Turkish woman in the bunk across from me actually started crying. Imagine the symphony: hoooooo-pluggugguguggaguggugg … aieee, hoo hoo hoo … hoooooo pluggugguguggaguggugg … waaa, hoo hoo hoo … hoooooo-pluggugguguggaguggugg. My friend and I did not sleep that night. We checked out the following morning and checked into a hostel across the street.


10. A Haunting By Phantom Mice

There was this one hostel in Amsterdam that probably had mice living in/around the bunk beds. As I was falling asleep, I could hear strange rummaging sounds in the mattress above me (it was unoccupied). Later, I woke up randomly in the middle of the night and felt something breathing by my ear. I jumped up and turned on the light and there was nothing there. I searched all over the room and couldn’t find a trace of any mice lurking about.

I willed up the courage to go back in bed and fell asleep and in the morning, I “noped” right out of there.


9. Estonian Hostels Are Not For The Faint Of Heart

Was in Estonia a couple years ago and stayed in a mixed 10 person room. At about five in the morning some random guy slammed open the door and then proceeded to go to the bathroom in the middle of room. I would have yelled at him but I really didn’t want to gain his attention at that moment… He then fell in his own urine and started to yell. Finally he got up mumbling and stumbling and left the room. Turned out he wasn’t even staying in our room he was just too wasted to find the bathroom. We ended up getting the night for free. Hostels can be quite the adventure at times..


8. Bed Bugs Galore

I was staying in a hostel in Rome. I had just gotten there and was exhausted from a long travel day. I fall asleep a little early and wake up eventually when my friends came back to the room. As I sit up, I notice that there are bugs on the bed in the outline of where my body was. I noped out of that bed. I’m ready to bail but my friends decided there weren’t many and they could be killed. They kill a couple–they’re exploding my red blood when they get smashed. The more they kill, the more show up.

We left. I’m forever scarred.


7. Not The Bathroom

While staying at a hostel in La Paz, Bolivia, I woke up one night at about 3-4 AM to a blackout Australian taking going to the bathroom against the wall at the foot of my bed right next my backpack. I got suitably angry, went to management and made sure my things were cleaned and the laundry bill was charged to him.

THE VERY NEXT NIGHT I wake up at almost the same exact time to a DIFFERENT blackout Australian going to the bathroom out the door of the room 3 feet from my head (the other end of my bed was right by the door). This one I just kinda grumbled at and went back to sleep as I just couldn’t be bothered.


The cleaning lady who came in the first night to mop up the urine in the room looked at the reasonably sized puddle and straight-up said “Oh, that’s not that bad”. Apparently this was a common occurrence.


6. Wild Times, Wild Fires.

Our hostel caught on fire in Morocco.

So, we were staying in Marrakech earlier this year…arrived at about midnight and got to our hostel. We planned an excursion a few hours away for the next day through our hostel, and managed to get to bed by about 1:30 am. We are all exhausted and fall asleep pretty quickly. So an hour or two goes by then we wake up to people yelling “fire, fire, fire, FIRE” then we hear glass shatter. So we are all terrified at this point and jump out of bed and grab as much of our stuff as we can and run down the tiny staircase, hitting our heads on the ceiling, and finally make it out into the alleyway. Out there, all of the locals who live around there are poking their heads out of their doors and laughing at us while we stand out there in our underwear. We can see the flames from the roof where all of the furniture caught on fire, and the hostel manager comes out to ask if we all want to come sit inside and have some tea (while the building was still on fire). We decline. They finally get the fire out and we go back in. The rest of the building is totally fine and, as it turns out, half of the hostel didn’t even wake up and were still asleep til the next morning. Wild times. Got all kinds of stories abroad.


5. Jumping Jacks Alarm Clock

My buddy and I (Americans) stayed in a hotel in Genoa for a few nights, this was back around 2001. The hostel itself was a pain because they had a 12am curfew or something, which is difficult for two young guys. We would inevitably come home just after curfew and plastered. We were staying in a 16 person room. When we got back the 2nd night the room was packed. In the morning, like 5am, so like 4 hours after going to bed, the room was filled with dudes doing jumping jacks and warming up. This lasted for like 30 min. Turned out there was a Tae Kwon do tourney in town and we were rooming with a bunch of Italians. When we returned that evening, there was dirty sweaty stank underwear hanging around clotheslines put up all around the room like some web of whitey tighties dripping with sweat. It smelled terrible in there. The next morning they left and stole my hat.


4. Daintree Rainforest, Australia

I was living in Cairns at the time and just started seeing a hot nurse from the local hospital that I met in a bar, It was valentines day so I suggested that we go up to Far North Queensland into the rain forest for the weekend. There was only one hostel/ campsite up there so I called the place and booked us a dorm as all the cabins were booked and we set off. It was an awesome day stopping at all the beaches and rainforest walks and we finally got there just after dark. The place was a terrible which I kinda expected for the price but we made the most of it and got wasted in the outside kitchen.

I was feeling a bit amorous so suggested a walk down to the beach, we started drunkenly walking through the rainforest in the dark, making out and laughing and I picked up a stick and started to hit the ground in front of us to disturb any creatures. It was then that I felt something move over my foot and felt a sharp scratch on the top of my foot.

Now the Daintree is full of venomous spiders, snakes, toads etc so I quickly sobered up and we ran back to the outdoor kitchen and there were two puncture marks in the top of my foot.

The alcohol drained from my system pretty fast and my nurse friend went off to alert someone and found all the staff had gone home but managed to get one of the local drunks from the bar who came over and said:

” Well mate, you’ve got two choices, see there are loads of green snakes which bite but are not poisonous or brown snakes in which case you’ll be dead in a few hours and we’ll have to radio for a chopper to come pick you up”

Needless to say It wasn’t the best of choices, I risked it and decided to see if anything happened before calling for the chopper and instead of getting laid I spent the night on the floor of a dorm room nervously sweating trying to decide if the shots of vodka I had before my walk or the potential deadly snake bite were the reasons my leg felt funny.

Next day went back to Cairns to get the bite looked at and it was from a rat..


3. When In Rome

Overall, my hostel experiences have been pretty solid. I guess my best story would be from a few weeks ago in Rome. Hadn’t slept in close to 2 days, and had went out drinking all day upon arriving in Rome. So by the end of the night I was completely out cold. The next day, the Aussie in the bunk above me is super apologetic, “man, I’m really sorry about last night, I was hammered, not acceptable, not how I usually am.”

I’m like…what the hell are you talking about. Apparently he brought some Hungarian girl back and intended to play it out relatively quietly, but the girl was just a complete freak. Woke up everyone else in the room, but he felt the worst about me since I was right below him the whole time…and I was so drunk and exhausted I didn’t even wake up for a second. Good times.


Photo by Willian West on Unsplash

2. The Man In Silk Pajamas

I actually have a story for this one…

A couple months ago 2 friends and I were travelling Europe. We stay in a 4 bed shared room in a hostel in Prague, and on the 2nd night, we return at 3am to find our spare bed occupied by an elderly man in silk pyjamas.

Fast forward to next morning, and we all awake and said guest is hastily packing his stuff away (although he had now changed into a rather dapper tweed suit). We get chatting, and it turns out this gentleman is “doing all the travelling he never did in his youth”, now that he retired from Psychiatry. He tells us of his adventures around Europe, bids us farewell and we all agree that he seems like a flipping terrific, admirable dude.

3 weeks later I’m back in the UK, on a train to London, and find myself once again thinking of this mysterious old man who, by this point, had somewhat reached cult status among our social group. I remember that he gave us his full name, and the town he lived in, and I decide to jump on the ‘ole Google to see if I can find out any more about him.

What I found completely shocked me, and left both my friends sat either side of me, the same 2 who I’d travelled with, utterly speechless.

So it turns out this guy, now an absolute pantheon of lore, was wanted in court for numerous historic charges in May 2015, and guess what?… He didn’t turn up.

Turns out I spent 2 nights sleeping underneath a wanted criminal, on-the-run from the law on the opposite side of the world.


1. Impossibly Loud Icelandic Concert

Iceland this summer. I came to a nice hostel in central Reykjavik after 24 hours of traveling and I had a tour booked the following night thinking that the 10 hours in the hostel would be enough to keep me going. That night the bar next door had a concert so the windows of the dorm were vibrating. It was deafening loud until 4 a.m. That ruined my Iceland trip.