Dorm rooms are the most common accommodation for backpackers traveling on a tight budget. They usually cost only a quarter to half of a single room and are therefore much more affordable. The disadvantage of dorms is the lack of any privacy and possible theft, or at least an unpleasant feeling to leave your stuff behind in the room when you are going out. Dorms are especially common in countries with higher standards (and therefore higher living costs and prices for accommodation). Popular examples for ‘dormitory countries’ include Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland and Singapore. Rather uncommon are dorm rooms with bunk beds in Asia (except Singapore) where single rooms are more prevalent. Dorms usually have shared bathrooms with toilets and showers outside on the same floor, but sometimes they are attached to the dorm itself.

Depending on the backpacker hostel and its management, the rooms usually come as ‘mixed dorm’ for both genders, but also commonly found are gender-separated rooms as male dorms and female dorms. Sometimes there will be no male dorms, just a mixed dorm and a female dorm. The room sizes can vary significantly. The smallest dormitories usually have 2 bunk beds inside, accommodating 4 people, but you will find places in the world with 8, 10, 12 or even more bunk beds inside, providing sleep for 16, 20, 24 or more people in the same room. This can be very uncomfortable because of the eminent lack of privacy, disturbing noises (especially during the night), and generally an ‘unsafe feeling’ sharing your room with more than 20 other people, leaving your belongings behind in the room. We came across this kind of huge dorm rooms especially in Singapore several times, once in Australia (Byron Bay), Japan and in Northern Ireland (Belfast).