How To Survive The Roommate From Hell When Traveling

Are you going on a group tour solo and decided to room with another solo traveler?

Faced with wanting to save some money while traveling I had gone against my better judgment and signed up to double up on a room for my first trip to Paris. I had just one other solo traveler to choose from. She was in her 80’s and Paris was the one place she had never been to. First I told my travel guide no way, but the closer I got to the trip I thought -what the heck, I’ll meet her and decide from there.

So I made a date after a couple of phone conversation to make the trek to meet my potential roommate. We met and I was encouraged. She was well traveled and it was agreed that I would do my thing and she hers. Okay, we got along, she was spunky for her age, so I didn’t have to worry about the roommate from hell. Now all I had to do was wait for the big day to arrive.

Arrive it did. We met at the airport and almost instantly she began complaining about everything. The airline food, her headset didn’t work (a legit complaint I know), the long overnight flight. Once we arrived at CDG I didn’t see much of her (or maybe I was sub-consciously trying to avoid her) until we arrived at our hotel and were assigned our room numbers. We went up to our room and NOTHING was right. Our bags were not there yet, the room was small. The refrigerator was hard to open. You name it, it was not right. Now I, on the other hand was happier than ever. The room was perfect, everything was perfect, I was in heaven, I was in PARIS! The classic case of glass half full (me) vs glass half empty (her).

Your worst fears are realized, you have the roommate from HELL!

Everything was perfect except my roommate. She complained about everything all week long. She didn’t like the food! Are you kidding me? We are in the culinary capitol of the world! If you cannot find anything good to eat here…..well forget it. Nothing pleased her and the first night I was so upset, I called home via Skype crying to my husband. He told me to see if I could get a room on my own. When we ended the call I walked outside for some fresh air and something magical happened. Our hotel had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. As I walked through the doors the tower lit up with all her twinkling glory and I knew right then and there that no matter how much my roommate grumbled about everything, she was not going to ruin the trip of a lifetime for me. And from that moment on I made the decision to avoid her at all costs. Come in late at night when she was sleeping and slip out for breakfast in the morning. Harsh, you may think, but there was no way I was going to pay thousands of dollars for the dream trip and have someone ruin it for me. The next morning I spoke with her and told her that I am going to do what I want to do. She seemed to think I was her travel companion and should be spending my free time with her?? Say what?

In the end, looking back, this was just a tiny bump in my Paris trip. In fact I hardly think of that part of the trip when I look back. I ended up meeting a group of ladies who took me under their wing and I had the best time with them. Seems I was not the only one that noticed my roommate’s sour disposition The whole group had stories to share with me.

Here are some ways to cope with a less than ideal roommate

-Be kind, do not lose your temper (NOT EASY)

-Make your intentions clear right away

-Do not let them spoil your trip

-Do not feel you need to baby-sit them. Go do things on your own and DO NOT feel guilty about it

-If you can, get your own room, it’s not worth it just to save some money

-Most important, try and have a sense of humor, take a deep breath and do whatever you can to enjoy your surroundings.

If you want to save money and have a roommate when traveling make sure you choose wisely. I thought I did. In my case I was wrong. You don’t have to go through the same thing I did. I learned a very valuable lesson. I now either stay by myself or after this experience I was lucky enough to find a travel buddy that is compatible. We traveled to Paris together and had a wonderful trip.

Have you had any roommate nightmares? I’d love to hear about them. Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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  1. Nikki G | 3rd Oct 17

    I am so interested in solo travel! How long have you been doing this? I think you handled the problem perfectly.
    🙂 gwingal

    • Lori Helke | 3rd Oct 17

      Hi Nikki!
      Thank you for the positive feedback on my handling of the roommate situation! I was determined to not letting anything ruin my first Paris trip.
      That trip in 2011 was my first solo travel experience. Even though it wasn’t a total solo travel experience, I always tell people that going on a group tour by yourself is a great introduction into solo travel.
      I go on quite a few solo weekends and day trips.

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