This is an question you have to answer for yourself, as only you know what you’re comfortable with.
You should first map out your concerns. Are you comfortable changing in front of guys (or will you always need to change in the bathroom)? How do you feel about sharing that bathroom with them?
I’ve stayed in countless dorm rooms throughout my travels, including a handful where I was the only girl, and have never had a bad experience. There are some hostels that only have mixed dorms or all female dorm beds could be booked, so this is an important topic for female travelers.
Sharing Spaces with Guys
Let’s be honest. If you’ve ever lived with a guy, you know that it’s totally different than living with a girl. But whatever problems you’ve experienced with roommates can be said of either gender: messiness, snoring, being loud at night, doing inappropriate things while others are around, etc. Keep the odds in your favor by booking a smaller sized mixed dorm if possible. You sure won’t get any sleep in that 24 bed mixed dorm!
Keeping Different Hours
If your concern is that your dorm mates, male or female, will come in late at night drunk and loud, this is a reasonable concern, but also a possibility in all female dorms. We recommend checking out the reviews of your hostel in advance to see if it’s a “party hostel.” Look for red flags like “in-house bar,” “free shot with check-in,” and “pub crawl.”
If you get into your room and see that it’s all or mostly guys, don’t panic. Hostels are all about trust. The staff should be around most of the time should you run into any problems. But if your gut is telling you to switch rooms, ask the desk if there is another mixed dorm available where there are also females staying.
Items to Make Your Stay More Comfortable
- Sarong: Use a sarong to cover yourself while changing and to wear to and from the showers. You can also tuck it into your bottom bunk to use as a privacy curtain.
- Pajamas: I typically sleep in something more substantial than my t-shirt and undies when I’m in a mixed dorm in case I need to get up in the middle of the night.
- Eye mask and earplugs: If you are staying in a place where your roommates are likely to come in late at night, come prepared with sleep aids.
- Febreze: Keep the unsavory smells of dorm rooms under control with a room spray.
- Lock: You should travel with a lock at any hostel, not just when staying in a mixed dorm.
Alternatives to Mixed Dorms
Most of the time you can avoid mixed dorms altogether if you’re not comfortable with the idea. Look for smaller sized rooms, female dorms, private rooms or even apartment rentals. More and more hostels are turning towards female only rooms with amenities like free towels and hairdryers.
Among the recommended female-only hostels are:
- Cairns Girls Hostel in Cairns, Australia
- Anadin Female Hostel in Budapest, Hungary
- The Oasis in London, England
- Papaya Female Youth Hostel in Rome, Italy
If you want to keep the social atmosphere of co-ed hostels but have your own ladies-only room, check out the rooms at PLUS Hostels, Base, St. Christopher’s, Jazz or LubD.
Book Your Hostel: Search on Booking.com for your destination’s options.
Have you ever stayed in a mixed dorm? What was your experience?
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