Monday, August 26, 2013

Sleep and Hostel Etiquette

Lately sleep has been on my mind more often than usual.
Mainly because I haven't been getting a full nights sleep for awhile now!
I've been caught up working two jobs and going back to school to takes some fun classes. Going to take the last Advanced Spanish class the college offers and finally going to take Mandarin Chinese! Been wanting to try to attempt the language for a few years now.
Anyway, with all this stress, working a lot, and the (very hot and humid) weather, it's all contributed to my insomnia, which I don't think I've ever had before. And I'm exhausted. I miss falling asleep early! :-)
And I got to thinking, with all the hostel stays I've had while traveling, there have been experiences where I had a hard time getting rest and relaxation after an adventurous day exploring a new city.
Normally my motto when it comes to sleep and travel is this: Sleep is for home! Life is short and I don't want to spend my traveling days sleeping! And since travel makes me the happiest, my body adjusts quickly and I get the most out of my trips.

Here are some of my thoughts and experiences.
A quick rest before New Years festivities in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica (December 2010).
Like most backpackers and solo travelers, you want to save money and make sure you are secure but have fun, make friends, and stay safe.
An option that most people like is to pick is a dorm with plenty of beds. One of the options I usually look at first when I travel. The dorm with the most beds = the cheapest option when staying at a hostel. You save money and chances are you'll make a new friend or two! But with this option, you do not have your privacy and you either like your roommates or not. I feel there should be rules in how you carry yourself AND realize you are not the only one in the room. And your actions should reflect that. I've been fortunate enough to have become really good friends with the majority of the travelers I've roomed with. Those relationships are the best because no one understands you better than another traveler. :-)
Definitely not a room to just put yourself first (minus safety-wise of course). You must think of others before any actions that you take. For one, if you need to leave the hostel at 5 in the morning, please please have everything ready and set the night before so you do not end up waking your roommates while rummaging through your belongings or turning on ALL the lights. -For the most part, I've only experienced this a few times, but those few times were not pleasant!
SNORING is a big one! I actually never stayed in a room with loud snorers until my most recent trip to Guatemala this past December/January. Every night there was a new buddy snoring! I understand it's not something you can really control and for the most part, all these guys snoring were actually sick, but IF you are sick, I think it's only fair to pick a room with less beds. I didn't get any sleep that whole trip*. Am I right or wrong? Let me know! Of course it's not in the rules when you book a room but common courtesy, right?
*I'll get into my sleep deprivation experience in my next post.
I don't need to get into any details about this - DO NOT STEAL FROM YOUR ROOMMATES. If you plan on staying in a 10-bed dorm, bring locks just in case the hostel does not provide lockers. I haven't come across this and I am so thankful! Let's all be good and honest travelers okay!!
I understand all humans have needs but after talking to many people I have met through the years on my adventures, they ALL agree that it is DEFINITELY NOT okay to bring a one-night-stand or multiple stands or multiple partners into a room with other travelers in there. It's wrong, not just because you have roommates but what about your morals and what it says about you! We want to think good of everyone. I'm not saying to not do this at all because that's no ones business but please just keep it in a single dorm!! Keep it private. And please protect yourselves. YOU SHOULD HEAR SOME OF THE STORIES I HAVE WITH EXPERIENCING THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR!
Oh and we can't forget about the partiers! You do realize you take the chance with your sleep by staying at a hostel but for the most part I'm fortunate that I've been able to sleep through everything minus the snoring! Just don't come into the room yelling and outta control! :)
 Returning to my hostel dorm at 5:30am in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was EXHAUSTED! And yes I returned as quiet as a mouse. (February 2009) I was never a party girl growing up but I did go out once just for my travel partner at the time, who did like to party. Buenos Aires does have an exceptional night life for those who are into going out all night.

 Did I forget something? What have you experienced in a hostel that made you feel uncomfortable or lose sleep over?