Staying in a hostel is a heap of fun; you make friends from all corners of the globe, open your mind to new ways of thinking and inevitably, end up with the travel bug. But hostel life isn’t without its challenges sometimes, too. When sharing your space with strangers there’s bound to be a few ups and downs.
That’s why (after years running Island Life and, staying in over 2000 hostels as backpackers ourselves) we’ve created some guidelines on what we reckon is perfect hostel etiquette.
Follow our 10 holy hostel commandments next time you stay with us (or, indeed in any hostel) and your hostel life will be more than harmonious.
- Introduce Yourself
Don’t be the person waiting for everyone else to offer up a handshake or “hello”. This is a hostel! Get out there and make some friends.
- Be Kind
If someone’s trying to nap at 9pm, yeah you are well within your rights to switch the lights on, but if you just need to dip in and out of your room, you could just use your phone light to get to your things. Similarly if someone’s not feeling well, offer them some comfort and/or your last painkiller. Most people are far away from friends and familiarity; being kind will make your hostel life so much better
- Be Respectful
Slamming doors, having loud conversations on your phone in the dorm and unplugging other people’s chargers from the wall are all reasons to get the death-stare from your fellow backpackers.
- Pack Silently, Or Pack The Night Before
Oh, you’ve got a 5am bus? Why not wake up the whole room with the sound of you tripping over your own backpack, whisper-shouting to your mate about your lost hairbrush and rustling 342 plastic bags. Great idea, yeah.
- Stealing Is Bad
All backpackers are likely on a budget. All backpackers, when travelling, instinctively trust one another and enter into an unspoken understanding when staying in a room together. Don’t break the trust of your fellow backpacker and put them in a vulnerable position when they should be enjoying their hostel life. Don’t steal anything.
- Love Anywhere You Want! (Except In A Shared Dorm).
Sex in a SHARED dorm is the complete nadir of hostel etiquette. It’s gross, weird, awkward and… did we mention gross?
- Don’t Hit The Lights If Everyone’s Sleeping
Ok, so the jury may be out on this one but we reckon if it’s before midnight it’s generally acceptable to have the lights on in a dorm, if necessary. After 12, most people might want to get some shut-eye, especially if they need to catch a bus. If you come back late and everyone’s sleeping, it’s pretty much a douche-move to hit the lights and wake everyone else up. Buy a torch or use your phone light.
- Don’t Unpack Your Life’s Belongings On The Floor
Ok, we get that there will come a point when you just need to find your favourite t-shirt/bra/bottle of hot sauce and so emptying your entire backpack onto the floor is absolutely necessary. But of course, this means you’ll need to return *all* your things back into your bag immediately afterwards because no-one wants to be side-stepping over your dirty laundry and in a room that looks as if a bomb hit it. Plus, not looking after your things means they are far more likely to get lost or accidentally picked up by someone else…
- Clean Up After Yourself
Just because you’re in a community living space doesn’t mean you don’t have to uphold the same standards as you would at home; clean up after yourself as if it was your own place! And if you’re normally a slob, try being extra-tidy, or face the wrath of your hostel buddies…
- Don’t Be A Tech-Hog
No-one wants to listen to your 90’s soft-core rock playlist except you. Share the speakers and the communal computer.