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Guide to Sex and Hooking Up While Traveling Europe

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Let’s be honest… sex and hooking up while traveling around Europe is a major part of the “European experience.”

It shouldn’t be surprising — what do you think is going to happen when you take a bunch of twentysomethings and put them in the world’s most romantic and mysterious cities. Then add alcohol. And accents. And a sense of freedom you don’t get back home. It’s a recipe for some exciting times to say the least.

There are actually scientific studies that say backpackers tend to be especially promiscuous, and that sexual activities while traveling are seen as “unconventional and adventurous” and “comprise an integral part of the adventurous ethos of the backpacking experience.” — but anyone who has traveled for more than a week or two could have told you that.

This guide will cover everything from the culture of hooking up while traveling to the fine art of hostel sex.

The Lowdown and Dirty on Hostel Sex

Let’s start with hostels.

If you’re traveling on a budget then there is a good chance you’ll be staying in a hostel — which is great because it’s a super easy way to meet fellow travelers.

However, there is one problem about hostel sex… lack of privacy. The following tips will help you navigate these tricky waters:

Get Your Own Room

Get a private room and then go crazy.
Get a private room and then go crazy.

The most obvious answer is to suck it up and pay for a private room. It sucks because private rooms in hostels are relatively expensive but it’s the best way to ensure privacy. If you show up to the front desk at 1am asking for a private room the worker will probably cut you a deal anyways. But what if you’re too broke to get a private room? Keep reading…

Head To The Showers

The showers are usually a good place to go for sexy time because they offer relative privacy. However, not all hostel showers are created equal. Some are private with locking doors but some are less-private communal stalls. Either way, if you’re going to hook up in the showers don’t do it in the morning when people are trying to take a shower.

May Try The Laundry Room

If the hostel has a laundry room there is a good chance it will be pretty quiet at night (because who wants to spend their nights doing laundry?). Best of all, you can do your laundry at the same time!

The Roof Might Work Too

Some hostels have room access that many people may not know about. Although, make sure there isn’t an alarm on the door. And, do be safe because the roof may not have a ledge so it’d be embarrassing if you fell off the roof.

Choose a Large Room

I’ve stayed in 40-person rooms and I’ve stayed in 4-person rooms. Trust me, you can’t hide anything in a small room but large rooms are usually loud enough that you might be able to make it work without disturbing others.

Seek Out Janitor Closets

Hostel workers do most of their cleaning late in the morning so broom closets don’t get much use late at night — although hooking up next to a mop might not be the most romantic situation.

Avoid The Common Areas

The kitchen and common room aren’t very good spots to hook up. I know the couches in the common room might seem like the ideal spot but there are people coming and going from these places at all times of the day. And the kitchen isn’t a great spot because I eat there.

Avoid The Top Bunk

If you insist of going at it in the room then it’s best to avoid the top bunk. Not only will you probably traumatize the person under you, you’ll also wake up the entire room since the top bunk is always the most squeaky.

Try For Mid-Day or Late-ish Evening

Most people are out of the hostel during the mid-day — but this is when a lot of hostels are getting cleaned. After dinner can also be a good time since most people are out and won’t be heading back until after 9pm.

Look For A Party Hostel

Not all hostels are created alike. If you’re looking to hook up then you should search for hostels that have a reputation as a party hostels. If you choose a more low-key hostel you might not find anyone too interested in hooking up in the first place.

How To Meet People While Traveling — Both Locals and Travelers

The first step is getting yourself out there to meet people — which is actually pretty easy with a little effort.

Hostels

As mentioned before, staying in hostels is the easiest way to met fellow travelers. The inherent communal nature of hostels means you have a built-in network of instant and like-minded friends who are all looking to have a good time. Plus, many of them are traveling alone or in small groups of friends so they’re open to meeting other travelers.

Just head to the part of the hostel where people gather — usually the kitchen area or a common room. One surefire way to meet more people is to buy some cheap beer and invite people to hang out.

Hostel Pub Crawls

Not all hostels do them but many offer free pub crawls. The bars aren’t always great and there is a good chance the hostel workers leading the crawl are getting kickbacks from the bars but it’s a good way to exploring the city while retaining a somewhat familiar group of people. Plus, this is a chance to meet locals.

Couch Surfing and Couch Surfing Meet Ups

First of all, I want to stress the point that Couchsurfing should not be used as a way to hook up with hosts/guests and it should never be an expectation. But let’s be honest… it’s well-known that it happens — you never know when you’re going to hit it off with someone.

However, hosts will often introduce guests to their friends (at a bar, party, etc.) and this is the best chance of meeting someone special.

Another way to meet people is through Couch Surfing Meet Ups that are usually held at a bar in most major European cities.

Couch Surfing Meet Ups are hosted by active members of the CS community as a way for locals, expats and travelers to meet and mingle. It’s open to anyone so you don’t need to be couchsurfing.

Another option for meeting like-minded people with whom you share similar interest is Meetup.com.

Tinder

Almost all my single friends are on Tinder and it’s fairly popular in Europe too. A lot of travelers find that it’s a great way to meet locals as they’re traveling through Europe. And since you’re meeting with locals, you don’t have to plan anything because they know the best spots to visit. So, even if you don’t make a love connection, there is a good chance you’ll get to see authentic spots off the tourist trail.

Here are a few articles about people using Tinder in Europe: via NY Mag and another via Marie Claire.

Bars and Clubs

This is pretty much a no-brainer but if you fancy meeting a local then a bar or club might be a good option.

Music Festivals

Music festivals in Europe aren’t really any different than anywhere else in the world… except they’re full of beautiful European people.

Tour Groups Like Contiki

Extended tours aimed at young people have a reputation for booze, parties and sex — most notable is Contiki Tours. You can read our review of Contiki Tours to learn more.

Trains

A lot of trains have open seating so it’s the perfect time to move around and make new friends.

Divine Intervention

Who knows, maybe you’ll randomly meet that man or woman of your dreams while walking through the streets or buying yogurt at the grocery store. You never know but it could happen!

Keep It Safe

It goes without saying that you should always be careful when hooking up — especially when you’re traveling alone or when alcohol is involved.

Ladies, check out our guide to solo travel in Europe

And guys, be a little cautious if you’re approached by a beautiful woman — especially in Eastern Europe. There is a common scam where attractive ladies will convince a guy to go into a bar and order her drinks. When it comes time to pay the bill the guy is in for a surprise because two or three drinks ends up costing $200+. Then a few scary dudes won’t let you leave until you pay. Read about other tourist scams here.

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No Funny Business

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Thanks! — Susan and James

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