I can laugh about these experiences now, and I’m sure that in another place at another time, these people were great people, but as dorm mates at that exact place at that precise time they were a nightmare! No less than 5 individuals who caused a night without any kind of sleep.  They make for great stories now, but back then they made for one tired blogger.

Granted scenarios like these are part and parcel of hostel life, I know what I’m signing up for each and every time I hand over my money in return for a bunk in a shared dorm, but sometimes I still get more than I bargained for.

Reading these, take them with a pinch of salt, as incidents like these are in the severe minority, if they weren’t I would have been done with hostels a long time ago.  The fact that I keep using hostels even now, is a testament to how good hostel life can be. I’ve had many more good nights in hostels than bad!


1. The Orchestra Conductor – Munch 2010

I love my Iphone to bits but sometimes I think the loudspeaker function might have been one of the worst inventions on the face of the earth.  Bad enough is hearing teenagers playing shit music at the back of every London bus across the city, but to have a middle aged man blaring a symphony from his Iphone at 3am whilst in a 10 bed dorm was too much.  Ear plugs were of no use, and seemingly nor was asking him to give it a rest.  No sooner had we asked him to turn it down a notch (off), then 5 minutes later it was blaring again.  He was determined!

On the bright side it was quite funny to see this individual conducting the song being played.  Arms swinging left and right as if a 32 piece orchestra were at his call.  We also decided to have a little dance, although I think that was more the result of sleep deprivation and delirium than actually enjoying the music.

As this took place in Munich, I can only assume Beer played a role.

2. The Urinator – Sydney 2007

When you gotta go, you gotta go, but at the same time when there’s a perfectly good gents toilet another 20 yards away, you have to wonder about the person taking a pee into a bin in the corner of your dorm room … and his aim wasn’t particularly accurate either.

Kudos for making it that far I guess.  I have heard horror stories of bottom bunkers getting an unwanted shower in the middle of the night, so I guess the bin was the lesser of two evils.  The toilet would have been the ideal though!

3. The Chronic Snorer – New Zealand 2008

I’ve been told I sometimes snore a bit, so apologies to anyone I have ever kept awake with my snoring.  It’s a little hypocritical of me to include a snorer considering that I can be one too, but this guy was next level!

So it was up in the Bay of Islands where my then girlfriend and I were to share a 4 bed dorm with another couple (or they were hooking up at least).  They told us as much that they were leaving one evening to go get hammered and have sex on the beach, so we left them to it and in a way appreciated that they were taking their business outside and leaving us with a room to ourselves.

Fast forward 6 hours or so and I am awoken by noises, the likes of which I had never heard come from another human being before.  When I was younger I used to be able to hear my uncle snoring from downstairs when he stayed over at Xmas, but I think this guy in our dorm room must have been heard on the south island.  Seriously, next level!

As you do, I lay there simply hoping and praying that he would roll over, but an hour later he was still going.  It got to a point where I decided I would have to wake him and so I clambered down from my top bunk to discover why no such rolling over could take place.  In short, the couple obviously had done the deed at some point (on the beach judging by the amount of sand they’d bought back with them) because they were both butt naked.  However in crawling into bed together, both on the bottom bunk, they seemed to have manoeuvred themselves into a position whereby he was on top of her, but they were both facing up.  How the girl was still breathing I do not know, but essentially she was in his way and stopping him from rolling over.  I tried in vain to wake either of them with a gentle and then not so gentle nudge, but they were both too hammered and in the end my then gf and I decided that sleeping in the common area would be a safer bet than staying where we were. Whatever that couple drunk was strong stuff!

Hostel common room

4. The top bunk vommiter – South Africa 2005

Booze, sometimes wonderful and other times not so wonderful.  This time it wasn’t beer as with our friend in Munich, but a mix of alcopops and what must have been either Tequilla, Sambuca, Black Sambuca, or a combination of all 3.  The stench was unbearable, and I don’t think I’ve ever got out of a bed quicker having heard and smelt what erupted from the last stomach and out of his mouth from that top bunk.

Sad to say, I knew the guy, in fact everyone in the room knew each other, so whilst it was far from cool, it was also kind hard to be too angry with the guy in question considering we’d all be out together the night before, he definitely was the liability of the group though!

5. The two that tangoed – Sydney 2007

I will never ever forget the hell hole of a hostel I paid £25 a night to stay in over Xmas 2007.  From the first minute it was a nightmare, walking in to find a drug dealer counting out their stash on my bunk in preparation for a new years day rave pill fest.  Come most evenings, he and his mates would come back still buzzing off whatever tab/pill they’d swallowed, switch on all the lights and declare room party … a party that no one else in the room wanted to be invited to.

Then there was the room itself, which can only be described as a prison cell. A narrow corridor of a room with only a small window at one end, it stank of wet towel above all else and was BOILING!  After many complaints and requests to move room, the hostel decided that a crappy little fan was the answer.  Of course, even the fan was broken and would repeatedly get stuck and make a loud clicking sound, when it should have been rotating 180 degrees.   Of course as the one closest to the fan I would be the one to wake first and give it a kick so that it started rotating again, but on my very last night the kick did nothing.  It did nothing because the noise I was hearing wasn’t the fan getting stuck, but the bunk a mere 3-4ft away from my face knocking against the wall.  As I became more conscious I could hear little moans of pleasure eeking out from behind a strategically placed (wet) towel.  I looked to the top bunk to see the guy assigned/commended to that bed willing his life away.

I’d met the girl briefly a few nights before, but counted all the other beds in the room full, so assumed she had bought back a guest.  As with the Snorer, I made a break for it.  It was my last night in that hostel and I was not prepared to sleep within touching distance of two other backpackers going at it.  Another night in another common room before high tailing it out of there at first light.

Nobody’s Perfect

So there they are, the 5 dorm mates I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but they are just 5 in hundreds that I’ve shared dorm rooms with.  Don’t give up on hostels, they’re great, and as per the above can provide some rather amusing stories.  They might come at the expense of a night or two’s sleep, but tell them to your friends and they will thank you for your sacrifice.  Also, lets not pretend we’re all perfect dorm mates either.  I’m sure I’ve done something(s) somewhere along the line to annoy some of my dorm mates, and chances are you have/will too.  We live and learn … and sometimes get to sleep.

If only all bunks were like this –> The Ultimate Bunk Bed