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Diarrhoea and Sickness aren’t nice any of the time but the fact is, when you travel you’re likely to get it, especially in Asian, African and South & Central American Countries. It’s never nice but what can make it even more unpleasant is when you’re in staying in a hostel and in a dorm room with travellers diarrhoea and sickness.
I say this because I have experienced this a few times whilst travelling and especially more recently around India. I know that it can be a horrible and awkward feeling, especially if you’re travelling solo and don’t know anyone in the hostel and therefore don’t have a friend to talk to and help.But I haven’t let it spoil my time so I wanted to share with you some tips and ways that you can deal with travelers diarrhoea and sickness in the best way possible whilst staying in a hostel and dorm room.
Note: I guess you’re reading this because you have a bad tummy right now. I’m not a trained expert but Emily from Along Dusty Roads is and she has written this great post on how to deal with travellers diarrhoea.
1- Get a Private Room.
This is the obvious best tip for travellers diarrhoea when staying in a hostel. I know this may not be an option but I’m putting it as number one just in case because having your own room and therefore own bathroom makes a world of difference.
Sometimes you may not be able to afford a private room whether that’s in the hostel or in a hotel or guesthouse nearby. Sometimes you may have booked a dorm room in advance and paid for it or it’s non-fundable, or perhaps you do not want to be on your own and would rather be in a dorm and hostel atmosphere with other people, despite the circumstances.
If you’d rather stay in a hostel dorm or have no other choice, that’s ok, the below tips will help but if you feel you can’t move rooms because you have paid for a few nights already or your rate is non-fundable, I would strongly recommend speaking to your accommodation in person if you’re there or via email or phone if you’re not and explaining your situation. If you tell them you have travellers diarrhoea and are very sick and need to book into a private room instead I’m sure most of the time they will be able to refund you your money back. People are very nice and usually willing to help, especially in this situation.
2- Assess Where All of the Toilets Are in the Hostel.
If you’re in a dormitory room then you may have an ensuite bathroom but that’s for all members of your room as well, if not you’ll have a shared bathroom near by for even more people. Either way I suggest assessing where all of the toilets are in the hostel, normally there are public toilets near reception and on different floors if it’s a big building as well as the ensuite bathroom in your room if you have one. This is important because if you need to go and someone is in the bathroom.. you’ll need to know of some alternative bathrooms.
Plus, it feels awkward being the one in the bathroom for a long time if you’re in an ensuite bathroom and others need to use it. You may find a separate public toilet elsewhere that is less in demand where you can take your time a bit more.
3- Buy Your Own Toilet Roll.
If you’re in a Country where Toilet Roll is not always the norm (aka most of Asia) and the hostel can’t keep on top of refilling it, do yourself a favour and buy a few rolls from a shop nearby and keep them with you, it’s just one less thing to worry about.
4- Tell Other People.
It’s a known thing that talking about bowel movements with people you have just met when travelling is totally acceptable. Now you don’t need to go shouting about it but if you check into your room and start speaking to your fellow dorm mates, be honest and tell them you’re not feeling great. This will help for a few reasons:
One- Someone may have some advice for you that you hadn’t thought about, like reminding you to take some electrolytes.
Two- When you’re in the bathroom for an extra long time, they will have more sympathy for you and not be moaning about it. Or when you’re trying to sleep during the day in bed they will be more aware of being quiet because they know you are ill.
Three- People are generally very nice and on many occasions I have had other travellers offer to go out and buy me water or supplies if needed and I have said the same to them. This is a huge relief and help when travelling solo especially because it can feel very isolating and hard work if you’re ill on your own with only yourself to rely on yourself to buy water, food and medical supplies. This point is usually when the home sickness comes in.
5- Ask for Help.
Following on from the note above, never be shy about asking for help from the staff when you’re staying or from fellow travellers in your room or who you see in the social areas. Most people have been in your situation at some point and in a hostel it’s the staffs job to help ensure you’re ok and help you out.
If you need someone to get you a bottle of water, some snacks or some medicine for diarrhoea and sickness then just ask, you’ll be surprised how many people will be willing to help. And of course, always return the favour when it’s someone else that is ill.
6- Take it Easy and Don’t be Afraid of Being the Person who Stays in Bed All Day.
When we travel we try to do so much and so many people who stay in hostels are social butterflies trying to see everything in the place they’re in, chat to everyone and do all of the activities but the best way to deal with travellers diarrhoea when in a hostel is to chill.
If it’s a good hostel with some seating areas to read, take advantage of this, if not stay in bed all day, there’s nothing wrong with this. We would do this at home and just because you aren’t at home and you are in a room with people coming in and out it’s still ok to be the one who stays in bed.
7- Let it Pass Through.
Most of the time when we get travellers diarrhoea the bacteria needs to pass through us and stopping that will not help. Sometimes we need to take diarrhoea relief tablets like Immodium to stop it if we’re on a journey or day trip but when you’re in the hostel and just chilling do not take these tablets to stop it, it needs to pass through you, unfortunately.
If it’s been a few days, you may need antibiotics so be sure to look into this too rather than battling on without anything as I have done in the past.
8- Don’t be Embarrassed.
As I said, bowel movements and sickness are a common topic between backpackers, especially in hostels because we’ve all been there or know someone who has. If you need extra time in the bathroom, take it, if you need to stay close to the bathroom, do, if you need a day in bed, have it.
Don’t be embarrassed about having travelers diarrhoea because although it’s horrible and we wish it wasn’t normal, it is!
I hope this helps give you some tips and reassures you on your situation. Get better soon!
Whilst you’re here if you want some more hostel and dorm room advice, check out these posts: