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5 Essential Tactics For Dorm Room Survival

Today’s blog comes from Amy Baker, a travel writer currently holed up in London writing her first book. You’re most likely to find her dreaming of a return to Colombia or staring out of her window plotting which neighbourhood cat to “borrow”.

Ideally we would all travel the world sleeping upon mattresses woven from ethically harvested liger fur in 8 star hotels that are lovingly cleaned from top to bottom every day, but sadly that just isn’t realistic.

When temperatures are through the roof, no-one has the cash to splash on air-con and there are 18 of you crammed into one room straight from a 24-hour bus ride, tensions will arise. Follow these tips to ensure you don’t end up with 17 new enemies and zero sleep…

6 Essential Tactics For Dorm Room Survival

Don’t Snore

Unless you want a night being subjected to jabs through the slats in your bunk bed or people “accidentally” punching you en route for a midnight pee, don’t book into a huge dorm room if you snore. If you’re cursed with narrow nostrils and a tendency to sleep on your back, be sensitive and consider booking a private room, or invest in one of those plastic nose strips.

Don’t Be Inconsiderate

 Do you have ANY idea how noisy that massive bag is to pack?

A dark dorm room can present a million and one opportunities to injure your lower legs in the middle of the night…but don’t turn the light on. Just don’t. Also, if you are getting up early, make sure that you have packed your bag the night before like a thoughtful human being. There is nothing more infuriating that someone “quietly” trying to locate all of the belongings they have scattered around the room in time to catch their 6am coach.


When there is just one measly fan to service an underground room chock full of bunk beds and backpacks, you don’t mess with that fan. Remember, that noisy piece of tin is the one source of air movement for everyone calling that room home for the night. Every self-respecting backpacker needs to know that their £3 a night has bought them something other than a lumpy bed and a plastic mattress cover.

Don’t Fornicate With An Audience

Picture the scene…an unusually peaceful dorm room. 9 out of 10 beds full of people sleeping soundly. Then, disaster strikes. A lusty couple who have spent the whole day drinking shots in the bar lurch in, not caring one jot who they wake up with their inebriated moans and groans. Find some other surroundings; roof terrace, gardens, pool…there are a lot of options. Be creative.

Don’t Do Anything Weird

The array of things I’ve witnessed in dorm rooms would make your eyes water. People trying on my clothes without prior consent, a stranger thinking it was acceptable to share my toothbrush, a dude cutting his toenails on my bed… the list goes on. Keep your weird habits for the bathroom.

Have you ever been subjected to hideous dorm behavior or…heaven forbid…been the cause of the distress? Share your stories below for public consolation/humiliation.
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Showing 9 Comments

  1. Laura

    I got told to ‘[expletive deleted] off’ by a girl in a dorm room in Noosa. To be fair, it was partly my own fault as I’d left my phone on because the alarm didn’t work on silent and I had to be up early for a bus so didn’t want to sleep through it. Cue a telemarketing company deciding to ring me at (in Australia) a stupid hour of the morning! I turned the phone off ASAP but was then promptly sworn at. Oh well, at least I was leaving a few hours later to spare my shame…

    984 days ago
  2. Jessica

    Had a brief stay in a hostel in Luxembourg – a grumpy and completely unsociable German ‘lady’ snored like a train for the full night. Had just managed to drift off when, at 6am, she climbed over our luggage to rip open the curtains and window, awakening everyone else in the room with both the light and sound. I could have forgiven the snoring but she just had to take the biscuit!

    980 days ago
  3. Michelle

    In Christchurch, NZ I loudly told a fornicating couple where to go when next to my bunk in an eight bed dorm. The next morning everyone told me they hadn’t heard the hanky panky, but in fact were woken up by my shouting and swearing at 4am. Sorry!!

    980 days ago
  4. l

    I was the unfortunate person on the bottom bunk when the person on top decided to come back to the dorm at 4am with a guy and start shagging above me. Ive tried wiping it from my memory but its permanently etched there to haunt me.

    980 days ago
  5. Nick

    I was woken up by a drunk 50+ year old man in a new york dorm when he decided to get up and have a wee in the corner of the room. Right next my head.

    The experience has made me a markedly worse human.

    980 days ago
  6. Anna Corbett

    If anything these comments have convinced us of the desperate need for posts like this….

    980 days ago
  7. Abi

    I was staying in Cairns and after a night out in an 8 bed form, woke up to find the weird boy in our room naked, with his boxers round his ankles and his laptop open…he had come back after a night out, started to watch porn and fallen asleep mid-masturbation….nice

    980 days ago
  8. Liz

    I’ve had some experiences, but not as funny as some of these! To survive you need ear plugs and a eye mask in any size dorms! Another necessity is a plug extension lead with 4/6 plugs in…. Saves everyone fighting over the minimal plugs in th room and let everyone share it! Def def have your bag packed the night before with clothes on top to jump out of bed and straight to th loo to change….nothing worse then hearing zips going and plastic bags rustling super early in the morning!! Be considerate!

    977 days ago
  9. Steve Murphy

    Staying at a hostel in Rio – Brasil, I awoke to find a big Dutch guy standing over me just staring. I jumped up and asked wtf! He went on to explain that he had seen my injection kit (I am diabetic) he thought it may be poison and that I was going to try and kill him!?! He said it was best that he kill me before I had the chance to kill him. I had to point out I was injecting myself with the ‘poison’ I didn’t sleep too well after that…

    975 days ago