We’ve all been there. The height of luxury. An 8, 10, 12, 18 bed dorm room in some large city full of different travellers. The newbies – up at the crack of dawn everyday and out and about all day. The seasoned travellers – taking it easy with everything. The resident – three suitcases and visa runs every few months. But you’ve all got something in common. You’re living together in veeeeeery close quarters. Some people take to it like a duck to water. Others, not so easily. So, to ensure you co-exist amicably with everyone in your room and you come out in one piece, here are my top tips for surviving hostel dorm rooms!
KEEP IT NEAT AND TOGETHER
To ensure a healthy and happy dorm room atmosphere, for the love of god keep your possessions neat and together! You want to make friends on the trip? Then make sure your luggage isn’t left open and spilling into the middle of the room, your shoes are tucked away somewhere and your wet towel isn’t dangling onto another person’s bed.
You’re in a dorm room so there is bound to be a bit of noise, but that shouldn’t be an obstacle to a good night’s sleep. Earplugs will block out those little noises, and sometimes the big noises from the snorer in the corner, to ensure blissful slumber.
INVEST IN A SLEEPING MASK
I can’t tell you the number of times I have been woken up in the middle of the night by someone turning on the lights to search for their jim-jams or toothbrush. Is it inconsiderate? Yes. Should you chew them out for it? Possibly. But you can’t stop them from doing it. Instead, you can invest in a sleeping mask. Maybe one that has padding or a slogan on the front. One of my favourite ones was a baby pink mask with Fuck Off written in cursive. You can also ‘invest’ in one by keeping the one the airline gave you on the flight over.
Had a bit too much to drink before going to bed that night? You’ve woken up at 2am with that foreboding pressure in your lower abdomen that you think you can threaten or cajole away? Take it from one with a small bladder that there is nothing worse than leaving your warm bed in the middle of the night to struggle your way through a 12 bed dorm to the bathroom. Queue stubbed toes and getting caught in people’s towels as you walk towards the door. A little torch in your hand will make sure that you make it to the door and back again in one piece.
TOMORROW’S CLOTHES ON TOP
I cannot stress this enough! Whenever I travel, because of the hideous time changes, I am an early riser when travelling. There is nothing more annoying to the other people in your dorm and frustration with yourself when you have to dig through your luggage in search of today’s clothes. Be a smart cookie and put them on top the night before to save yourself all that trouble.
TISSUES FOR TOILET PAPER
You’ve waited and waited patiently for the loo to be free, bladder bursting. You finally get in there and are doing the business when you look around and there is no toilet paper! I don’t panic, my stomach doesn’t lurch, nor do I look around frantically for the secret stash. I’ve been clever and stuffed a small packed of tissues in my pocket. Crisis averted. This trick is especially good for those middle of the night escapades.
ALWAYS WEAR SHOES IN THE BATHROOM, ESPECIALLY THE SHOWERS!
You know those ads on TV, the ones about the yellow fungal nail infections? Well, that curse be upon you if you venture forth into the bathroom without proper feet accoutrements. No one wants to have smelly, infected feet, especially when you’re on them all day trudging around the sites. Save yourself the pain and embarrassment by wearing a pair of thongs in the bathroom.
I bet that everyone can sympathise with this. On hands and knees looking underneath bunk beds or behind luggage for the elusive powerpoint. Usually you can find one, but alas, you have three separate electronic devices to charge up. Never fear, your power board is here! Take along a four plug power board and an international adaptor and you never have to choose which device is more important to charge again. You can charge them all!
This is not an exhaustive list, but these few tricks and tips will help you to survive a hostel dorm room. Don’t let these situations scare you away from staying in a hostel. Staying in places like this is an experience not to be missed and I have had some of my best adventures and met some of my best friends when staying in hostels, and you will too.