How to be a Good Wild Woman Roomie Whether You’re Sharing a Tent or 5-star Suite
“Be neat!” It was my grandmother’s only rule, really. She stressed the importance of it with raised eyebrows–which in her later years were drawn on somewhat comically with a maroon eyebrow pencil.
If you’ve shared a room with a sibling, college roommate or spouse, it’s all the same. Be neat, first and foremost! If you’ve never shared your space outside of a communal fridge and office at work, the rules are still the same. Here’s a primer on how to be a good roomie, for everyone–whether you were a summer camp counselor with a dozen tweens under your charge or an only child.
Sharing space (ask any cat) involves some negotiating–spoken and unspoken! We all have our habits and patterns (even when we’re sleeping). Here are a few guidelines to help navigate your shared space most amicably!
On Wild Women trips, you’ll never pay a single supplement. That means when you join a trip you don’t have to pay an extra fee simply because you’re “single.” WWE will pair you with another single lady (cue up Beyonce here!), for free. And, you may meet your new future and 4-evah traveling partner in that kismet, cosmic, random moment. There are countless Wild Women who first met on one of our adventures and continue to travel together. We can pair you with your desired roomie for future trips too.
The biggest bonus in having a roomie on a trip is the built-in sounding board (more useful than the in-room ironing board)! You will have someone to remind you of what time breakfast is and an instant friend to consult. “Should I bring this fleece or just a quick-dry long sleeve?” “Are you bringing rain pants today?” You can run through daypack essentials together and ensure you’re both ready for the day ahead. Your roomie may also have secret stashes of chocolate to share too–or, maybe a poncho or umbrella to share on the walk to the Lebanese restaurant a few blocks away. Maybe she has some Tiger Balm and you have black licorice–and so the beautiful bartering begins.
Whether you are sharing a yurt with one woman in Dead Horse Point State Park, TundraBuggy bunks with three women on the Polar Bear Safari or rooming with four women in Skógarhólar Hut in Iceland, it’s all the same. There may be snoring. Someone is too hot. Someone is too cold. Goldilocks was the original Wild Woman and even if you’re a room and walls apart, you may hear her in a historic mountain lodge in Switzerland that wasn’t designed to be soundproof.
Let’s break it down–from a 2-person tent on the W Trek in Patagonia to a luxury glamping experience at the Dunia Camp in Tanzania, here’s how to be neat, sensitive, courteous and the most awesome roomie ever.
Early Birds vs. Night Owls
Do you need to get up during the night (or a few times in the night) to use the toilet? Perhaps you’d like the bed closest to the bathroom—maybe you both want the ensuite side. Be sure to travel with a small pen light or headlamp to navigate your way. Maybe you always pack a portable plug-in night light. Just ask your roomie if she’s okay with this. There are several options from motion detector night lights or dusk to dawn sensors.
Speaking of nuisance–here’s a notification. Turn those notifications sound effects off your phone or device! If you have earbuds, better yet! Use them–especially if you feel like a little of that ol’ time rock n’ roll (because your roommate might be a little bit country). If you choose to stay up longer (or rise earlier) than your roomie, be aware of the light pollution from your screen and the tappity-tap-tap audio when texting or scrolling!.
If you’re setting an alarm on your phone (or requesting a hotel wake-up call) be sure to respond and not hit snooze or ignore, again and again. And again. Your partner at home may permit this but you shouldn’t expect your roomie to adapt to your habits with the same unconditional love.
Here’s a hot tip that you’ll both enjoy (shout-out to Andrea on our Untamed Indonesia adventure for this saving grace): If you’re easily disturbed by the glowing red lights on a TV or air conditioning unit at night, apply a Band-aid to the nuisance light!
There’s no pretty way to put it, it happens. It could happen to you after a long day on the trail. It’s the elephant in the room and you may wonder if you are sleeping with an elephant–then what? Ear plugs can be your very best friend and if your eight hours of sleep are precious and non-negotiable, you can invest in custom earplugs (ask at your local hearing clinic) or noise cancelling earbuds designed for sleeping that offer “Nordic quietude.”
If you are a known snorer, there are simple “precautions” that you can take for tight quarters. Thanks to our WWE community member, Patti, who shared this miracle discovery: mouth tape! There are several variations available online–the basic principle is the same. The tape or strip is applied across your lips and helps promote nasal breathing. She proved its merit with a demo and live infomercial at our fly camp in Tanzania!
Snoring can be a touchy subject–the snoring party can easily be offended if an intervention is made. It’s best to come armed with your own earbuds or earplugs. If you can’t handle any potential disturbance during the night, it may be worth choosing and investing in a private upgrade for your trip to ensure peaceful, stress-free nights.
Team Air Con vs. Heat
There has to be a happy medium, right? One of you will want to sleep with the window open, one of you will be shivering. Or vice versa. Find out what an agreeable temperature is for the two of you. This isn’t a topic that only affects new roomies either! My wife and I are almost polar opposites when it comes to room temp. In our Jeep the driver and passenger seats have individual climate settings for the seat and vents—but this doesn’t always translate to a hotel room. I loathe air conditioning but I know Kim visibly wilts and is sleepless without it so I find an extra blanket (or two) and we’re both content. We just agree that the setting isn’t on ICEBERG.
Basically, the guideline is, don’t hog it! Do you shower in the morning or at night? Or both? Figure out a schedule that works for both of you because after a dusty day on safari or soggy hike, both of you will naturally want first dibs and if there’s just 30 minutes before meeting the group again for dinner, it might be rock, paper, scissors, shower.
Make sure there are enough towels (ie. don’t wrap your hair in one, your body in another, and use yet another on the floor). Ask if your roomie needs to use the bathroom before you! If you know you take longer, you can always shower after dinner too.
Don’t help yourself to your roomie’s products unless she has invited you to! Though that pomegranate scrub or peppermint shampoo can be tempting, everyone is usually travelling with rations. Similarly, if there are in-room amenities, share them! Don’t poach all the free Q-tips or bonbons when your roomie isn’t looking.
There’s definitely a female equivalent to Axe Anarchy body spray and just like Axe, it’s not irresistible to everyone. Find out if your roomie has a sensitivity to strong scents before turning your shared space into a nauseating perfume counter.
While you’re broaching sensitive topics–discuss how you’ll handle potential shared room or cabin charges. It’s best that both parties record individual purchases made on a shared tab to eliminate any issues upon check-out.
Also, unpack your sense of humour! Or, humor if you’re American!
Have the time of your life!
You may be bunking with your future travel mate! Once you know each other’s patterns and preferences, you may find yourself agreeing to another trip and bunking together!
Enjoy your time getting to know each other. You’ve decided to share the Wild Women experience on a different, intimate level and the built-in company of a roomie to share space, yoga poses, cups of coffee, stories and laughs with is a wonderful treasure. You’ll see.