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15 replies
That hostel is a DEATHTRAP !!!
Primal
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Good morning/afternoon to all of you ladies & gentlemen here. After reading quite a few reviews about hostels and peoples experiences in them, I still have one question:
Do you guys have any specific guidelines as to how to determine if I have entered a fine place or a deathtrap?
I mean, since sometimes you may stop without planning for a nights stay out of schedule, some hostel common sense would come in handy when I have to choose one at a glance. All input will be appreciated.

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Dying in hostels is extremely rare. The worst that will happen is you might have one uncomfortable night. If you come across a place crawling with bedbugs, just go sit in the lounge or something, and find something better the next day.

Or you can plan minutely in advance, and carefully scour all online reviews and web sites to determine if a hostel is up to your high standards, which is what I do.

If you are entering a hostel, you should be able to tell right away whether it looks clean, whether the staff is friendly, and maybe what sort of people are staying there.

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I’ve never stayed in a place where I didn’t feel safe. Some places were cleaner than others, but that’s about it.

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I’d only think twice about an unlisted hostel which doesn’t have membership with YHA (is that what it’s called?) or not listed with the city’s tourist office—maybe because they’re dodging fire or other safety regulations(?).

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I agree, I wouldn’t stay in a place I didn’t feel safe in, but actually as yet I haven’t found a hostel I didn’t feel safe in. My hygene expectations drop considerable when I travel so I much more confortable in filth on a trip than at home, its often just the nature of hostels.

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Go with your first impression. Unless it’s late and there are no other options, then just suck it up.

Primal
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Thank you people for the info !!!

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1.
Wether a hostel is YHA-affiliated or independent doesn´t matter at all. In Germany and Austria (don´t know about other countries) the safety regulations are even a lot harsher for independent hostels (YHA hostels get around a lot of rules because they call themselves "non-profit" – as if that would matter in a case of fire…!)

2.
Same with tourist board listings. In Germany and Austria, membership at the local tourist board is mandatory for all businesses. Maybe not in other countries so some hostels might choose not to join just to save money on membership fees.

Our hostel is inspected once a year and they wouldn´t tell WHEN they come. It´s usually quite a delegation with inspectors from the fire department, health department, construction department and so on. They can issue huge fines even for minor things. I know of a hostel in Budapest which was even shut down by the health department for a couple of months until they fulfilled their requirements.

So – don´t worry. This is Europe, not central Africa.

Primal
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Im going to check the YHA for more info !!!

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Also just check out other people reviews, also I don’t think I have ever encountered any dodgy places, the worst one I think I ever stayed at, was in Amsterdam and the window kept falling down each time we put it up (and it was winter), had I stayed another nite, I then would have moved on

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I remember something, maybe 4 years ago, about either Australians, or a hostel in Australia, that had a fire and people were killed. We posted about it here on Eurotrip with links to the articles and whatnot, I just don’t remember all the details. Anyone else remember that? Or recall the cause of fire?

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Yes, it was an arsonist in Australia.
http://www.rte.ie/ne…
http://www.findartic…

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As I read this thread, I also remembered that fire, and stories about terrible fires in cheap apartment buildings in Paris.
I think that cleanliness and safety are different issues. I stay in hotels rather than hostels, and I can remember a few budget hotels that I’ve stayed in where the hallways to my room were like a labyrinth—- and I didn’t care, because I was too tired when I arrived, and just grateful for a bed. Had there been an emergency, though, I don’t think I could have found my way out at 03:00 through smoke-filled halls (or, for that matter, even without smoke in the hallways).
So, I think that you’ve raised a very important question. Looking back on my own misadventures, I think that I can only say that you should try to anticipate how you’d escape should there be an emergency—- and if you have doubts, consider spending a bit more money for a safer place!

Primal
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Thanks for your helpful replies. I was thinking about the hostel association memberships and saw that there are possible discounts for using these cards. Can you fellows provide me with a recommended list of the best hostel & traveling discount cards that can serve the purpose of saving money during my travel? Those savings may allow me to extend my trip a little further, which would be great !!!

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Only YHA has a membership card – without it, you´ll pay about € 3 more to stay in their hostels. It´s totally NOT worth it.

Independent hostels don´t have a common thing (as the term "independent" suggests…!). You can use hostelworld.com to compare prices. Thery´re all there.

Primal
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I am currently checking any other discount card to save along the trip. Less money on ther stuff, more money on hostels equals longer trip !!!