Why Hostels and Digital Nomads Don’t Mix.

Hostels are great for many things; they’re a convenient and cheap place to go, you can meet new people, and they usually have lots of events going on. They also have some horror stories of either disgusting filth, theft, or danger (hostel the movie anyone?).

While you’re unlikely to get either extreme, even the most standard hostel isn’t great for the working traveller. Here’s why hostels and digital nomads don’t mix.

There are some things that you NEED while trying to work and be productive:

  • Stable Wifi. Tens or hundreds (depending on the size of your hostel) people sharing the same wifi signal is the worst. It may be fine for basic email and messaging, but depending on the nature of your work, you may need something stronger. Between you trying to get shit done, the person skyping their mom in the corner, the guy streaming movies, and everyone else doing God knows what, the internet may be on its last legs.
  • A workspace. Most hostels have tables, a common area, or some laptop friendly area. Whether or not these will be cramped, near an outlet, or you’ll be next to a guy who looks like he’s about to spill his dinner and beer all over your laptop is a different story.
     
  • Privacy. If not privacy, then at least like-minded people. Those workspaces in the common area aren’t exactly productive places when the people beside you are playing poker and the TV is turned up to the highest possible volume.

A Case Study: Kinlay House Dublin

I recently visited Dublin for a few days. This isn’t my first time visiting but there were still many things I wanted to see. I was here by myself and wanted to meet some new people, which is why I decided to stay in a hostel. I also wanted to get some productive things done. Organize my computer & cloud files, work on this blog, work on some graphics for Pinterest, etc. 

Since I was in the city and not out in rural Ireland where I’ve primarily been staying I thought it was a good time to use some functional internet and be productive. 

Turns out, you can’t really have both. I’ve certainly learned that hostels and digital nomads don’t mix. Kinlay House Dublin was a mixed bag of travellers. From your typical 19 year old just looking to party to the 50+ guy trying to socialize with everyone but still ends up snoring by 10 pm. 

Trying to save some money (as I wasn’t working as much lately as I really should be), I booked a dorm. The reviews for Kinlay House seemed decent enough – free breakfast, clean, friendly, etc. The breakfast is free, it was clean, and the people were nice. I had a few good chats and went out with some new people, so that bit was nice.

When actually trying to do get things done is where I ran into some issues. Despite it being advertised that there is wifi throughout – that was barely true. From the room I couldn’t connect so I moved to the common area. This overcrowded room was full of people – playing cards, eating food, watching TV, etc. While louder than I would’ve liked, I popped in my headphones and moved to one of the few unoccupied tables. 

While the wifi was better in the common room, it would disconnect and reconnect ever 2-5 minutes. This was painfully frustrating. Particularly if you’re trying to upload anything. Furthermore, about 15 minutes into trying to get some work done, people decided to play pool. Spatial awareness clearly wasn’t their strong suit as due to the overcrowded nature of the room, the table and the pool table were closer than they should’ve been and my laptop got hit with a pool cue one too many times. 

Frustrated by this, I learned to be doing any of the work I wanted to at a cafe. The only downfall being that many were only open to 6 pm and the day time is when I wanted to do my exploring (as many other places are only open to 5 or 6 as well).

Alas, it’s a lesson learned. Now that I know that hostels and digital nomads don’t mix, I’ll be sticking to AirBnbs. 

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hostels and digital nomads
By | 2017-04-28T16:47:50+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Reviews, Travel, Work Remotely|12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Delphine May 4, 2017 at 12:41 am

    I’ve done my dash in hostels, and never really liked them, even before the era of digital nomads. I need my privacy too much… I think if you’re travelling and working, a minimum standard is required. But since most travellers are connected and in need of good connectivity, I wonder how hostels are coping with such demands…

    • Ashley May 4, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      I certainly agree with that sentiment now Delphine – there needs to be a minimum standard when working – I’ve learned my lesson.
      Some hostels seem really good with having multiple wifi options – one for each floor at least. But others, not so much, unfortunately.

  2. Ant May 4, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Yep, AirBnB was our go to when traveling as well. I always wanted to travel and hang in hostels throughout Europe, but now that I have a taste of the “good life”…I’ve lost that “dream”.

    • Ashley May 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Hostels can be fun – it’s all about why your travelling at that time and who you’re with. For a night or two, great to meet people, but otherwise Airbnb is my go to!

  3. Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder May 4, 2017 at 4:09 am

    That stinks about the wifi – never thought about that. I’m too paranoid my camera/phone/money/laptop will get stolen so I just tend to avoid hostels but it’s a great deal if you dont have much to bring

    • Ashley May 4, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      I just always make sure that they have lockers so I don’t need to worry too much about my stuff – and I always bring my own locks so I know exactly how many keys there are/ who knows the codes 😉

  4. Lisanne May 4, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I can understand it doesn’t really mix. I really need privacy to get work done. Great article!

    • Ashley May 4, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks!

  5. Umberta May 5, 2017 at 6:47 am

    But today there are new hostels with calm spaces for working & usually good wifi! 🙂

    • Ashley May 5, 2017 at 11:37 am

      I’ve seen some with good wifi – but beyond the “coliving & coworking” spaces (which look amazing but often require a longer commitment) – I haven’t came across a hostel with decent workspace – mind sharing where you’ve found some?

  6. Jo May 6, 2017 at 3:09 am

    Even though I’ve been working from home the past few months and have gradually learned all the things that distract me from working (pretty much everything!) I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of avoiding hostels. It now seems the most obvious thing in the world, but thanks for pointing it out!

    • Ashley May 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Yeah I thought I could mix in working and meeting new people and fun – but guess not. There are some “hostel -like” experiences meant for working people – but they tend to go by “coworking and co living spaces” or other names of that sort.

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