Firstly, the question “are mixed dorms appropriate for solo female travel?” is not a question I can answer for you directly, but one you should be using common sense and a bit of guidance to answer for yourself. The guidance part is where I come in. Even as a solo female traveller I am a huge fan of mixed dorms over female-only dorms, but I know it can be daunting for others who haven’t experienced it yet so here are my tips…
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Booking A Mixed Dorm
1. Would you feel more comfortable in a female-only dorm?
Not all hostels offer female-only dorms, but if you had the option would you prefer to be surrounded by women than sharing a room with guys? If so, seek out those hostels with female-only dorms, and perhaps even hostels that only allow female guests, such as the Hostelle in Amsterdam.
2. Would you be comfortable sleeping with men in the room?
Sometimes, there will be an even mix of girls & guys in a hostel mixed dorm, but on occasions it may turn out that you are the only girl in a room full of guys and so it’s a good idea to consider how comfortable you would feel if this was the case.
Common Sense Tips in Mixed Dorms
Before I list the following points I use to keep safe in mixed dorms, it should probably be said that I don’t tend to inspire a debate about how women shouldn’t have to dress or act differently to stay safe. I find it best to play safe when travelling alone abroad, and whether or not this is feminist enough of me I don’t really care.
1. Pack loose pyjamas – if you’re nervous about sharing with men, it’s best not to wear tight lacy pjs
2. Create a curtain – if you feel nervous whilst sleeping, hanging a sheet, scarf, or towel in front of your bunk can help aid the feeling of privacy
3. Change in the bathroom – I have shared with men who will happily walk around in their boxers, but I always change in the bathroom to avoid any accidental flashings that might be seen as an invitation
4. Trust your intuition – on occasion, you may get a bad vibe from certain people in the room. I have known girls to feel uncomfortable walking in to a 6-bed with 5 guys who are instantly chatting them up and are all friends competing in the flirting competition. Just walk away and ask reception for a different room – any hostel would be foolish to not make arrangements for you to feel more comfortable with your stay
5. Stick with smaller dorms – it’s the law of probability; a smaller dorm = fewer guys so I tend to stick with 4-6 bed dorms and avoid those 18 bed mixes
Why I Choose Mixed Dorms
Whether or not you decide to use female-only dorms, female-only hostels, or mixed dorms really is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I have always found that my intuition when it comes to meeting new guys is far better than meeting new girls, large groups of whom I sometimes find intimidating. With guys you usually know where you stand, and if you don’t like them they don’t really care and vice versa. All in all I find it a more relaxed environment.
Another big plus – girls do tend to take more time in the bathrooms, and guys can shower & shave in about 10 minutes! So if you’re looking to get the majority of the bathroom time, you’ll be more likely to do so in a mixed dorm!
I hope these tips help you feel safer in your travels – if you have any specific concerns make sure to let me know below and I will do my best to answer them!
Lots of love,