The worst part about a hangover while travelling long-term is that they usually tend to be unintentional.
And of course, hostels (especially the quiet ‘non-party’ hostels) are the breeding ground of the spontaneous BNO (big night out).
Ironically, BNOs, by definition, are so ‘big’ they tend to be thoroughly intentional and hence planned within an inch of their life. The hangover of a spontaneous BNO, therefore, ends up being a particularly cruel fate, impinged upon you by the facade of “just one beer” alongside a “jam session” or “free salsa lesson” you want no part in.
By beer three (and you will be drinking beers because you are travelling and the glamorous days of cocktails and gins are long gone), it will become clear that this will not be a quiet night in because you have been seduced by the promise of a fantastic night. The audience for your ‘funny’ stories is infinite and the dreadlocked kiwi who in your own opinion was a terrible ukelele player earlier has suddenly become the most talented human on earth.
And so you get swept up in the inevitable shenanigans, ending up in the type of club you hate surrounded by boozed-up gringos making a show of themselves in the local watering hole.
Around 4am, you will stumble back to your eight person dorm, walking up several roommates who, intelligently, chose to forego the BNO in favour of a good nights sleep (though unfortunately ended up rooming with you).
This is around the time that you will begin pray that you are not in a top bunk.
In the morning, you wake up in the clothes you had been wearing the entire day before (because of course, you did not intend to go out). You will feel first fear, second despair and lastly you will sit bolt upright trying to remember if you had a tour booked that day or needed to check out.
And here is where you must take matters into your own hands if you are going to cure this hangover.
If you do need to check out, I would suggest going straight to reception and booking an extra night. If you have to move on (thanks to some fantastic pre-planning on your part that in hindsight was the worst thing you ever did to yourself), prepare to be miserable.
The most important part of curing your hangover while travelling is to take advantage of breakfast. Assuming your hostel provides breakfast, force yourself out of the hellscape that is your bunk and get yourself to the kitchen.
Devour the rubbery eggs/ dry toast combo and slurp down the free [terrible] black coffee. Force feed yourself the inevitable watermelon on offer (though fruit is the last thing you want right now).
If you are in the unfortunate state of missing breakfast or having no breakfast option, whip open Google and find the most hipster cafe you can within two blocks of your location (preferably run by Australians because they seriously know how to brunch).
If there is nothing within a kilometre walking distance from you, indulge in an Uber you cannot afford.
Throw on your comfiest clothes (or whatever is clean) and be content in the fact that you look exactly how you are; hungover and homeless (you can call it ‘nomadic’ if you want to make yourself feel better).
Once you have consumed enough wholegrain toast, avocado, eggs, fruit juice and vanilla lattes as you can, head back to the hostel and resign yourself to the fact that you will achieve nothing today.
Avoid eye contact with absolutely everyone because who knows what you said to them last night. If anyone approaches you, saying “No sé. No sé” over and over including to those who speak perfect English tends to work quite well.
Find yourself a concealed corner where you can watch endless mind-numbing Netflix shows (I recommend Project Runway or any interior design show) and bask in the social media lives of your friends back home who have their lives together (and don’t go out spontaneously on Tuesday nights).
Take a nap.
By seven pm, you may start to feel like a human being. Consider a take away to celebrate. You deserve it.
Head to bed early because you are wrecked and lie wide awake for several hours because your body clock cannot keep up with you.
Consider cancelling all plans for the following day to recover from the hangover.