UPDATED January 13, 2024

BY The TDA Team

IN Cycle Touring Advice

1 comment

UPDATED January 13, 2024

BY The TDA Team

IN Cycle Touring Advice

1 comment

How To Be A Fantastic Roommate On A Cycling Tour

HOW TO PREPARE: An 8 part series to get you ready for your first TDA tour. Click here to read more.

A lot of us may not be used to sharing rooms with strangers.  Having a roommate on a TDA tour is yet another way that our trips can take you out of your comfort zone. As Britney Charme, the leader for the upcoming Morocco: Kingdom of the West tour, says, “Embrace the awkwardness! Use it as an opportunity to find a new friend.” Most riders find it quite enjoyable and get along well with their roomies but it does take effort, compromise and consideration for others. If you follow the advice below, you should have an enjoyable experience sharing your room with a new cycling friend.

This blog will explain how your roommate is chosen and answer the popular question – can I pay for a single room? We also give some practical advice on noise reduction sleep aids and 0ur head office staff give their advice on how to be considerate and a good communicator. Lastly, our tour leaders share their best roommate etiquette tips in a top 10 list.

How Roommates are Chosen (and About Single Supplements)

If you register with a friend or come as a couple, we will put you together in a room, as long as you let us know in advance. If you come solo, as most of our clients do, we will pair you with another rider of the same gender. Sometimes they will be your roommate for the entire tour, while at other times you may rotate between different roommates and occasionally get a single room to yourself (when we have an odd number of people of the same gender on a tour).

You might be asking, can’t I just pay extra and get my own room every night? Usually not. Our tours often take riders ‘off the beaten track’ where many places along the route have very limited capacity. With our tours also becoming very popular (and often selling out), we try to offer as many spaces as possible without overloading the tour. This means that we don’t prioritize single rooms.

Shanny, from TDA’s head office, suggests that a good trick is to treat yourself every so often. “While we do not offer many single supplements, you can still choose to pay for a separate single room every once in a while. If you arrive to a large hotel for one of your rest days, you are welcome to ask the reception if rooms are available. This would be a private booking outside our tour booking and the cost would be entirely yours, but perhaps it is worth it every so often when an opportunity presents itself.” 

Noise Reduction Sleep Aids

Everyone’s biggest fear is being stuck with the tour’s snorer. It can happen, but there are ways to mitigate the issue. The key is to come prepared with sleep aids as snoring is only one of many noises that might interrupt your sleep. Think of these possible scenarios: a noisy wedding in the hotel ballroom runs late into the night, dogs howling to each other outside your window, on a busy street loud traffic continues through the night, an annoying heating/AC unit buzzes intermittently as you doze off. Here are a few things to help reduce the noise.

  • Earplugs – you can bring simple foam ones or try some of the more modern options such as the ones made by Loop
  • Noise cancelling earbuds – many earbuds such as AirPods or Pixel Earbuds can block out environmental noises but if they are not comfortable to sleep in you could try ones designed specifically for sleeping – like QuietOn. Or try these ‘Sleep Headphones‘ which should be most comfortable while sleeping as nothing is in your ear, but just covering it.
  • White noise machine – if your roommate is in agreement, a white noise machine could be a great way to neutralize environmental noises. Just make sure it’s compact enough to fit within your bags
  • Sleeping / noise reduction apps – there are many apps that offer white noise or pleasant sleep sounds

Side note – Some people also benefit from eye coverings to block out light as well.

Being Considerate and a Good Communicator

TDA Global Cycling walks the walk. Even company founder Henry Gold shares a room with the other staff when he is on tour. Henry had this to say about how to be a good roommate, “I think generally be thoughtful… don’t do things that you wish others wouldn’t do to you.”

Be tidy

Our Office Manager Olha added, “As for me, it’s keeping a balance of communication (as a starting point), respect, and consideration for each other’s boundaries, needs, and preferences. You know, communication is the key, so, it’s crucial to discuss everything beforehand.”

Continuing along that line of thinking, Operations Manager Miles MacDonald shared that, “openness to cultural differences, as our tours attract people from across the globe, is very important. Knowing that a person from another culture may not have the same understanding of what is acceptable noise-wise or personal space -wise, and that non-judgmental communication is crucial.”

Our long running European tour leader, Gergo Szanyi, added, “a fantastic roommate knows that little gestures make a huge difference! Like if you have the time after arrival and your shower, bring your roommate’s bag to the room, or brew another tea for him/her when they arrive later after a long day.” 

Tour Leader Top 10: Roommate Etiquette

We reached out to our incredibly insightful tour leaders, staff who have the most experience with how roommates can best share their space. Here are their top 10 tips:

  1. Temperature – Have a clear discussion on arrival. Ask your roommate if they find it too hot/cold and be willing to compromise. This can be a point of tension if not addressed directly.
  2. Bed preference – Some prefer the ‘window-bed’, others prefer to be closer to the washroom. Some rooms have one larger and one smaller bed. Be generous in choosing which bed you take and take turns with the lesser choice.
  3. Gear – Keep your gear tidy and on your side of the room. Only use your half of the space for unpacking and organizing. Pick up your clothes and have a good system for organizing your stuff.
  4. Talking – Communicate your needs clearly. Adapt to the social preferences of your roommate (talking more/less). Respect the silence as well. There is no need for small talk all the time.
  5. Sleep/wake times – Openly discuss sleep/wake schedules and a time for lights on/off. Set alarms accordingly.
  6. Bathroom – Close the door fully when using the bathroom. Leave the bathroom clean after every use (don’t be afraid to use the toilet brush). Bathroom smells are normal. Use the fan or a room spray.
  7. Keys – Leave keys at the front desk when you go out (many hotels only provide one key per room).
  8. Noise – Use headphones when watching movies / listening to music. Leave the room for phone calls. Turn off/mute phones overnight.
  9. Use of the space – Allowing your roommate to have time to themselves in the room (especially on rest days). Never assume roommates are comfortable with nudity.
  10. Be generous / considerate – Make sure to replace anything you finish (water, towels, toilet paper etc). Carry your roommates bag to the room if they had a hard day. Share your snacks. Remind them of rider meeting / breakfast times.

(A big shout out to Malcolm, Carolina, Andreas, Britney, Sam, Gergo for these excellent tips)

Do you also have some suggestions on how to be a fantastic roommate? Leave them in the comments below.

How to Prepare

An 8 part series to get you ready for your first TDA tour. Click here to read more.

1 Comment for "How To Be A Fantastic Roommate On A Cycling Tour"

Whilst I agree to the difficulty of organising trips and accommodation the thing that I’ve learned from touring is that perhaps, just perhaps, we may well becoming a selfish society!!!!! There is nothing else to explain roommates on social media channels at any god forgiven time of the night!, I don’t see that it’s my responsibility to buy earplugs for a compulsive snorer!! I’ve had some amazing roommates whom I still correspond with now, met some lovely people BUT I’ll never tour again if I don’t know my roommates or I haven’t got a single supplement!!!

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