Let’s face it, as much as we all pretend based on our blogs, photos and Instagram posts that travel is constantly an enlightening endeavor of culture, history, food and scenery, once in a while (or more often depending on who you are) most young travelers want to let loose a bit and seek out a place to party.
Hostels clearly know this, as I’ve yet to check into one across Europe that didn’t immediately advertise that the pub crawl would be meeting that evening in the common area. Secondary to the inevitable hangover that these merry adventures into the local drinking culture provide, I do believe that they are an excellent way to meet and make friends with fellow travelers, especially when traveling alone. Nothing says new friends like being passed crowd surf style along a row of people you just met in the middle of a square in Nice or dressing up in a ridiculous outfit en-route to the famed end of summer party in Lagos along the Algarve in Portugal. From the many nights I remember, and the even more that I do not, I hereby impart upon to you, the ten commandments of the Hostel Pub Crawl
- Thou shalt not Pub Crawl the night before travel.
I’ll go ahead right now and be honest with you. I’ve broken this rule at least a dozen times, and every time I regret it wholeheartedly. The resultant hangover from a mixture of sugary shots, sangria and whatever godforsaken mixture of liquor that end up being ingested throughout the course of a night is bad enough when you can lay in bed or on a beach all day. When you must suffer through airport security or several hours on a train, it is a fate worse than death. Trust me when I say, those trains seem like a smooth ride until you’re sitting clutching your backpacking on a crowded commuter train and last night’s absinthe certainly isn’t the only thing with a tinge of green.
2. Thou shalt not pre-drink.
There will not be a shortage of alcohol. I promise you that. Free beers, welcome shots, and all you can drink for an hour special will take care of that. This isn’t the college bar in your university town, those who pre-drink will not live to see the end.
3. Thou shalt not stray from the path
It happens every time. “I’m going to get some food.” “I need to get some cash out, be right back.” The path to the last bar is not for the faint of heart and those who stray are lost forever, or at least until breakfast when they inevitably complain that “you assholes left me behind!”.
4. A shot for a shot
It is a sin to allow your new friend to do that free shot of Latvian Black Balzam alone. You must revel in the pain together as it burns your throat in such a way that can be felt for days after the hangover subsides.
5. Carb load
Humans love carbs. Potatoes, pasta, rice, noodles, and bread. Thankfully that means wherever you are, you can make sure your stomach is full of carby goodness to delay the alcohol intake. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to be told twice to eat an extra helping of pasta at dinner.
6. Thou shalt never walk alone
In all seriousness, don’t. The walk back to the hostel on your own might seem totally fine because you do it all the time in your home city, but in a new place after a lot of alcohol, it can be dangerous. You become an easy target for pick-pockets, thieves and possibly worse. Stick to the buddy system and don’t be a hero.
7. Thou shalt not be “too cool”
Pub crawls are meant to be a bit ridiculous, there is often games and other tacky activities meant to get people to get to know each other and have some fun. With that being said, there is nothing worse than the one person who is “too cool” to participate. We get it, pal, you’re an enlightened traveler who’s way too cool to get on board with a theme, can you please save your lectures for your wanderlust influencer blog? Because these pirate costumes are rocking and we’re going to make sure the rum is all gone before morning (for real, can we just collectively agree to make regular life pirate-themed too?).
8. Leave your passport somewhere safe.
Seriously, don’t fucking bring it. Like for real, you dumbass, leave it at the hostel. Locked in a cupboard is a much, much safer place for it than your back pocket in some dingy club in Prague. If you can, leave everything locked up. Phone, wallet, passport, camera, liver.
Leave. It. Behind.
Bring your hostel keys and some cash and you will be fine. Everything else is a liability and could not just ruin your night, but your whole trip.
9. Don’t be that person
Almost as bad as the buzzkill, is the person the next morning at breakfast who is insistent on reminding everyone of everything they did the night before. I hated that person in college, and I hate them just as much abroad. No, I don’t want to see the picture of the two people making out on the dance floor and yes, I’m perfectly aware I had to down an entire packet of mayonnaise during the pub challenge, please don’t make me re-live it.
10. Pace yourself
You know what’s more fun than doing those five tequila shots at 7:30 p.m? I can think of quite a few things, however, I can guarantee the list doesn’t include:
- Being back at the hostel puking by 8 p.m.
- Being in the bathroom of the first bar puking by 8 p.m.
- Waking up on a bench, in an alleyway, or on the gross couch of that same first bar the next morning.
- Pretty much anything that is the result of doing five tequila shots at 7:30 p.m.
I’ve never been on a pub crawl without plenty of drinks at each bar along the way. Calm down, turbo, you’ll get there.
I won’t lie, “The 10 Guidelines of the Hostel Pub Crawl” just didn’t have the same ring to it and, therefore, by no means must you listen to me. Do what you want and just enjoy yourself however you see fit. Pub crawls are not usually the most glamorous part of travel, nor are they ever the only reason I go traveling, but that’s not to say they can’t be enjoyed and new friends can’t be made. Nightlife is a part of any city’s culture, even if it’s not the most spectacular so why not check it out while you’re there. But, for the love of god, I said CARB LOAD!