Wanted: YOUR Hilarious Hostel Horror Story

We all know hostels aren’t the scary boogyman movies make them out to be. They are safe, budget accommodations for backpackers and I’ve stayed in some marvelous ones during my travels. So no, they aren’t inherently scary, but they ARE sometimes the settings for some crazy and sometimes terrible stories.

photo credit: xmacex

I was out to dinner with some backpacker friends last week when the subject of horrifying hostel stories came up.Over some cheap Argentinean wine I shared a couple of my weirdest experiences. For example:

Our first night in Buenos Aires we stayed in a hostel in Palermo. This was not one of the higher rated places but we wanted to save some money in an expensive city. As soon as we arrived I realized this may have been a crucial error: our hostel room was the size of a large broom closet and contained 9 beds- three three-story bunk beds. It was hot and poorly ventilated- kind of like being in the cramped hold of a ship.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a three story bunk bed but they are not the most stable things. My perch on the top bunk swayed nauseatingly back and forth anytime anyone on the bunks below rolled over. I’d never felt seasick from a bunk bed before!

It might not have been terrible except that the bottom bunk below Mike and I houses a large middle aged European man with a serious snoring problem. In between fits of deafening snoring he would mutter to himself in some unidentified language- possibly german?

Needless to say I didn’t sleep much, so I was wide awake when this unfortunate man’s sleep talking turned into sleep walking. He stumbled around the dark room knocking into walls and beds. Finally he settled back into bed- only it wasn’t his bed! Some poor guy, still out clubbing, got quite a surprise when he returned home at 5AM to find a strange overweight German man curled up with his pillow.


My pal Tony, from Landing Standing chimed in with his own.

We had arrived two days prior in Interlocken and had just finished what we came to do… skydiving in the Alps. The 4 girls I was traveling with were feeling great and ready to catch the early train back to Florence the next day when we went to bed early. There being 5 of us, only one bed of the 6 bed dorm was free… but not for long.

I woke up at 2am to a man in only a leopard print thong trying to climb into the bunk bed above me. This is difficult enough to do at night, but doubly hard when drunk and apparently requiring multiple thrusts of his leopard-thonged crotch to achieve. Hoping to forget what my eyes were witnessing, I closed my eyes and rolled over.

Miraculously, I was able to fall asleep only to wake up again at 3am to pee.

As I left the bathroom and turned off the lights, I heard a THUD. Immediately I knew that my drunken bunk mate must have fallen off his bed and broke something.

But then I heard shuffling and could see a silhouette as it crossed the window and realized my new friend was mobile. I quickly dashed to a corner of the room so as not to have an accidental boxer to leopard thong confrontation.

But instead of turning my way, he just began to pour a bottle of water on the carpet… weird.

And then…

No!!!” I screamed as I turned on the lights.

But it was too late. My screams had woken up the girls I was traveling with only for us all to witness my bunk mate, with his leopard-print thong around his ankles, peeing into one of the girls’ newly purchased (direct from Rome no less) $700 Gucci suitcases.

As the girls all cried and screamed, I laughed and laughed.

The most unfortunate stories usually make the best anecdotes a few years down the road. So, I want to hear your tail of hostel crazyness. It doesn’t have to include sleepwalkers (or pee-ers), it can be any sort of embarrassing, ridiculous or hilarious thing that happened to you in a hostel.

Leave your most hilarious and horrific story of hostel cohabitation in the comments. Next week I will post the best ones.

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31 thoughts on “Wanted: YOUR Hilarious Hostel Horror Story”

  1. We were in a hostel in Croatia and I was on the top bunk. My friend and I were arguing over who would win in a fight and she started kicking the bottom of my bunk to demonstrate her scrappy ability to “destroy you with my legs.”

    What we didn’t know was the bunk beds were incredibly cheap and had nothing except gravity keeping the bars supporting the top bunk mattress in place which unknowingly became dislodged from her kicks

    A few hours later I climbed up into my bunk where my bag was to change and got my shirt half way over my head when I heard a crack as the top bunk gave way and I went crashing down onto the bottom bunk in a blind tangle of sheets and all the shit from my open bag.

    Stunned and shirtless, I was able to climb out of the mess while my friends laughed and took pictures. On the bright side, the staff gave us free shots of grappa as an apology for the incident!

  2. Last October, I traveled solo to Ireland for a couple of weeks and decided to spend a few days in London to top off my trip.

    My second night in London, I stayed in a hostel that had 10 beds. When I arrived there were 8 brazilians staying there, so I thought I had my bunk to myself…until I went to bed that night around midnight and a creepy man was alone in the room. He appeared to be homeless as he only had one tiny bag with him and it appeared he had not showered in a while. I didn’t feel comfortable falling asleep in there alone with him, so I went downstairs to the rec room to hang out until the Brazilians got back. (May I remind you I was a single 22 year-old girl traveling solo).

    Fast forward to 1 a.m. and no one had gotten back yet. Finally at 2 a.m. I noticed that two of the Brazilians had gotten back to the hostel. I was so excited to finally get some shut eye! I tucked myself in and fell asleep almost immediately knowing there were two others in the room.

    Around 3 a.m., I noticed my bunk was shaking. At first, I was tired and confused, but then quickly realized that this man was jacking-off in his bed below me. I was completely mortified and didn’t know what to do. I began to think of all the possible situations to let this man know that I was, in fact, awake…’I can jump out of bed! and run out of the room!’ or ‘politely tell him to stop.’ Then I realized that I had no choice, but to find humor in the situation and let the man finish.

    A few minutes later he finished and I was able to fall asleep again. Slightly mortified, I woke up an hour later from a nightmare of this man grabbing me in my sleep. I actually woke up whaling aloud in fear from this nightmare. No one appeared to have woken up, so I didn’t feel bad for disturbing anyone’s sleep. Not even the creepy man’s, who decided to start round 2 and made the bed shake knowing I was awake!

    It was awful! Despite that, I was able to get a few hours of sleep afterwards which was enough to sight-see London the next day.

  3. I also have hostel horror story number 3 (I haven’t been having much luck with hostels lately):
    I booked what looked like iwould be a nice hostel in Willesden Green, London. Then when the booking confirmation came through, I was not given the actual address of the accommodation, but was told to go to Willesden Green tube station and call their number. I did this, and some time later someone from the hostel picked me up in their car and drove me to the location. It turned out to be a terrace flat in Willesden Green they had converted into a hostel of sorts – except there were no staff located on the premises. Guests were just left there with a set of keys and that was it. Well, it turned out that every local bum, beggar and petty crim also knew about this place and they had managed to get their own keys to the place and the rooms inside. One night at about 2am I was woken up in my room by about three of these people who had got into the place. They left when I saw them, but I had no idea what they had intended to do. I complained to the hostel and left, but they refused even to give a refund, even though their so-called ‘hostel’ was nothing less than a disaster waiting to happen.

  4. I have a couple of hostel horror stories for you.
    Horror story 1:
    I was staying in an HI Hostel in London. They seemed to have a policy of allowing homeless men from around London to sleep in the hostels (perhaps in an arrangement with city authorities, I’m not sure). One of these homeless men was in the room I was staying in. He had a cheap bottle of wine which in indulged in and generously offered everyone else a swig as well – I declined. Anyway, one night at about 2am in the morning I heard a scream from one of the other bunks. The homeless man was standing completely naked over this other guy’s bed. I’m just glad it wasn’t me
    Horror story 2:
    I was staying in an otherwise nice hostel in Marseille, France and I was in a room with three other guys. I went to sleep, but was woken up at about 3am by a thudding noise of footsteps that was so loud I thought to myself ‘this guy is making as much noise as an elephant’. But it got worse. This filthy lowlife was blind drunk and the reason he was stumbling around noisily was he was looking for the toilet, but he couldn’t find it. His solution was to piss all over the floor in the room, then drunkenly sit back on the end of my bed. Next day, the hostel ejected him and I decided to leave and stay in a hotel instead.

  5. Dublin, Ireland. Eight bedroom dorm. My friend and I had a 5am flight so we were in bed at 11pm. At 12pm the lights come on and four Brazilian girls proceed to giggle, eat, apply make-up, chat. Eventually I ask them to switch the lights off (as I was on top bunk the bulb was mere centremetres from my head. At 3am two more girls come in, one of them clearly on drugs. No sooner had she got into her top bed she started wailing and trashing, and then she threw herself off the top bunk onto the floor with a giant thud. Everybody in the room screamed, the lights come back on. The next few hours the poor girl was being consoled by her friend and the Brazilians started eating again. I don´t think we slept a wink.

  6. I would call this “horrorlarious,” because it’s a combination of both. Back in 2000 when I hitchiked around Ireland by myself for 2 1/2 weeks (I was a single woman at that time) I stayed at one of the most gorgeous hostels I’d ever seen – this was in Wexford. The house was about 800 years old with old, winding stone staircases, stunning private rooms with authentic furnishings, spotless bathrooms down the hall, etc., all for $20 a night. Quite a deal! Except that the proprietress didn’t seen to understand English – in fact, I don’t think she understood anything at all. I unloaded all my stuff and took off to explore the town. When I got back before dark (after having hooked myself up with a couple of Aussies – you other travelers know what that means – a craik of a fun time! 🙂 I found 3 American guys trying to get into the house, but it was locked. It didn’t occur to me until then that we were never given any keys! The 4 of us banged and shouted at the door to get in, but to no avail. One of the guys decided to scale the 12′ stone walls that surrounded the place, and we each helped the other over the wall to get inside the grounds. But once we got inside the walls we couldn’t see where we were going it was so dark by that time. After several hours of banging, climbing, searching and swearing, we each found our own rooms, which amazingly were unlocked and perfectly safe. The next morning we tried to find the proprietoress but she was nowhere to be found. Yet, we got a very nice breakfast of scones, coffee, juice and butter, all served at these very long wooden benches that were probably built around 800 years ago. It was very special, but also the most frightening experience I’ve ever had in my travels to 28 different countries. I left that place right after breakfast, and was very happy and sad at the same time. It was a special place, but way, way to weird for my taste.

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