You may think that I am being harsh but something has changed in backpackers. Sure, we can call them different names, flashpackers or techpackers but the simple fact is that expectations seem to have risen beyond what is both reasonable and necessary. Every day I spot a backpacker behaving like a spoilt brat. I know ‘Millenials’ are given a really hard time, and please be clear that this isn’t necessarily just about them… This trend of unjustifiable complaints has been going on for some time now. Complaints fly left, right and centre and nothing is ever good enough. It has become apparent that expectations are so high, the actual backpacking trip is set for disappointment and failure before they even set off.
I am not suggesting that if you receive poor service or if something is wrong that is unacceptable that you cannot and should not complain, but there are certain things that backpackers seriously need to get over and move on. Remember why you came away, to escape the petty troubles of home and explore the world. It is the world you are missing out on whilst you sweat the small stuff.
Here are the most common backpacker complaints that I, personally, don’t think are justified:
1. My bed wasn’t made and I had to make it myself
Who makes your bed at home? 90% of the time your bed will be made at the hostel you stay at but occasionally it will not be and the clean linen will be on the bed ready for you. In these circumstances remember how much you paid for your bed and really think about how much of an arse you will look if you walk downstairs to complain about your bed not being made. I remember a time whilst backpacking when most hostels I went to just gave me linen on my arrival to the hostel. Some didn’t provide any linen at all and I travelled with a sleeping sheet! Is the mere fact that you are getting clean linen not enough any more?
2. There were not enough utensils in the kitchen for me to cook with
This is frustrating but most hostels will provide as much as they possibly can. What we all must remember is that it is not uncommon for backpackers to take fancy to certain utensils and accidentally on purpose fail to give them back. (Especially those who are travelling in campervans!) It’s just one of those things. Ever wondered why some hostels charge a deposit for plates, cups and cutlery? If you can stop people stealing, the problem will be solved.
3. There should be free condiments for me to cook with
There are plenty of hostels nowadays that do provide salt, pepper etc for free in the kitchens. But it must be remembered that it is not your god-given right to the free salt and pepper. Honestly, in nearly every travel store you can buy travel sized salt and pepper pots that take up no space at all. Or just have a look for a free food shelf. People very often leave cooking oil, salt and pepper behind. Do you really need to complain that your hostel has not provided this?
4. The FREE breakfast wasn’t enough
It is free. How can you complain when you haven’t had to pay anything for it?
5. I can’t check in to my room straight away
If you are used to staying in hotels that allow you to check in at any point throughout the day then perhaps you should return to staying in those hotels. More to the point, most hotels, and hostels, have a check-in time. Why is it such a surprise then when you are told you can’t get in to your room until check-in time? Don’t forget that the hostel has to have time to clean the room after the previous occupants left. To enable you to check-in at any time of the day they’d have to be a very empty backpackers hostel.
6. I was waiting for ages to be checked in at reception
If the reception isn’t busy and it still took ages to check-in then by all means complain away – that isn’t acceptable. However, if you have come in to a hostel off a backpacker bus with 20 other backpackers be a little reasonable, it’s obviously going to take a bit of time to get you checked in.
7. The showers were push button showers
What a disgrace!! This is an absolute no-no, if you find an environmentally aware and supportive hostel using push button showers, report them immediately! (I hope I don’t have to explain my sarcasm here!)
8. The WIFI is really poor here
Well then stop being anti-social on your iPhone and get out and explore. Are we really complaining about WIFI? I know the times have changed but we coped fine without WIFI (and in fact without any internet at all at a lot of hostels) and still had fun so is it really worth the stress lines to get so worked up about slow WIFI?
Backpacking is about independent travel, new experiences and enjoyment. Just leave the petty squabbles behind, live in the moment and challenge yourself out of your comfort zone. In short, don’t sweat the small stuff. There are always times when complaints are justified. However I think everyone needs to step back and wonder if their complaint is really worth getting stressed about. Do you agree that the complaints above are unjustified? Or do you think that hostels should provide all of the above no questions asked? What are your common backpacker complaints?