First of all, I made it a challenge for myself to survive in that small, dirty room in Miami South Beach, Florida, USA, for a week. It was a good opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. Second, I was ready to protect myself. In the end I kind of liked it.
If you want to enjoy your holiday in South Beach, Miami or in another groovy place, and do not have the money, sharing room in a hostel really is a good option. It costs likes 26-50 dollars a day, while in at hotel you have to pay like 5-10 times as much to live near the beach and have some comfort.
I had to look up the word «bunkbed»
I haven’t shared a bunkbed since I was really young and slept in my family`s cottage up in the mountains in Norway. For the last ten years or so, I have found out I really need my privacy when travelling, and I hate sharing my room with a stranger.
This time, however, I was into trying something completely new. Hotels for easter in SoBe were way too expensive and I started to look at hostels. I ended up booking a bed in a mixed room with 6 bunkbeds in a really small hostel at the beach.
«I had to look up the word bunkbed, and sort of freaked out when I saw the meaning, but decided to go for it.»
Here is how I survived:
- I was polite and open minded. I met every new guy who bumped into my room in daytime or the middle of the night with a smile and made a small conversation and learnt why he came and what country he was from. The guys were mostly there for a musical festival and to hang out with friends. I said I was a teacher and freelance journalist, which gave some respect.
- I took care of my belongings. My Imac and iPhone and electrical devices were always with me when I left the room. I do not think anyone would steal from me, but it is good to feel safe, so it was mostly for my own sake.
- I went to the reception and said I wanted to change to the lower bed – next to the bathroom. There was a guy moving out that day from the bed I wanted. I insisted, and they said yes- just take it. Climbing down from my upper bunkbed in the dark at night, with guys sleeping everywhere around me, felt awkward. I kind of felt I deserved the lower one as I need to pee more than the young guys during the night and they are better climbers than me. From my low bed I could just tiptoe in silence to do my nightly errands. That was a relief.
- I regretted having such a big suitcase with me. I kept in in the corner, and it was not really room enough to open it: So I took the stuff from it that I needed every morning and kept it closed! Next time I share a small room, I will bring a much smaller bag – like the frenchman advised me: «Your bag is tooo big,» he said, smiling: His daughter was taking a language class at EF, and he needed a bed to sleep in for a few nights, thatś why he was in the room with me. He was nice, but what a pity I dont speak French – we could not communicate as much as I wanted.
- I sometimes said no. I am mostly friendly and positive, but I had to let down a guy from Algerie who bumped into the room in the middle of the night and said «you are beautiful – let´s do it!» At least I wanted to know his name first! Also I was tired from a party that night. The next day this guy came to me and apologized – he had been drinking, and he was not used to alcohol. He was sweet and I said no worries.
- I learnt how to close my eyes and not be bothered by all the underwear and dirty socks on the floor. Really it was no problem, because I thought it would be much more messy that it turned out to be. Also some of the guys were surprisingly tidy and clean. I also learnt not to feel uncomfortable whenever I took a shower in that small, filthy bathroom! Not everybody has a warm shower and a place to stay: When you stop being picky, you can get used to almost everything. I easily adapt and I have never been snobbish. The most important thing is to remember to bring your towel when you shower, so that you dont need to walk naked back to your bed. They might stare, you know, they are guys.
- I learned to be thankful for small, important things – like that the guys did not snore as much as I feared. Actually just 2 out of ten snored, and just a little bit. That comes on the + list. Also, none of the guys accused ME of snoring: One time a girl accused me of this, but she snored louder than everyone. These guys were polite.
Another + by sharing your room with guys instead of girls – and I am not joking here – is that they do not occupy the bathroom! Girls I have shared room with in holiday, can shower and take baths and do their makeup FOR EVER! It is awful if you are like me and have problems waiting when you really must pee. Not one single of these guys occupied the bathroom for more than 1-5 minutes. That was terrific. Also, they did not make any drama like girls sometimes do or kept someone outside. They just sat on their beds texting or chatting. In my second hostel, which had more quality than the first one, I was also asked to go out with guys to see Miami at night. I said no because I needed my beauty sleep: I was taking English classes from 9 am in the morning, and therefore had another routine than these party guys. It was actually good, because in the morning nobody were up so I had the bathroom for myself and when I came back from school they were all gone and I could have the room on my own. So having your own routine helps a lot when sharing room.
- Because I was the only girl in the room, I was sort of being taken care of, so it had some benefits. Some of them said they would be quiet when they came late home from parties, some said I could go out with them if I wanted company and more than one gave me a good laugh; like the one mentioning living in our small, crowded room with bunkbeds and name tagged beds felt a lot like being in prison. Young guys can be really funny. Some offered me beer and champagne. Girls sharing room in that hostel said COOL when they heard I was sharing with only guys: «One said; I wish my mom was more like you, you are fun and like music and parties, she dont.»
- I did end up in a small argument with one younger guy, that was because he insisted on kissing me inside the room and pretended I did not exist outside the room. That was rude and I told him. I am patient, but I have some temper sometimes. Also a small drama appeared when I said no to an older man of 72 who wanted to invite me as a date to his son´s formal drinks before the wedding the next day. That felt too private. Me turning him down, made him kind of grumpy. These to smaller incidents have not scared me off – and I would gladly share with guys again.
- Ps: Thinking of signing up for a mixed room? Just know there will normally only be guys there. Most hostels offer rooms for girls only – that might be better if this story scared you off. On the other hand – if you want to meet guys on your holiday, do like me – you don´t have to search for guys anywhere, they are actually there, in your room. And next time you consider complaining about your hotel room – think twice: Most people on earth can only afford a bunkbed when travelling. 😉