I miss female dorms!

On my past travels in Australia, Europe and New Zealand I have pretty much always stayed in hostels and in dorm rooms since traveling alone, they are pretty much the only affordable way to travel. Hostels do take some getting used to and you do pump into some good ones, some not so good ones and some great ones along the way but if you do your research (a.k.a. read reviews and comments on Hostelworld or Hostelbookers and check the ratings), you usually have some idea where you’re booking yourself into.

When traveling alone besides just staying in hostels I also developed my own standards about staying in hostels: I always chose the smallest dorm room possible (4-6 beds are the best ones) and if possible, I always stayed at female dorms.  Smaller room size usually translates to less traffic through the door thus quieter nights and evenings and for me it is also easier to meet people in a smaller room (I’m not really that outgoing and find it hard to communicate and participate when the group gets too big). Female dorms on the other hand are convenient because you don’t have change clothes in the bathroom or otherwise be too concerned of flashing now and then or get too self-concious when hanging your nickers out to dry on your bed side.

Until now these little standards have worked for me tremendously well and I’ve mostly had great experiences in hostels. On this particular trip though (as we are traveling around the world with my fiancé) I haven’t been able to keep my standards up since now we are a couple traveling and it isn’t as easy to find space for two persons in the same small 4-6 bed dorm for two or more nights. And more than that, I’m not able to stay in a female dorm anymore, not when I also want to share the same room with my boyfriend.

This has been hard for me mostly for one big reason: the smell of sweaty feet. I don’t know an English word for that smell, maybe there isn’t one, but there is a very clear word for it in Finnish (“jalkahiki” which literately translates to “footsweat”) and I bloody hate that smell.

When you are traveling and walking wast distances in a day, sightseeing your heart our possibly in a hot environment and wear the same shoes day in and day out, of course your feet are going to get a little smelly. But the first commandment of all travelers should be: Wash your feet with plenty of soap each time you take a shower! And the second one: Don’t leave your used socks lying around in a hostel room!

I don’t know why this problem seems to be almost positively a guy problem. Sure, I’ve met some female travelers with smelly feet; sure my own feet smell from time to time too, but the thickeness of that distinct smell in a 8-bed dorm when 7 beds are occupied by guys is just overwhelming. I think I need to buy my own oxygen mask soon…

I miss female dorms.

by Mari in Thoughts and stories

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