- Keep Calm
- Sleep Well
- Listen to silence
- Ready to use
The hostel universe is a bizarre one. You can meet all sorts of alien personas there. To be honest, when I came home from my last trip in Southeast Asia, I actually missed sharing a room with 10 other people, even though there was a hostel rule or two people often ignored.
Without a doubt, there is plenty of fun to be had in hostels. Nevertheless, there are also those times and people who make you dream of your own, private space, away from weird strangers. To avoid being one of the latter, consider the suggestions below. They are meant to represent the comical side of travel, not to offend anyone.
Have Polite Sex
You meet someone and the attraction is immediate. Or you’ve had such a crazy night out that you just have to finish with a bang (pun intended). Having sex at the hostel is pretty normal. Not that I have experienced it myself but I get it – hostels don’t provide lots of private space and people have needs. However, if you get it on in a room shared by 10 people, especially if you’re over 19 years old, try to have some class. Do what you need to do but at least be quick and quiet. If you’re under 19 – the hell with it. Enjoy doing dumb crap before you’re too old to be embarrassed by it.
If you’ve ever conversed with a backpacker, then you’ve probably heard your fair share of horrifying, yet hilarious sex stories. Usually, 2 people are having a blast, while 20 suffer.
In my room in Vang Vieng, Laos, a local girl got completely shit-faced, went into the shower with all her clothes on, and then came into my room to have sex with some German guy. For an hour and a half! As I was browsing through my Instagram, it was quite obvious that I was awake. To add to the entertainment, the German’s friend came in and out of the room about 20 times, to check if the party was over. He kept getting disappointed.
A friend I met on the road told me how in his dorm some couple gave it their all. In the morning, when the girl realized that she had been taken to a hostel, she got into a screaming match with the guy and woke up everyone, who hadn’t gotten much sleep anyway, thanks to her.
Hostel rule: If you have no other choice, at least reduce your experience to a quickie and moan silently.
Keep Calm Before You Wake Everyone Up
We all stress sometimes when we travel. At times like these, it’s difficult to think about others, especially strangers, but it couldn’t hurt to try.
In Luang Prabang, Laos, there was a great party one night and I came back to my dorm at dawn. In spite of the crazy night, I was eager to attend a traditional Buddhist practice. Every morning, at sunrise, the monks in their saffron robes, come together with the common people, in a sacred ritual. It is a moment of pure serenity and beauty. This communion is called “giving alms” and is when Buddhists offer food to the monks, who have no money of their own.
The ritual is a fascinating experience and I was very happy to be able to attend, but I had also slept just an hour or two and by 8 AM I was the spitting image of “the walking dead”. Just as I lay my head on the pillow and dozed off, some girl started flapping her flip-flops around the room. She came in and out of the dorm a few hundred times (or at least that’s what I thought, while rolling my eyes behind closed lids) and the flippity-flop grew louder each minute. Finally, she garnished it with some screaming.
As I couldn’t help but hear, the girl had lost her phone. While I empathize with her and understand that it sucks to lose all your photos and phone numbers, we all have to accept the inevitable. When you travel, you are bound to lose your money, phone, camera, and documents at some point. It’s happened to me a few times and now I know that there is nothing to be done, other than keep calm. Deal with what you can, accept the rest as an unpleasant, yet normal part of adventures, and move on.
Hostel rule: If you must scream to feel better, at least try to avoid doing it in a dorm where 15 other people are sleeping.
Don’t Drink More than You Can Handle
I am Eastern European. This means two things – I’ve lived in panel housing and I know how to handle my liquor. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for whole flocks of tourists in Southeast Asia. In every slightly larger town, there is that one party street where having enough to drink means helplessly rolling around the floor. And even then, if there is someone willing to poor vodka down these people’s throats (and there often is) they are happy to gag on whatever. All of this would be well and good if it had no repercussions for anyone other than the drunky.
In Cambodia, I was told the story of a young lad who was so drunk that he got out of his bed, in the middle of the night, but couldn’t reach the bathroom and instead decided to pee all over his roommates’ backpacks. Imagine waking up in the morning to find everything you have in this world soaked, like the floor of the men’s bathroom, at some sleazy bar. Doesn’t sound too nice.
Hostel rule: Drink until it’s fun, not until everyone hates you.
Don’t Set Emotional Traps for Strangers
Everyone gets homesick sometimes and there is nothing wrong with talking about these things. On the contrary – sharing could often bring you closer to others and lift the weight off your shoulders. However, do try to pick an appropriate time for the outpouring.
The bottom bunk of my bed in Phnom Penn, Cambodia, was occupied by an ever-suffering dude. One evening, I walked into the dorm just to grab some cash for a night out. Before we even had time to make eye contact, the guy shot me in the heart with, “I miss my mom so much”. Step into my shoes for a moment. On the one hand, my starving friends were waiting in the lobby, as we were headed to dinner. On the other – you can’t just ignore a grievance like that. What would you do?
Hostel rule: Share as much as you feel comfortable, with whomever you like, but please consider the context first.
Despite, or perhaps because of, all the crazy tales that hostel-living drops in your lap, it’s absolutely one of the best ways to travel Southeast Asia. Thanks to sharing stories with other travelers, I was able to plan my adventure from real experiences, rather than some dry guidebook. I met fascinating people and had more fun that I thought a solo traveler ever could. At the end, all the weird experiences become good stories and are a nice way to bond with the other casualties. So, don’t be afraid to give the dorm rooms a chance – if nothing else, at least you’ll never forget the experience.
What hostel rules do you think people should follow? Comment below 🙂[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]