Love is free, accommodation is not. Backpacker’s hostels are really the only way to go if you’re working on a budget and still want to see and do as much as you can. But half of traveling is who you meet and who you’re adventuring with. So how do you do the do without pissing anyone off when you’re sharing accommodation with 11 other 18-25 year old travellers?
Traveling With Intent
If you’re traveling with a partner that you know you’re going to be sharing a bed with, split the cost of a private room if at all possible. It’s just so much easier.
Traveling With Concealed Intent: The 2-Bed Dorm
This is a waste of money and time. But. If you’re traveling with a buddy that’s sometimes more than a buddy or could be more than a buddy, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll book a room with two beds. One of my favorite facial expressions in the world is the hostel clerk’s eye roll when two ‘single’ travelers walk in together and request a room with two beds. We all know only one bed’s going to be used. So. Save yourself a little coin, be honest with yourself and your potential partner, and save that 2-bed dorm for someone traveling with their relatives or actual platonic bro.
4-bed dorms are usually only a few more dollars each night and make it SO MUCH EASIER to assure a little privacy. If you think there’s even a chance you might get lucky on your next voyage, book a 4-bed. You’ve got way less roomies to contend with and it’s easy enough to keep track of everyone’s plans for the day/night.
10-24 Bed Dorms
If you’re a real adventurer, go for it bro. But remember, some night it may be you on the top bunk while some adventurous couples is going for it under you. Headphones can only help so much. There is something rather alluring about attempting to keep it quiet, but remember this: if it’s decent sex, it’s just not going to work. Someone’s going to hear/see you and is either going to hate it or (creepier) love it. So love on at your own risk.
Bigger Dorms: Grab the Bottom Bunk
If you can grab a bottom bunk, do it. Draping sheets around the bed isn’t going to soundproof the world’s tiniest love shack, but it will at least give dorm-mates returning to the shared room a little less visual than if you get stuck on a top bunk. And if you do miraculously get the room to yourself for a bit, having sex on a bottom bunk is way less scary than a top bunk. This is cheap accommodation after all, and the hostel will charge you if you break the bed.
Bathrooms, Rooftops, Alleys
If it’s really not possible to book private accommodation, respect the other people in your dorm and take it to a quiet corner. Single stall bathrooms, shower areas, rooftop terraces, and secluded areas just outside the hostel are the way to go. Dodgy? Absolutely. But, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just gotta be done. Take a surreptitious glance at the rules of your hostel. Is the rooftop open at all hours? Do they explicitly state that shower stalls are for only one person at a time? Again, respect is key. Staff members are just doing their jobs, so if you’re caught in the act, fess up and be nice. This isn’t anything new to them.
It’s All About the Timing
If you’re determined to have sex in a bed, morning sex is absolutely a no-go. The last thing your new roomies want to hear is a poorly faked orgasm just as their alarm is going off. The best time to get your freak on is right after everyone’s gone out for the night or midday when everybody’s taking in the sights (which should never, ever, include some random’s nether-regions).
Stay. Out. Of. The. Kitchen
I shouldn’t have to say this. I hate that I have to say this. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE SEX IN THE KITCHEN. People eat there. And staff is always hanging around anyway. If you want to get kicked out of a hostel, this is the way to do it. (The other way to do it is to attempt a post-sex cigarette out of a window in range of a smoke alarm. They will fine you and ask you to leave.)
The last thing you want is to get back to the hostel at 4am, partner in tow, and drunkenly shell out 40 euro for a last-minute private room. Talk to your partner. Two sober heads are better than one, and if you know you’re going to wind up sleeping together, just figure out a game plan beforehand. Awkward? Hell no! You’re about to be naked with this person, so if you’re not grown enough to figure out how to do it respectfully, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it at all.
Get to Know the Locals
If you wind up meeting some nice gentleman/gentlewoman on a night out and they happen to live in the area: good for you! Definitely take it to their place. BUT MAKE SURE YOU TELL YOUR TRAVEL BUDDIES. There are very few Liam Neeson’s in the world, ready to run after a lost backpacker, hacking through the bad guys to save the day. Think things through and always make sure your group knows you won’t be back until the next day.
So have fun, venture on, and be safe, kids!