Avoiding the Heartbreak Hostel: 10 Simple Rules For Backpacking Lovin’ for Female Travellers

hostellove6Lets face it, it is hard to meet a good man these days. But what your local travel agent fails to tell you is that backpacker travel is not only a life-changing experience, but also a great way to meet potential suitors.

Hostels and backpacker bars actually have a long and sordid history of beginning beautiful, and not so beautiful, intra- and inter-nation relationships. If you ask around, it is likely that your parents or their friends have stories of meeting their husband on a Contiki tour, or at least of a Spanish sangria-loving mystery man they met travelling in India in the 70s. This continues today – the array of modern hostels and backpacker bars are perhaps the best places in the world to meet the opposite sex, being literally filled to the brim with young, friendly, like-minded men that are usually open to some hostel loving.

But what happens when the morning after involves the ten other (non-too-impressed) people in your dorm room? When the hook-up with a fellow member of your forty-day tour group goes horribly wrong? When you fall in love with someone from the other side of the world? Or when you wake up with an empty bed and a head full of regrets, a hangover, and herpes?

To help deal with or avoid these situations, we have compiled (from experience!) a list of “10 Simple Rules for Backpacking Lovin’ for the Female Traveller” which, whether you are looking for a fling or the real thing, we hope will ensure you return home in one piece and without a broken heart…

At the beginning

1. Know the nationalities.
hostellove1Only interested in one night of pure passion? Pursue a Spaniard or South American. In the mood for a drunken hook up? Try an Australian, Englishman, or American. Need some romance? Strike up a conversation with a Frenchman, Italian, or Belgian.

If you are interested in a more long term relationship try and stick with nationalities that are similar to yours. You can’t help who you fall in love with but the distance and difference between an Australian and a New Zealander is much smaller than between an Australian and a Czech. In saying that though, relationships between completely different nationalities can be the most interesting and rewarding experiences, so if you find yourself so enamoured by a fellow traveller that you would consider a permanent move halfway across the world to their country, then go for it.

>> And just to prove that this article is useful for more than just women, here’s some great advice for how to impress a French girl from our sister site, WhyGo Paris!

2. Think outside the square.
To make the most of your travelling, you need to be flexible, open, and receptive to new experiences. This includes attitudes towards guys. Throw away any preconceived notions of what you usually look for in a man at home and use the experience to try out someone new. Usually go for the sporty jock types? Chat to an American travel blogger who loves photography and discussing the meaning of life and travel instead, or flirt a little with the dreadlocked rasta hippy from Byron Bay. It will help you open your eyes to new opportunities when you return home as well.

3. Don’t confuse a love for tequila with true love.
Most of the hook ups you will experience backpacking will most likely be alcohol-fuelled, but don’t confuse a drunken encounter with actual feelings – try and consider things in the sober light of day. Let’s be honest – a large proportion of the male backpacker population are looking to hook in, and then move on. Fair enough if that is what you want as well, but don’t be under the impression that the plastered Irishman kissing you will necessarily want to tomorrow night.

4. Be safe.
The most serious tip in the bunch, and fairly self explanatory. Don’t drink too much, be extra careful going back to someone’s dorm/apartment/house that you just met, and try to let someone in your dorm know your plans for the next day so they will know if you don’t turn up. Attitudes towards sex also differ between cultures so stick to your guns and don’t be afraid to insist on using protection.

5. Be discreet.
hostellove3No-one in the dorm room wants to see you or hear you having gloriously loud sex with that hot South African guy from the other room. Nor do they want you to go for it in the hostel kitchen, the common room, the hallway, or any shared space whatsoever. Don’t think you can get away with it once, either – if you are on a popular backpacker route or ‘gringo trail’ (think Western Europe or South America in the summer) then you are bound to see these same people again and again (and again) throughout your journey. Be discreet and either pay for a private hostel room, or try a lockable shower or bathroom.

6. If you are on a tour, be picky.
No-one likes a package tour hussy. If you are a part of a 20-or-so package tour group don’t feel free to sleep around with every single member of the opposite sex. Choose one, or two if the first doesn’t work out, and stick with them for the rest of the trip. Or try to venture outside the tour group – as the saying goes, you shouldn’t shit where you eat.

When a fling turns into a thing

7. Spend more on a private room.
hostellove2This is a follow on from Rule Number 5. There is no doubt that the worst hostel dorm sex is the hostel dorm sex between a girlfriend and boyfriend who were too stingy to pay for a private room. Spend that extra few dollars between you (at least every few days when you want to be romantic), and both your other half and your fellow travellers will thank you for it.

8. Be ready to experience the best, and the worst, of your new love straight away.
There is truth to the belief that travelling with someone is the best way to get to know them. You will learn hard and fast everything there is to know – in less than three weeks of travelling with each other, I guarantee you will have seen them naked, heard them cry, argued with them, conversed with them about your bowel movements, been bored with them, had so many of those awkward silences that they aren’t awkward anymore, and learnt every boring little thing about them including how they broke their arm when they were five; things that in the real world takes months, or even years to discover (and sometimes for good reason). This is great if he ends up having a closet anger management problem. This is bad if either of you get freaked out or bored with each other too soon – which leads me to:

9. Schedule breaks apart if you decide to travel together for long periods of time.
Absence does make the heart grow fonder, and small individual trips to different places can help keep the relationship fresh and give you both something new to talk about on those long train rides. It will also give you a chance to take stock if things are going too fast, and imagine what life would be like without him if you have to go home.

And when it is time to go

10. Be ready to say goodbye.
hostellove4Sometimes love does conquer all, and love on the road can lead to love back at home. But sometimes distance conquers love, and unless one of you is prepared to move countries after all the travelling is over, then emails and memories may not be enough to sustain the relationship past a few months once you both get home.

So our best advice is to be ready to say goodbye – don’t drag out the inevitable so that you end on bad terms. With these days, technology such as Facebook, Skype, and the good old email means you can stay in touch for many years, and you may even end up living in the same city in the future. If not, at least you will always have those amazing memories of France in the summertime… And a fantastic story to tell your children when you need to prove you were not always old and boring.

This article was written for BootsnAll by Amy Heading

photos, top to bottom, by: GothamNurse, huipiiing, Orin Zebest, Orin Zebest, Ed Yourdon

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