I’ve spent more than 200 nights in hostels. The good hostels. The bad hostels. The awesome hostels. If you are planning to stay in a hostel, or sometimes get confused about hostel etiquette, the following post is for you. Consider this your do’s and don’ts should you decide to be a roommate.
1. Smile. Even if you have just had the most hellish time finding the place, a smile will go along way at reception.
2. Be nice. No one wants to see you throw a tantrum because you have to pay for sheets. Or because the Internet is down. (Well, you can get a little cranky on that one.)
1. Don’t let your backpack throw up all over the room. If you need to take stuff out, take it out, but don’t have things sprawled everywhere. Unless you don’t mind it getting stepped on. Or lost. Many hostels have limited floor space, and you’re not the only one in the room who needs to unpack a little bit.
2. If you are on the bottom bunk and want some privacy, hang your towel down from the bed above you.
3. Nowadays, it is hard not to stay connected. However, many hostels seem to only have one or two power sources per room. Don’t hog all of them. And, if your stuff is finished charging, kindly unplug it so others can use the outlets.
4. Bring a lock. A good lock.
5. Lock up your stuff. Seriously. If there aren’t lockers, still lock your bag. Especially if you are leaving anything of value.
6. If you are leaving early in the morning, pack the night before. No one wants to get woken up by your inconsiderate zipping and unzipping and rustling of plastic bags. No one can get it all done the night before, but keeping the noise down to a minimum and only having to pack a little is one of the most considerate things you can do for other travelers.
7. If you think you may be in late, do everyone else in the room a favor and get the stuff out of your bag that you need for the night before you head out.
8. When you get in late at night, try not to turn on the light. Use a flashlight, or your phone, or your iPod, or whatever. If you have to turn the light in, do it quickly, and then turn it off. Don’t leave it on while you go to the bathroom/kitchen/etc.
9. When you get in late at night, hush. No one wants to hear recaps of the night in your normal voice. Or a whisper. Go outside of the room to talk. And, remember: whispers are loud when there’s no other noise in the room.
10. Don’t get it on in the dorm room. No one wants to hear moans and fluids and such. Well, at least most people don’t. If you want to hook-up, go somewhere else. Like the common room. Or outside.
11. If other people are sleeping in the morning, don’t be loud.
12. If it is after lunch and people are still sleeping, it’s OK to go about your business in the room … and not worry too much about needing to do whatever it is you need to do. Chances are the people who are still sleeping are the ones who woke you up at 4 a.m. when they stumbled in, turned on the light and chattted drunkenly.
1. Buy your own food. And lable it with the dates you are going to be staying at the hostel. If you see someone else’s food, don’t take it. It’s not yours. Backpacker karma exists.
2. Clean up. This is a group environment. No one wants to wash your egg-covered pans or the sauce remnants from the pasta you cooked last night. Wash. Dry. Wipe down. Got it?
3. If the hostel provides meals or snacks, enjoy them. But don’t go nuts. You aren’t the only person who wants to enjoy the chocolate cereal or hardboiled eggs. Just because its complimentary doesn’t give you permission to take it all.
4. If you’ve made extra food and aren’t going to save it, offer it to another backpacker or the staff. Don’t waste.
The Common Room
1. Backpackers are a friendly bunch. If there is a solo packer in the common room and you are there, start up a friendly little conversation. You never know, that person could turn out to be a great friend.
2. Don’t hog the TV/DVD/stereo. Ask around if there are other people in the room. Don’t assume someone wants to watch/listen to the same thing you do.
3. Clean up after you’re done. Just like in the kitchen.
Want more hostel rules? Check out Michael Hodson’s Hostel and Dorm Rules. Ah, great minds think alike.
Got more tips? Add ’em below.