In March 2020 and during the ongoing crisis due to Coronavirus, we asked our community on how they are holding up.
Do you want to submit your own story? Then fill out the form here.
10 Months Backpacking cut short – we will all be back
I was in the middle of a 10 month around the world journey when COVID19 began to effect countries around the world. I was in Southeast Asia when the world began to find out about what now has become a travelers nightmare pandemic.
I somehow managed to get from Thailand to Vietnam to Trinidad and Tobago to Curacao to Colombia before the worldwide lock down and border closings. I was heading into month 8 of my journey before I decided to go back to the States.
I am grateful for all of the help I received in getting back home, only 1 day before the Colombian President decided to stop all entry and exit from the country. I hope to finish my journey one day but for now I am truly blessed to be back home with family. I will say that being on stay orders in my country was the best decision for me, but my hats go off to my travel friends who are sticking this out in other countries. The world is a beautiful place, can’t wait until we can explore again!
Stuck in a Hostel in Quito
I flew to Quito, Ecuador the beginning of March.
I was here for about a week before the quarantine started. I’m staying at this really nice hostel called Community Hostel, really great food and staff.
They kept up to date with cleanliness procedures, and always made activities so we wouldn’t go stir crazy.
We had to catch a last minute flight from Bali to Berlin. It was not easy, and the flight was full up to the last seat. We thought it would be half empty. The stewardess were our heroes. Although they were overworked and not as friendly as usual, you could tell they were giving their best.
The atmosphere at the airport was strange. People were nervous. Some were wearing masks although they are not sick at all. We are now home safe, happy to be back.
Trying to find a job in New Zealand – when Covid hit
Hey fellow travellers,
I’m a young female from Czech Republic.
I came to New Zealand with Working Holiday Visa, thinking I’ll travel a little and then find a hostel job. I manage to do the first part and travel around the North island of NZ. While I was living in my van I was constantly dropping my CV’s around the country, but didn’t have any luck with finding any hostel position.
Another factor was that hostels in NZ are not a really big thing ’cause everyone travels in their vans.
Anyway, I decided to settle in one of the towns I really liked and admitted I might have to lower my expectations and find another job.
I lived in a hostel for while tried to impress few more mangers but no luck again. At that time things got really bad in Italy and people started to talk about Covid much more.
I printed approx. 20 CV’s and dropped them personally in almost every cafe, bar, restaurant and diner in area I moved into. Luckily I found a job in a Burger diner just 2 weeks before the lock-down. I got a job, moved to a house and everything seem to be on a stable path at that moment. After a week working first cases of Covid showed up in NZ and that was the start.
I just finished my second week of working when the PM of NZ announced that we will move to Alert 4, meaning everything apart essential businesses have to shut down. So after 2-month long hunt for a job and only 2 weeks working I was unemployed again. Luckily I had a house to stay in and amazing people around me.
NZ’s government also released a wage subsidy for those effected and that was another lucky moment that allowed me to stay in this amazing country. But the money I received barely covered my rent. SO job hunt again!
Before I came to NZ I said that I really don’t want to work in any kind of farm or orchard. Where do you think I work now? Yep the universe gave me a lesson again and here I am working as a kiwi picker.
Let me tell you it’s a hard job, I don’t like it at all, but what I realized is that I should be grateful for all of it. There’s so many people out there that have no chance of any kind of income that would do anything to accept any kind of job.
I complain, I cry but I also consider myself lucky at this stage.
***Support your favourite hostel and plan your future trip now***
From now on you can buy a voucher in any amount you want and use it any time in the future. Depending on the amount chosen, we’ll give an extra thank you present – discount, swanky souvenir, free breakfast, free cocktails, free tour or a dinner at our restaurant. 🍹 🍕
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Contact us directly to mint[at]swanky-hostel.com with subject ‘Voucher‘ and we’ll send you info about the payment via email and you’ll get your voucher and our staff’s eternal gratitude 🤗
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Airbnb in New Zealand
Currently working remotely in New Zealand, I’ve been moving between housesits, volunteering placements and hostels for the past 6 months. The day after the announcement of a 4-week ‘lockdown’ in NZ, I was set to head to a new Workaway to help build a winter veggie garden.
Luckily for me, I happened to be staying in a VERY posh Airbnb and the owners came round to offer my partner and I a chance to stay for a very reasonable price.
Thanks to the generosity of strangers, I now get to enjoy my own space and unlimited WiFi so that I can continue my online work. I am full of gratitude and have no doubt that this situation will bring people together rather than pull them apart.
Helping each other out – Free Self-Run Hostel in Iran
by Golnar from HI Tehran Hostel
This story is a bit different since we weren’t stuck ourselves. But we had many guests who were stuck in Iran. In Hi Tehran Hostels, we stopped accepting new guests immediately after hearing about the start of epidemic in Iran to play our part in reducing the risk for everyone.
Yet, we continued monitoring the new chaos, and acknowledged the remaining foreign travelers, who were confused and clueless about when and how they could fly out, were facing many difficulties.
Unfortunately, with the closure of borders, frequent cancellation of flights, and poor support from many embassies in Iran toward their travelers, we started to notice there were still numerous travelers in Iran who couldn’t fly back home any time soon and they were very tight on budget or out of money since they didn’t predict such a long stay.
Of course it wasn’t our job to take care of that and the related offices should’ve managed these conflicts to control the risks.
However, we decided to stand up and provide a help by offering a FREE SELF-RUN accommodation to tourists who were still in Iran with cancelled flights till they can fly home. There were of course, safety protocols which was and still is checked by health ministry that the residents should follow seriously.
Otherwise, staying with us would’ve been meaningless and not different from staying in individuals or Couchsurfing!
Hostel in Delhi, India helping out
by Aakash Ahuja
As part of the hostel community, we run Podstop Hostel in Delhi, India.
Due to the covid 19 situation all over the world, many travellers are either unable to go back to their respective countries or don’t want to move from their current location. We have hosted people from 18 countries since Delhi/India went into lockdown.
We’ve been accepting and inviting any and all travelers from around the world who need a friendly, safe and secure place to stay.
Following WHO guideline, we are monitoring, actively checking each of the hostel resident under supervision of trained staff. Although delhi is under complete lockdown, we are arranging for food and other supplies through our network to provide basic food for our guests. Please let us know if anyone in Delhi/surrounding reaches out to you.
We’ll be happy to accommodate. We do charge each guest just enough to cover our basic cost at this time. This means we put down our prices for accommodation by 30% and for food by 50%. Every 4night the travelers stay for free at the moment.
Our flight has been cancelled, no surprise there, but KIWI.com is guaranteeing a 20% refund on our flight costs. This is seriously taking advantage of the current Corona pandemic and because of this paltry refund policy, we will never use the service again and will not recommend to friends.
Staff helped us out in Cartagena, Colombia
We stayed at Life is Good Hostel in Cartagena. All the staff members stand out as fantastic members of staff – my friend and I had a nightmare with trying to get back home due to coronavirus and they both went out of their way to do everything they could to help us – could not be happier with the service!
Our Scary and Risky 3-Day Journey from northern Philippines to Berlin
I am at a loss for words on how to describe what we are going through at this moment. We are currently on the 2nd day of our 3-day journey back to our home in Berlin. The riskiest part of our journey. We’re waiting at NAIA airport to board this rare direct repatriation flight from Manila to Frankfurt sent by the German government.
There are only 350 seats and almost 500 registered people trying to get into the flight. We arrived at the airport at 1PM and got thrown into the middle of the chaotic crowd managed by only 1 guy from the embassy. It’s a super risky hot mess. I wanted to cry. Everything we planned to do to protect ourselves from being exposed is thrown out the window.
We were unsure if we will get in. The guy is using a “prioritization” system that is unclear. I don’t have a German passport. Even Filipinos holding German passports are asked to line up with other Filipinos. We worried that he would let my husband board the flight and ask me to stay.
After four hours of waiting surrounded by hundreds of people who act like social distancing is a foreign idea, we got in. Finally. A big sigh of relief. But super stressed with the hours of exposure we had outside.
We’ve been at the airport for almost 10 hours now, exhausted and a bit scared. We try to keep it positive. We talk about recipes we will cook and shows we will binge watch on our projector. We online grocery shop in Rewe to deliver food to our apartment in time for our arrival. This is happiness for us now.
We should be boarding soon. We can’t wait to sleep and recharge. Lord knows we need all our energy for this 14 hour flight and the 6 hour train ride to Berlin after.
Send us protection as we make our way back home. We hope you’re all healthy and safe at home.
Hang tight! We will survive this rollercoaster.
Update: We are safely in Berlin now and feel fine.
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