Where should I self isolate – hostel or sharehouse?

Choosing where to stay during the Coronavirus pandemic can be a tricky question.

Currently all Australians are restricted to staying at home.

Like house arrest, except you are currently allowed to go to the supermarket, chemist, doctors , work and some exercise close to your home.  Apart from that it’s just inside watching netflix and learning a new craft, hobby or workout.

Both sharehouses and hostels offer the opportunity to meet other people and still feel connected and engaged which is so important right now.

Sharehouses and hostels have always been setup to encourage lots of socialising and having fun, and with the new restrictions they are having to adapt quickly to keep with the dozens of changes.

When choosing where you want to spend your days self isolating, here are some things to consider:

Covid-19 restrictions are all about keeping 1.5 m distance from each other, not sharing germs or areas with other people.

How many kitchens are there?

If restrictions require 1.5m  distance from each other, a hostel may only be allowed to have  5 people in a kitchen at one time, and when there are 200 people in house then you it will take about 16 hours for everyone to cook a 20 minute meal.

How many people share the communal areas?

Current restrictions are a maximum of 2 people in an outside area, and recommend 1.5 m distance between yourself and others at all times.  Is there a lounge area or communal TV room where you can comfortably sit far apart?

Sharing bathrooms

You need to make sure you are in an environment where if you or another person get sick that they can have a dedicated toilet to prevent infection to other guests.  Ask how many bathrooms and toilets there are.

Trustworthy travel or flatmates

Now more than ever you need to know that the people you live with, whether in a hostel or sharehouse, have got your back.  Everyone needs to work together to ensure that nobody else gets sick. Try to find a small number of people to share with to reduce the chance of infection.

Who is ready?

Check to see what plans have been put into place already for Covid-19.  You want to make sure wherever you live they have an action plan in place to protect you and your flatmates, and will provide advice and support as things constantly change.


Remember #weareinthistogether – be kind to everyone you meet and wash your hands!


The author Tammy Angel is the Manager of Cairns Sharehouse and has over 17 years providing sharehouse accommodation to backpackers, students and working traveller in Cairns.  Their business is rapidly changing the way they work to ensure guest safety is paramount.

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