One of the best things about hostel life is that there are always things to do come evening and night time – pub crawls, party buses, theme parties, the list goes on. If you’re looking for entertainment that doesn’t involve drinking copious amounts of alcohol however, you’re sort of out of luck. Of course we all enjoy the craziness that ensues after a few bottles of wine, but after a few months of traveling, even the biggest party animals need some well deserved R & R.
There’s always movie nights, but how many times can you watch L’auberge Espagnole before it takes away your sanity? And no traveler wants to spend a day in front of their laptop using overpriced hostel wifi out of sheer boredom. Out of my past experiences in finding something creative to do on a quiet night in, here are some of my favourites.
Make funky bracelets
– ball of hemp
When I was in a hostel in Airlie Beach, I met this Italian girl who had this really cool idea of collecting some shells and dead corals during her time sailing through the Whitsunday Islands, and strung them together with coloured string to make necklaces.
Inspired by this, I bought some hemp, collected some shells, and on a spare evening a week later, set out to make my own bracelets and anklets to send my friends back home.
During this time, there happened to be a French guy in my dorm room who was deeply in love with me (I assumed this because he held his book upside-down in front of him and glanced at me every few minutes from his bed across the room). He ended up joining me and turned out to be quite the bracelet braider. He also taught me how to make those hopping paper frogs
. In an interesting twist of events, everyone else in the room found the paper frogs really cool and we ended up with a pretty sweet new drinking game for the next few nights…
Keep a journal or scrapbook
– blank journal
– pen or markers
– photos, ticket stubs (optional)
– glue or tape (optional)
If you’ve traveled with me for more than a few days, you’ll realize that I make an effort to write in my journal almost daily. I love writing and find it really comforting. Most of my pages are filled with crazy stories that are good for a laugh when I re-read them on a day I feel down, and they help to keep my dreams high of one day publishing a best-selling travel memoir. Some people take it even more seriously like this Serbian traveler I’ve met, who sat on his bed everyday and wrote like there’s no tomorrow… by the time I left that hostel he must have written over a thousand pages! For those not looking to write the next Lord of the Rings trilogy, keeping a scrapbook with some pictures and ticket stubs are a good way of sharing your adventures with your friends back home.
Send some home-made postcards
– card stock or cue cards
Last week when I was in Montreal, a friend and I decided to make some homemade Valentine’s Day inspired postcards on a night in. Rather than send them to people we know, we thought it would be kind of fun to send one to each province to people with funny names listed in the Canada 411 (watch out Dwayne Fontaine*). We decided to also send them as anonymous to keep Dwayne and Adelard guessing on who their secret Valentine really is. And… obviously the “U R Hot” postcard went out to the guy from little town Manitoba* who happened to be named Ewan Mcgregor.
*name and location slightly altered to protect the innocent.