Depending on the hostel you are staying in, and the standard of facilities available, showering in a hostel can actually be a little more difficult that it seems. Back at home, you don’t have to queue for a cubicle, you can leave all you shampoo etc in the shower, the bathroom will usually be close to your bedroom, and you won’t have fluctuating temperatures as you shower (a common problem in many backpacker hostels). There’s no such thing as a bath (only showers usually), and if you’re staying in a mixed room, i.e. guys, and girls, then you may feel more comfortable getting changed in the bathroom, but not have much room to do so. None of these are major problems, but they can be a nuisance sometimes. I therefore thought it would be useful to give you my top tips for avoiding these problems based on the many experiences I have had with hostel showers!
Avoid the morning queues!
Unless you have a particular reason for having to get up early, e.g. you’re checking out, or you have a trip booked, then the best way to avoid the queue’s for the bathroom is to simply lie in! In most hostels, check out time is around 10am. Unless someone has an early flight to catch, most backpackers aim to check out round about this time so as not to have to get up really early in the morning. This means from around 7.30am – right up until about 9.45, you’ll probably find the showers, and bathroom area in general is packed at this time. You may have to wait on a cubicle, or squeeze up at the sink to plug your hair dryer in, or look in the mirror to do your hair. If you don’t have to get up before 9.45 then lie in, or go for breakfast first in your Jim Jams! You’ll find you get a lot more peace, and can take your time without feeling rushed, or having to wait about on a cubicle.
Don’t accept cold showers
Far too many hostels it seems do not get their plumbing fixed on a regular basis, as it’s a common problem for many of them to have showers with fluctuating temperatures, or some that are dam right freezing! It’s got to the point where some hostels actually advertise on hostel booking sites that they have “hot showers”, because there are so many which don’t have that basic facility. To me, having hot showers should not be like an added extra, it should be a minimum standard. If you’re staying at a hostel which has showers with unacceptable temperatures, then complain about it! Don’t be shy. I’m not talking about the odd dip from hot to cold, I mean showers which are either freezing cold, or go from hot to cold constantly. Unfortunately, so many hostels seem to have this problem, and the only instances where they actually got round to fixing it was when enough people complained. Eventually staff get bored of hearing people complain, and actually get round to getting it fixed. If they don’t seen interested in fixing the problem then move somewhere else – there are plenty of hostels who do have good showering facilities, and you are paying for a service after all.
Get a waterproof toiletries bag
One thing that I find really useful for using hostel showers is having a little waterproof toiletries bag which can carry all the toiletries I may need for the shower, e.g. shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, ladies razor, shaving gel, etc. The smaller the bag you take the easier it is to hang up somewhere, and if you have travel sized bottles of everything you should be able to fit everything you need into a little bag which can just be hung up in the shower, or placed somewhere. If you’re on a long trip, and it’s not as cost effective to keep buying travel sized shampoo etc, then keep the little empty bottles once your done, and buy big value sized bottles which you then fill the up with. The big bottles can stay in your locker or bag, and the wee bottles can just be filled up and taken in with you, but overall it will cost you less. I find the benefits of the waterproof toiletries/shower bag is also that if everything fits into the bag, it just makes things a lot easier for carting your stuff in-between the showers and your room, which may or may not be that close to one another depending on where your room is situated and the hostel you are staying in.
Don’t bring soap!
This is just a quick tip, but don’t bring soap…bring shower gel instead. Soap, after it’s been used once, goes a bit grotty in your bag or soap container. Shower gel is much easier because it’s in liquid form, and therefore in a bottle.
Showering in a hostel is a different experience to back home. There are lots of people sharing the same facilities, you have cubicles rather than a whole bathroom to get changed, and simple things like you have to take your toiletries with you from the shower once you’re done (or someone else will use/take them!). None of these are major problems, but the above tips will help to make the process easier.