I didn’t have anything stolen, but a girl who was staying at my hostel had all of the money taken out of her wallet this morning. She had briefly left her wallet on her bed while she left the room. She was traveling with a friend and they were catching a bus later in the day, and I’m pretty sure that she discovered the money missing when she arrived at the bus station. I received a Facebook message from the two of them warning me of the situation. Clearly, some people seem to think that stealing at hostels is a good idea when given the opportunity.
I find this to be especially troubling in this case, because there are only five people staying at my hostel, all in the same room. With that few people, it is pretty easy to know who did it, and I would suspect that even with multiple rooms of 4-8 people, it would be possible to figure out who the thief is in many cases. I’ve heard many a story from fellow travelers about things getting stolen in hostels, so this is not an isolated case, and I would even venture it is somewhat common.
I think stealing something from a fellow traveler is one of the worst things you could possibly do, especially at a hostel. In my opinion, staying in a hostel with other people is like joining a temporary family. You’re all discovering a new place, and likely trying to do it on at least somewhat of a budget. Many people are traveling alone and relish in meeting new people. You probably have a lot in common with your temporary family, and the last thing you should want to do is cast any possibility for trust aside for yourself and for anyone else who is staying there.
In addition to causing trust problems between travelers, it can have even more far reaching effects. For example, the subject in question in this case had spent some time the day before talking about how great his home country was and telling us that we should all visit there when we get a chance. Keeping in mind that it is a country that not many travelers go to, I could see how a situation like this could taint someone’s perspective of people from another country.
Travelers form a community, and hostel travelers even a more tight-knit one at that. Be kind to the others in your community so it can continue to be a positive one.