I'm a huge fan of staying in hostels when I travel, but if there was one thing I could avoid from the experience it would be the hostel bathrooms. If you're staying in a dorm room with a shared bathroom, they can be particularly bad -- eight people fighting for the shower and having one or two a day -- that's a lot of backpackers washing their grime off in the same place as you.
Sadly, hostel bathrooms are a necessary evil when it comes to traveling on a budget.
Here's how to survive them.
Wear Flip-Flops in the Shower
Showers can be really disgusting in hostels, and catching foot fungus is common. You don't want to be treading all over the floor of the shower when you don't know who's been doing the same before you. Make sure you take your flip flops into the shower with you, and wear them while you're in there. Your feet with thank you.
Shower Quickly and Have Patience
Peak shower times in hostels include 8-10am and 6-8pm. If you're going to be showering at these times, you'll want to make it as quick as possible to avoid angering your dormmates. If you're a fan of long, hot showers, wait until off-peak times. You won't make any friends if you use up all the hot water, either.
Likewise, if everyone in your dorm wants to take a shower at the same time as you, have patience. You can't expect to be able to shower whenever you like when you have several other people to think about.
Take Your Towel and Clothes in There With You
It sounds like common sense but you'll be surprised at how many people aren't used to sharing a shower and accidentally forget to take their towel and clothes into the bathroom with them. I've done it several times! And as fun as it is to have to call out for someone to fetch your things for you, or try to dry yourself with toilet paper, it's best to take everything you need in there with you.
Don't Leave Your Things in There After You Leave
Just like you shouldn't forget to take your things in with you, you shouldn't forget to take them out either. Budget travelers stay in hostels and they're always looking for ways to save money. Leave your shampoo or shower gel in the bathroom one morning, and it'll be used up by the evening. Keep an eye on your stuff and don't leave it where other people can use it.
Note: We believe hostels to be very safe places and things of any real value are rarely stolen.
Buy a Hanging Toiletries Bag
A hanging bag for your travel toiletries can be incredibly helpful when using hostel bathrooms. It keeps your things all in one place to stop you from leaving anything behind, it keeps everything dry because you don't have to put anything on the floor, and it keeps everything organized in your backpack. As a bonus, you can also use the hook of the bag to keep your clothes and towel from touching the floor, too.