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Hello to all the wonderful people who have decided to take the time to read this super informative article about staying in female-only hostels and dorms. I am sure you will pick up some useful information, whether you’re a first-time traveler or a veteran explorer.
We will also answer common questions like “are hostels safe for solo female travelers?“.
Before diving into the details of traveling as a woman, I want to make a little sidebar and encourage any and all of you to go ahead and travel, even if you’re doing it solo.
Though it may sound daunting and overwhelming, traveling solo as a woman is one of the most wonderful and empowering experiences I have ever had.
I have traveled alone all throughout Europe and around Morocco and have met women who traveled alone throughout Latin America and Middle Eastern countries without any horror stories to share; you just have to be smart about it!
Lucky for you, I’m here to give you some super useful tips on how to do so. If you want to dive more into the details of how to travel solo as a female traveler, go ahead and check out this article (hostels for women article).
This article about female hostels and dorms is part of our Guide to Hostels.
In our guide to hostels, we cover all hostel-related topics and questions you may have. We dedicated a full article as well to showcase the different hostel room types. We even wrote a detailed guide on the pros and cons of female-only dorms here.
Hostels for Women: Female-only dorms
Okay, so let’s get down to business: let’s talk about hostels for women!
First off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with opting to stay in a female-only dorm or even a female-only hostel. It can be pretty intimidating stepping into a 12 or even 16-bed dorm room filled with strangers, especially when the majority of them might be men who don’t even speak the same language as you.
Read: the 7 different types of Hostels.
If you’re a newbie just stepping into the world of hostels, and you don’t feel comfortable around the male population in general, or if you prefer the company of women, or simply feel calmer with the idea of not sharing a sleeping space with guys, a females-only dorm/hostel is absolutely the way to go!
We wrote a big guide on the best hostels for female solo-traveler in London.
Obviously, this absolutely doesn’t mean you won’t have the opportunity to make male friends on your travels as hostels have plenty of common areas to socialize in.
Read: 18 hostel rules and hostel etiquette to build lifelong friendships.
Are hostels safe for solo female travelers?
Hostels can be a safe and enjoyable option for solo female travelers to meet new people and make friends. However, it’s important to exercise caution when interacting with strangers and never feel pressured into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. Trusting your instincts is crucial in ensuring a positive experience while staying in hostels.
Pros of staying in female-only dorms
Let’s dive into the perks of staying in a female-only hostel.
1. Personal Comfort
The most obvious thing that comes to mind is comfort. If you’ve ever found yourself in the situation of being the only girl staying in a mixed dorm room, you know how intimidating it can feel when you first walk in or need to change your clothes.
Although we are living in the 21st century, being a woman surrounded by eleven men you don’t know while sleeping is still not the most comfortable setting, and it is totally understandable if you want to avoid even being in that situation.
Although not all women are super open and welcoming, it simply feels a lot less overwhelming walking into a dorm room where there are only other women because the potential threat risk is way lower.
So comfort and peace of mind shouldn’t be overlooked when deciding where you will sleep and recover from your adventure-filled days out and about.
Alternative: you could even opt for private rooms! we have a guide on this, Hostel Room Types – What are the Differences? From Dorms to Luxury Private Rooms.
2. Body comfort: changing clothe
Another thing to mention in terms of comfort is the topic of changing clothes–I’ve nearly perfected my ability to change my clothes under the sheets or a sarong, but it’s hard to argue against the comfort of being able to change freely because you’re surrounded by other women.
While staying in mixed dorms, I often opted to wait for the bathroom or shower to free up so that I could peacefully change my outfit.
Usually, this didn’t take long; depending on the hostel, number of showers/bathrooms, and time of day, you could spend a decent chunk of time waiting. The perk of a female-only dorm is that the probability of someone staring at you with intensity while you change is very low.
Another cool thing is that if you’re used to sleeping in your undies or the hostel is super hot, you don’t have to be quite so choosy or modest about what you sleep in.
3. Flirting and Rejection Repercussions
Up next is the uncomfortable situation of having somebody in your dorm room trying to hit on you. Imagine rejecting somebody and then having to spend the next week sleeping right next to them…awkward!
Hopefully, you haven’t had such an experience, but I do remember some gentlemen becoming a bit aggressive or pushy when I said no, and feeling a huge wave of relief when I was able to walk away and not have to deal with that situation anymore.
If this happens in a mixed dorm and the man in question is your roommate, walking away isn’t really an option. Some hostels are really great in this area, and if you talk to the staff, they can try to move you into another room, but this depends on the availability of free beds and the size of the hostel.
A great way to avoid this happening is to simply stay in a female-only room. Even if you have a roommate who is into you, women generally have a much better reputation for taking rejection calmly (sorry, guys! I know it’s the loud few who give you that unsavory reputation and acknowledge that most of you are awesome!)
4. Noise-pocalypse and alcohol
Additionally, something worth mentioning is that women tend to be a lot less aggressive and generally annoying. When we’re drunk, we can have our fair share of loud expressions of love to everyone (US Americans especially, I can vouch as one myself) or randomly burst into tears, but we tend to generally be a lot less destructive and generally obtrusive under the influence.
So you are less likely to be woken up by someone barging into the room, reeking of booze, and bumping into everything and everyone on her way to the bed.
If you’re not a fan of this type of environment, make sure not to accidentally stay at a party hostel.
Something that happens almost daily at hostels but isn’t really talked about all that often is….drumroll please…..sex! When traveling and staying in hostels, you gotta get pretty creative in order to satisfy your needs. While showers, bathrooms, terraces, and common areas are popular spots to rendezvous, sometimes people are too drunk, lazy, or all the good spots have been taken.
Read: sex in hostels, including 4 do and don’ts and hilarious real-life stories.
This means only one thing: you either part ways, unsatisfied, not the most popular of choices, or you give up your modesty and social ethics for the night and just go for it in your dorm room. Those of us who have stayed in mixed dorms a lot can probably all share a story or two of this happening to us.
One time a friend of mine was even woken up by a guy grabbing her hand by accident during the act, thinking it was the hand of his partner. While it’s not the end of the world, it can get uncomfortable or even just annoying, having to listen to the drunken grunts of two strangers while knowing you have to wake up at six am to catch an early bus.
If the dorm or hostel is for women only, the possibility of this happening is obviously still there but generally lower.
6. Cleanliness: Dirty Laundry and Questionable Hygiene Habits
A stereotype about women is that we are cleaner and neater, which I can enthusiastically agree and disagree with. Although this generalization does hold true for some women, I have personally lived with others who boldly defy the rule. So, don’t assume that just because you stay in a female-only dorm, it will be squeaky clean!
Something that is true, though, is that most hostels geared towards female travelers will know that women have a huge eye for detail and will absolutely try to play this up.
7. Decor and Amenities Roulette
Many female-only dorm rooms already take this into account (most girls’ eye for detail), including commodities such as hairdryers and more thoughtful decor, as well as some hostels that even throw in nicer towels or small toiletries as an extra touch.
Sometimes the hostels will also make an effort to keep the number of people per room smaller, as you’re paying a little extra per night in order to stay there- I have yet to encounter female-only rooms for twelve or sixteen people. Another thought to consider is that if your room/hostel is women-only, you may spend much longer waiting for the shower and have to put up with hair covering everything.
That said, you may want to pay extra attention to any comments about hot water when selecting a hostel, especially in a colder country. I remember multiple miserable evenings in Morocco during Christmas break when I had to choose between a freezing shower or being dirty and stinky… I’m not proud to say that avoiding a cold shower won out more often than not.
8. Snoring Olympics: Escaping the Symphony of Nocturnal Noises
While women may or may not be the cleanest, we are definitely generally quieter when it comes to sleeping noises! The number of times I have laid awake, tortured by the symphony of 60+ year-old men snoring in a stupor of drunken oblivion, as I run through a loop of just how many hours I can still squeeze in before my super full day ahead is endless.
While women are also guilty of snoring, I have yet to hear any woman snore so loudly that it feels like the entire room is shaking.
9. Granting Your Precious Nostrils a Break from Dormitory Aroma
On top of being less noisy, women as also far less stinky, thanks to our superior sense of smell (it’s scientifically proven people!).
Because we’re more sensitive to smell, we’re also generally a lot more conscious of when we ourselves are stinky, so your nostrils can rest easy with the knowledge that a female-only room will be much more favorable to both your ears and nose!
Cons of staying in a Female-Only Dorm
Okay, people, let’s be diplomatic. We’ve talked about the pros, so it’s only fair to mention some cons.
1. Missing Out on Half the Population’s Quirks and Conversations
Something I really love about mixed dorms is the opportunity to early connect with people – staying in the same room makes it easy to become friends. By staying in a mixed dorm or hostel, you definitely have more easy access to all kinds of people of both genders.
Staying in a female-only dorm or hostel does mean you’re automatically limiting the people you can connect with. That said, meeting people while traveling (or in the common areas) is super easy, especially if you’re outgoing and willing to strike up a conversation with strangers.
2. Comfort at a Cost
Another con is the price difference. While it’s only a couple of euros extra per night if you’re traveling for longer and are on a budget, this can add up. That said, I am a firm believer that your comfort and well-being should be the main priority in life; traveling is no exception.
So, if you’re anxious and think that staying in a female-only dorm/hostel will greatly improve your overall experience of traveling, maybe cut your trip short by a day or two and make sure your accommodation is the least stressful and taxing as possible, as you will definitely need a place to relax, unwind, and recharge in before the following day of fun-filled exploring.
To wrap up, if you opt to stay in a female-only room/hostel, there are a lot of commodities and comforts that come with it. You can sleep better and more calmly because there are fewer risky situations you could encounter; you can easily change and sleep however you feel comfortable and maybe even enjoy some extra comforts in the form of longer towels and hairdryers!
Female-only dorms and hostels are becoming more common and easier to come by and are truly a great way to ease into the world of traveling and feel more secure as a woman out on her own!
How to search for female-only dorms in hostels
I want to mention that on Hostelz, you can search the dates of your trip and actually filter the results only to show female-only dorms; this is something that I’ve found super convenient and a huge time saver.
Read: Our best hostels for female solo-travelers.
Sleeping in a mixed dorm as a woman
For those brave souls out there who opt for a mixed form- I salute you! After my first big trip with a friend who preferred to only stay in female dorms, I started to travel alone and chose to stay in mixed dorms.
My reasoning for this includes the following points: I like the variety, it’s cheaper, your comfort zone gets pushed, and you have more interesting experiences. As intimidating as it is to walk into a room full of strangers you’ll be sleeping in the same space with, I’ve yet to feel a sense of dread or fear just because there are unknown men sleeping in the same room as me.
First off, you’re surrounded by people who are, for the most part, good souls. This means that if something goes wrong and you speak out or protest, 99% of the time, somebody will step in to stop whatever is happening. Humans are kind and helpful and rarely are okay with standing by when something wrong is happening in front of them. Safety in numbers!
A couple of safety tips for staying in a mixed dorm as a woman
Read: Travel insurance is essential for all travelers who want to stay healthy and safe abroad. HeyMondo and SafeyWing are two travel insurance companies we recommend 39 Simple and Effective Travel Safety Tips
Get your Travel Insurance ready
Better safe than sorry! Make sure you get your travel insurance sorted out before hitting the road. This is essential and cheaper than you might think.
1. Opt for rooms with more beds
I often choose rooms with more beds rather than fewer ones because there is a higher chance of nobody messing with me as they know somebody will intervene. I once deviated from this rule and ended up in a 4-bed room with 3 guys who were all traveling together.
While nothing bad happened, it definitely caused me a bit of anxiety. The downside of bigger rooms is obviously the potential for snorers.
Read: How safe are hostels? 13 tips to stay safe when staying in Hostels
2. Don’t shy away from asking for help
Next up, all hostels have staff members and/or volunteers who often sleep in the hostel as well as work there. I recommend picking a hostel with 24hr reception to make sure somebody is always around to talk to in case you feel uncomfortable.
You can also make sure to ask about which room the volunteers are staying in to get that extra feeling of safety, knowing you can go get some support or help even in the middle of the night. If you’re uncomfortable with somebody in your room, don’t hesitate to tell somebody or ask to switch rooms- you’re not being a nuisance- the hostel and staff want you to have a pleasant stay and come back to give them a chance to help and take care of you!
And don’t worry about offending somebody- if they’re making you feel uncomfortable, your sense of safety and well-being should always come first! Alternatively, you could also ask them for travel tips.
3. Buddy system
Another thing you can do is simply ask another person sharing the room with you to be your buddy for the duration of your stay and check in with you or step in if somebody starts being creepy-trust me, most people will be honored by your trust, and willingness to be honest about your concerns rather than annoyed.
I’ve walked up to strangers in the past while traveling solo with the phrase, “Hey, I’m traveling alone and really don’t want to spend the day/ evening solo. Could I join you for the day?”
Travelers are generally really kind and open people, and can all relate to the feeling of being alone, lonely, or intimidated, so use this as an opportunity to practice asking for help! It’s a skill that always comes in handy anyway.
4. Opt for beds with partitions
Something else worth mentioning is that some hostels have curtains around each bed, which provides a sense of privacy and definitely gives you a chance to disconnect and feel like you have your own space.
5. Be confident or try to fake it with body language
A general piece of advice is to always carry yourself with confidence and pride, even if you feel scared or intimidated. People can smell fear and insecurity, so hold your head high, act assertively, and fake it til you make it!
Creeps are ten times less likely to pick on you if they feel a sense of confidence coming off of you. In order to nurture my own confidence, I took some self-defense lessons, which not only left me feeling stronger and more capable but took away my fear of what-ifs because I knew I could handle whatever came my way.
The best way to get over your fears and concerns is to make sure you have the necessary tools to face whatever those challenges may be, so be proactive and do whatever it takes to feel more comfortable!
Do what works best for you
I really encourage you to push yourself and try staying in a mixed dorm.
It’s a lot less scary than you think, and it’s a great way to connect with people and yourself and start seeing the world as more welcoming and friendly. At the end of the day, we are all just people trying to enjoy life, so don’t assume everyone is out to get you- the people who want to harm you are heavily outnumbered by kind souls who would do anything to help you feel supported and comfortable!
I recommend checking out our solo female travel article to get some more tips and tricks and checking out some online Facebook groups and forums of women who travel alone and also visit “dangerous” countries. Their stories are filled with experiences with the most wonderful, hospitable, and thoughtful people they’ve ever met. Humanity can surprise you, but you need to be willing to open up a space for that to happen.
Also, with the hostelworld app and its new social feature, it is easy to get first-hand information. You can even connect now with other travelers staying in your hostel beforehand. All through the app.
Read: The New Hostelworld App in Review – sharing the best features
I’ve decided to wrap this article up by saying that whether you travel alone or with friends, stay in mixed dorms or female-only dorms, volunteer, or stay in hotels, keep on doing you and never let fear of discomfort stand in the way of following your dreams. And with that super cheesy ending, go out and explore!
Here we share with you the most asked question:
What are safe hostels for solo female travelers in India?
We have a full guide on best hostels in India. From this guide, here are the best hostels we recommend for solo female travelers:
Elements Hostel, Alt Life Hostel in Dharamkot, Beehive Commune in Hyderabad, Zostel Kodanikanal, Hostel Mantra, Micasa, Moustache Hostel.
Are Hostels safe for Solo Female Travellers?
Before booking a hostel, make sure to do your research and consider the location. While most hostels provide a safe environment for solo female travelers, some areas may be more prone to crime.
That being said, the community spirit in hostels makes them safer than hotels and staying in a hostel can be more enjoyable than a hotel room. Keep in mind that theft does happen occasionally, so take necessary precautions. Alternatively, you can use Hostelgeeks to pick hostels out and save you the hassle of research!
What is the best hostel in London for female solo travelers?
The best hostels in London for female solo travelers is Onefam Notting Hill by Hostel One.
What are the best hostels in Europe for solo female travelers?
One of our favorite hostel for female solo travelers in Europe is Maverick City Lodge.
Hostel Packing List
Okay, now you have the perfect guide and know what room type to pick.
Make sure you always pick a quality hostel. It totally reduces the things you need to pack.
Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you need to pack.
What’s next? More useful info for you:
- Hostel Packing List – 23 items you have to pack
- ultimate list of +105 design hostels
- +22 cool hostel videos to just click and watch.
- Hostels from A to Z – a fun guide to all you need to know
- Best Female Hostels in London
- Tips for Traveling Alone as a Woman
- Best Hostels for Solo Female Travelers in Europe
The Hostelgeeks team