Surviving Hostel Accommodation
So you have finally decided to take the plunge and take on the challenge of independent travel. One of the most popular accommodation styles for the independent traveller is backpacker hostels, they are cheap, usually clean and often in good locations.
On top of that they are a great way to meet other travellers, have cheap Internet, somewhere to wash your clothes plus lots of other little things that are great when travelling on a budget.
But like everything positive there are a few negatives with hostel accommodation and this is the reason for this blog about surviving hostel accommodation.
Often the more in the dorm or room the cheaper it is; so it has its appeal. But unless you are a very sound sleeper the more people in the room the less chance of a good night's sleep you will have. So how do we survive the common challenges to a cheap night's sleep? The perils of hostel accommodation include the following:
- The Snorer
- The Drunk
- The Frisky Couple
- The Bag Rustler
- The Over Enthusiastic Talker
- The Early Departer
One of the biggest complaints I hear and have experienced myself is the snorer. There is nothing worse than trying to get to sleep when someone else is snoring. It is a wonder some of them don't wake themselves up they are so loud! They are sound asleep and oblivious to your tossing and turning, tutting and cursing.
You can't always identify a snorer so be careful. Sometimes you think that they look like a non-snorer and you are taken by surprise. Sometimes they don't snore one night and then the next night after a few beers they do. Thankfully, there are a few ways to overcome this, headphones with low volume relaxing sounds works for some but ear plugs is the easiest and cheapest method. Short of getting to sleep before them or getting really drunk you need to block out as much of that annoying noise as possible so make sure you have some ear plugs with you just in-case.
The drunk, not too different from the snorer in some ways, except that they can be really noisy before going to sleep and then turn into a snorer once they finally locate their bed. Again ear plugs are an essential.
You will no doubt experience the frisky couple, one of them has probably been sneaked in and not an official guest in the room; so now you have the inconvenience (or convenience depending on which way you view this one) of having an extra room mate. Ear plugs and optionally an eye mask, commonly available on those long haul flights can be very useful. I got mine on a recent flight from Vancouver to Sydney and made my Air Canada seat selection online. Make sure you keep a pair of both in your backpack.
Why is it that there is always someone with a bag of fruit or something else not really essential for access at 2am in the morning, and for some reason they decide to pack this useless item inside a plastic or really noisy bag with heaps of zips and stuffed deep within their rucksack. Come on, have your soap-bag or whatever items you need late at night somewhere easily accessible. The cure is once again the humble ear plug, make sure you have some.
We have all experienced this one, the over enthusiastic talker best avoided when it is getting close to the time you plan to sleep. They can talk about anything, not take a hint that you have heard enough and just keep droning on. Plan your evening carefully and make sure you are not the last person speaking with this one or you will never be able to escape their many stories. Get you excuses prepared before you arrive at your accommodation so as not to be caught out. If you suspect someone of being an over enthusiastic talker mention your excuses for needing to get to bed by a certain time early on in the conversation, within your own little story - if you can get a word in. Sometimes it can be quite difficult, short of being rude or putting in your trusty ear plugs mid-conversation reach for a book or say you have to call someone urgently.
Finally, the classic early departers who are more common than you think. Planes to catch, tours to go on, body clock out of whack there are a number of reasons. I think you can guess what you need for this one. You need to cover your eyes and muffle the noise - there are some pointers above on what might help you achieve this. Ear Plugs and Eye Mask!!
Otherwise you can take a gamble on having none of these people in your room, it does happen on a good percentage of the time, but your luck will run out. Alternatively you can become the snorer, the drunk or the over enthusiastic talker or if you're lucky part of the frisky couple!
Another option is to get to know a few people that are good, quiet, non-snoring, moderate talking, teetotallers who are celibate and like to have a lie in every day. If you can do this you are on to a winner. Form a hostel sleeping club and stick together at night as you travel around, sleep in a room just big enough to get you all in and do not let anyone else join the exclusive club.
Posted By mick on 14th August 2012
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