Survival guide: Hostels

Staying in a dorm room gives you a possibility to meet more people but it can also be also be a cause of all kinds of trouble. Snores that don’t let you sleep all night, drunk people doing stupid things or beg bugs; it can be truly intimidating, so here are my tips for making your hostel experience more pleasant.

Survival guide: Hostels | The Cheerful Wanderer

1. Female only or mixed dorms? Small or bigger rooms?
Many hostels offer female-only rooms. If you’re a solo female traveller, consider booking one of those. They are usually cleaner and quieter, but that’s not the rule. Maybe it’s just my luck, but I’ve never had any problems with male travellers, so I usually go for mixed bedroom instead. They tend to be a lot of fun and you will meet and bond with other people much faster.

On the contrary to popular belief, smaller rooms are not always the best choice. When I was travelling to London with my friend we somehow managed to book seperate rooms. She was in 3-bed mixed dorm, while I ended in 9-bed mixed dorm. When we went ot unpack and see where we sleep, we seperated. Fifteen minutes later, when I was joyfully chatting with three Brazilian students, my friend came to our room and told us her dorm stinks and a guy who was taking a nap at that time, was snoring loudly.

I discovered I meet more people in 9-bed or 12-bed mixed dorm. However, I only booked 20-bed room and regretted it a lot, because there’s absolutely no way you won’t get waken up every hour when there are so many travellers sharing a room.

2. The centre of the city or a quiet area?
Staying somewhere further from the city center has its advantages. Prices are usually lower, there is less traffic and supermarkets are more common. It’s smart to first check the public transport connections. In London, for example, it’s not the most intelligent choice to stay in a hostel situated in Zone 6. Underground tickets are very expensive even without that. While in Barcelona I’ve found the cutest hostel 25 minutes away from everything. And if you plan to party all night, stay in the heart of the city. It’s better to be close to the club, when you’re returning to your bed early morning.

3. Invest into a fake wedding ring
If you don’t want unwanted attention, buy yourself a cheap wedding ring on ebay or aliexpress. You can get them for $1 and yes, they work.

4. Flip-flops are not just for summer
Something I learnt the hard way, unfortunately. Nail fungus is the consenquence I still have to deal with (I know, gross). Always carry a pair of flip-flops if you plan to use a communal shower or option two, don’t shower at all (please don’t go for option two). Believe me, foot conditions are not something you want to deal with.

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