All photos courtesy of Amazing Travel Photos
Most of the people you will meet in hostels are well educated, polite and considerate. Your roommates normally respect your space, which is usually just your bed, and will try not to wake you by turning on lights and talking loudly when they come home late.
Unfortunately, all that respect and consideration goes out the window when large quantities of alcohol are consumed. Binge drinking is the number one problem of hostel living.
This should come as no surprise, since binge drinking is also the number one problem on most American college campuses. And many hostel residents are American college students, especially during the summer when college students are free to tour Europe. The Grand Tour of Europe often consists of one binge drinking stop after another. First Amsterdam, next Berlin, then Prague, Vienna, Munich, Paris and so on.
Also, all the usual problems, such as date rape, go hand-in-hand with binge drinking.
Now many hostels encourage binge drinking by offering “pub crawls”. Pub crawls are offered by tour companies for a fee. They take a group to half a dozen different pubs. The fee often covers one or more drinks at each club, and sometimes free beer during certain times.
One pub crawl, that got some people in trouble, offered an unlimited number of drinks during the first 90 minutes. This naturally encouraged everyone to drink as much as possible as quickly as possible. Pub crawlers would consume five, ten or more shots of alcohol in the first hour and a half. This is the definition of binge drinking.
As a long time hostel dweller, I’ve seen dozens, if not hundreds, of young people head off on a pub crawl with the best of intentions. A pub crawl usually starts around 9PM or 10PM. They swear they won’t drink too much and will come home early, no later than 1AM. But eight or ten hours later, at 6AM or 7AM, they can be seen dragging their gin-soaked selves back to the hostel, reeking of alcohol. I’ve been woken up numerous times first by the sound of the door unlocking, followed immediately by the stench of alcoholic. The alcoholic smell precedes them by a good 5 or 10 meters!
One Sorry Ozzie
One story I will relate is of a roommate at a hostel in Frankfurt. He was an Australian bloke who just arrived at the hostel. The very first night, he headed off on the Frankfurt pub crawl, which visits four different clubs in Alt Sachsenhousen. There is one free welcome drink at the start, and then a free shot in every bar. After that, you pay for your own drinks. The pub crawl started at 9PM.
Well, the Australian bloke never made it back to the hostel that night. The next day I saw him in the afternoon sleeping. He slept until the next day. When I finally spoke he told me what happened to him.
One minute he was in a club having a good time. The next thing he remembers is waking up in hospital!
It turned out that he passed out on the floor in the bathroom. They could not revive him, so they called an ambulance and brought him to the emergency room. The Germans can be counted on to do the safe thing, like take you to hospital. But in most countries they will just push you aside or throw you out the back door into alley. In the U.S., when you pass out drunk, you are likely to get robbed of everything, including money wallet, credit cards, shoes and clothes.
I forgot to ask him of they pumped his stomach! I wonder how much he had to pay.
In part 2, I’ll relate a true story that recently occurred with a binge drinking episode in a hostel.