Travelling means you generally stay in hostels. All throughout my time in Australia I was in hostels (I even managed to live in a really grim one for five and a half months). Hostels generally mean room sharing, and this means bunk beds!
For about the first five weeks in Australia, I was also unfortunate enough to get the top bunk. I do not like the top bunk because it’s really annoying having to constantly climb up and down the ladders, and I am a really restless sleeper sometimes so I generally need to get in and out of bed several times a night. I can’t help that, it is just the way I am. So obviously it’s even more annoying having to climb down the ladders. Some bunk beds don’t even have ladders so you have to just figure out how to get onto the top on your own. The first time I got the bottom bunk in Australia I was ridiculously happy. It felt like utter luxury.
I like the bottom bunk because it is easier to climb in and out of bed. And if I’m sitting in my room chatting to people, I like to be able to sit on my bed. I find it really rude if someone else sits on a bed that isn’t theirs in hostels. I just don’t like the idea of people sitting on my bed. I know, it’s a weird thing to find annoying, but if a stranger came and sat on your bed you probably wouldn’t like that.
Flipping these comparisons around, the bottom bunk is generally darker. The light obviously doesn’t reach it as well as it reaches the top bunk, making it difficult to read. It is easier to read on the top bunk, although I prefer hostels that actually have individual reading lights. Then you’re onto an all-round winner if you get the bed you want.
To me, the rules are simple. If you check into a hostel and the room you’re allocated has a free bottom bunk, it’s yours, unless you’re a top bunk fan (those are the people I can’t understand, why do you want to do a mini work-out before bed?), then if there’s a top bunk free, it’s yours. If the bunk you’d prefer isn’t free, tough luck, you’re stuck with whatever you get (in my case, a top bunk…devastating). If someone in your room who is on the bunk you’d prefer checks out before you, you can then move beds (in my case move to the bottom bunk). You have to faff around taking your sheets off and then remaking the other bed, maybe moving a lot of your stuff. I once saw someone just swap mattresses. That always works too.
Imagine my devastation when I checked into the volunteer house (where I’m staying while I teach English) for four weeks, to discover I have the top bunk. For four weeks. Someone did leave a few days ago, and I have contemplated switching beds, but I have discovered it is too much effort as not only will I have to switch my sheets over, I will also have to move all my stuff from one wardrobe (yes, I have semi-unpacked here, and I am actually using the wardrobe, unlike at home) to another. It is just too much effort considering I now have less than three weeks here. My legs are getting stronger my night-time work out of constantly getting in and out of bed. Fingers crossed when I move on I will once again be able to grab a bottom bunk!