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The Struggle of Telling Travelers Your Hostel is Full

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Photo by Cameron Rusell
Photo by Cameron Russell

During summer, great hostels can fill up quickly. Throw a music festival and a long weekend into the mix, and even shady lobbies will be seen putting up the dreadful “No Vacancy” sign. Travelers looking for a place to sleep will understandably argue with hostel receptionists; trying to tell a traveler that your hostel is full can turn into the least simple task of your day. Technically, it is simple; only a few words need to be uttered to communicate this information. But obviously, that’s not what the let’s-not-plan-ahead-and-go-with-the-flow-once-we-get-there travelers want to hear.

*Travelers walk in, looking for 2 beds for 2 nights…

Receptionist: Hello guys! How are you?

Traveler: Hi! Great, thanks. We’d like to stay here tonight and tomorrow night.

Receptionist: Unfortunately guys, we are completely full for the next 3 nights.

Ok, then we’ll just take 2 beds in a dorm.

Receptionist: We do not have any space in our dorms for the next 3 days.

Traveler: Ok, well, I guess we have to take a private room.

Receptionist: I’m sorry, but we have no space at all. Our private rooms are full, and our dorms are full.

Traveler: I don’t understand, this is a hostel, right? It’s impossible that a hostel be full.

Receptionist: Yes, it is possible. We fill up the same way a hotel does.

Traveler: I’ve never heard of a hostel with no beds available.

Receptionist: That’s actually quite frequent in most major European cities.

Traveler: But all your reviews on TripAdvisor were great, that’s why we came here. No one mentioned that it could be ‘full’, like you say.

Well, to leave a review, you must have stayed here, so all reviewers were actual guests I assume.

Traveler: But are you sure there is no space? Like not even 2 beds in your biggest dorm?

I am sure. It’s been like this for a few days already. Lots of bookings coming through beforehand.

Traveler: But hostels are supposed to have space for travelers with no reservations, like us. What happened to not making plans ahead?

Well we did have a couple of beds this morning but they are gone by now, taken by walk-ins that got here earlier.

Traveler: So you’re telling me that to get a bed in this shitty city we needed to be here at 6am?

Receptionist: No, that’s not what I said. And please don’t blame our city for this. I would suggest making reservations before getting to a place at this time of year.

Traveler: No, that’s not how we roll. We never had a problem before so I don’t know why you’re making it difficult for us. We can even share a bed if you only have one. That’s not a problem.

Receptionist: I understand but there is no bed, not even one!

Traveler: How about a couch, can we just crash on one of your couches?

Receptionist: No, that’s not possible, unfortunately.

Traveler: How about the roof?

Receptionist: That’s even less possible.

Traveler: How about we leave our luggage here, go bar hopping all night, and come back in the morning to get a shower and breakfast?

Receptionist: Sorry guys, but the facilities are only for guests.

Traveler: But you’re refusing to let us be guests!

Receptionist: I’m not refusing it, I have no choice! Look, I’m going to help you find another place.

Traveler: But we really wanted to stay here because of the reviews. Have you worked here for long? I think you are lying to us.  Can we speak to another staff member?

Receptionist: I am the only one here right now, worked here for looooong time and I am telling the truth!

Traveler: I don’t know man, I am not feeling your vibe. Is your mom a crazy person?

Receptionist: Why are you bringing my mom into this?

Traveler: Because yo momma’s so fat, she needs a triple bunk bed just for herself. That’ why this place is full.

Receptionist: I don’t even know how to react to this. That’s the first time I have a ‘your momma’ joke thrown at me for just doing my job. And actually, that joke, or should I say insult, was not even witty, just plain bad.

Traveler: Yeah but you deserve it because you are selecting who can stay here!

Receptionist: Dude, I’m not selecting anything. I’m telling you that there is no beds left here, but I can help you find another place.

Traveler: I guess, but is there more people who are supposed to show up tonight?

Receptionist: Yes, there are some bookings left.

Traveler: What if they don’t show up?

Receptionist: Well we won’t know until the morning, won’t we?

Traveler: But we could use their beds now and if they show up, we’ll give them up.

Receptionist: They could show up in 10 minutes, or at 4 in the morning. That’s just not an option.

Traveler: What if we talk to some guests and ask them if we can sleep on the floor in their room?

Receptionist: No please don’t do that.

Traveler: Ok, we’ll just sneak in at night, when you’re done working.

Receptionist: Thanks for letting me know, I’ll pass that info along to my coworker.

Traveler: Dude, you suck, I can’t believe you’re not letting us stay here.

Receptionist: It’s not my fault!!

Traveler: About tomorrow, can we stay here tomorrow then?

Receptionist: Like I said, it is full for the next 3 days, and if we find yourselves another place, they’ll hopefully have space for 2 nights.

Traveler: No, we’ll come back here tomorrow. We’ll make the booking now so you can’t say that you have no space.

Receptionist: Ok guys, we can’t make a booking for tomorrow, we are already full!

Traveler:  Gosh, this place is a shithole. Service is the worst ever. Don’t bother helping us, we’ll find another place ourselves. And I’m definitely going to write a 1-star review about your supposedly enviable establishment.

Receptionist: Guys, it’s not my fault there is no space! You’re not seeing that I’m trying to help you! There is no need for this argument! And your review will be a fake one obviously.

Traveler: All the other ones must be fake as well, I’m not seeing anything that resemble what I had read. This place sucks!!!

*Travelers leave the hostel slamming the door and shouting profanities.

Meanwhile, the receptionist answers the phone.
“Heya, do you guys have any space for tonight for 8 people?

Sounds familiar? Yep, we’ve all been there! Share you stories in the comment section!

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The Hostel Worker

I once asked a fellow hostel worker if he was still sane after working in hostels for so many years. His response: "Well, sane is another word for boring." Here's to many more hostel years!

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