7 bunkmates you hope to avoid when you open your hostel room door
Sleeping in hostels can be a bit like saddling up to a blackjack table: you might win, you might lose, but most of the time you’ll just rest your feet and break even. Many hostel nights will be uneventful. Some will be amazing, when you open that dorm door and meet your travel buddy for the next six weeks, your lifehack guru or the person who’ll teach you how to make a mouth-watering risotto. Then again, you could be dealt a foul hand and encounter one of these seven bad bunkmates. Thank goodness the first rule of travel is that bad experiences make the best stories, so bad bunkmates are sometimes the best after all.
1. The Nocturnal Organizer
Her bus leaves at four in the morning so she sets her alarm for three, then hits snooze 17 times before finally getting up. But she still needs to pack. First, she struggles to get her bag out of the locker, whimpering between grunts until it pops loose. Then she crinkles countless plastic bags as she sorts her belongings and stomps to all four corners of the room in her quest for lost items. When the zipper’s finally closed, her rustling has quieted down and sleep begins to wash over you, she drops a nuclear blast by flicking on the overhead light for one last check, then dashes out—letting the door slam. REALLY?
2. The Mooch
He’s super excited about this city and has some great tips, since he’s been here a week. When he spots the public transit Day Pass clutched between your directions to the hostel and the passport you just had to show at the front desk, he asks if he could borrow it for half an hour while you unpack. Half an hour? In this city? Yeah right. Then he notices you putting your laptop into the lock box and asks if he could use it to write a few emails—he’s more emotive with a full keyboard. He sees you doing laundry and asks for soap, then toothpaste, then deodorant. When you plug in your phone he asks what percentage you’re at, then begs for the cord since his battery is lower. Did this guy bring anything of his own?
3. The Bathroom Beauty Queen
The showers are down the hall, but at least you scored an ensuite toilet and sink. Too bad the girl from Bed 8 has been hogging the mirror for the last hour straightening her hair and caking on makeup. Her friends are all bunking next door, but they’ve decided to hang out in your bathroom, screeching over her phone’s maxed-out speaker. When she finally leaves for the rooftop happy hour and you get a chance to wash your face, there are tiny bottles and brushes covering every flat surface and her straightener cord is tangled around the sink.
4. The Snoring Sack of Smells
He sleeps on top of the sheets in nothing but his tighty-whities and is already snoring when you head to bed. Clearing your throat doesn’t faze him, so you’ve resorted to gently "adjusting" his mattress from the bottom bunk. This buys you a minute’s peace, but he’s soon back to sawing logs. At least the front desk gives out free earplugs. If only there were a remedy for his farts, which have turned the entire dorm into an aquarium of nasty.
5. The Principal
She’s in bed at 8:30 with all the lights off. When you arrive at 9 and whisper a question to the guy reading in Bunk 3, she rolls over and lets loose a disappointed sigh. The next afternoon, when you’re chatting with the girl in Bunk 6 about which museum to choose if you only have time for one, she tells you the common room is for conversation and the dorm is supposed to be a silent space. When you open a bag of chips she reminds you that all food is to be kept in the kitchen. Later that evening when you snicker into your book, she returns to step one—the classic disappointed sigh.
6. Mr. Two Cents
This guy has an opinion on everything, from the way you drop your pack onto the floor (you’re ripping the straps), to the amount of milk you add to your coffee (grownups drink their coffee black). You’re not sure what about your appearance made him think you were eager for advice, but if you wanted to travel with your mom you would’ve brought her. No, you don’t need band recommendations when you put in your earbuds. No, you don’t want to compare the weight of his travel towel to yours. No, you don’t want to sign up for his favorite cheap-flight email newsletter, but wait—these deals are kind of amazing. The only thing worse than Mr. Two Cents is when Mr. Two Cents makes a good point.
7. The Lovebirds
These two saved six dollars getting bunks in a shared room instead of a private room, and they swear they won’t be annoying. During the day they’re great listeners, since they’re so sick of travelling together that any stranger’s story is fascinating. But when the lights go out, their own drama heats up. They start things off with some aggressive spooning on a single mattress. You can ignore the whispering, and even the stifled giggles. But hostel furniture is no match for true love, and their bunkbed will creak, quake and knock against yours until a screw pops. Eventually they’ll go to sleep and then you can, too—just keep them in mind come morning, when clothes might be missing and wilted, hairy naked bits can’t be unseen.