During our time in South America, we stayed in 55 different hostels (yes, 55!). This included a variety of dorms, with beds ranging from 4 – 12, and private rooms. We definitely learnt a thing or two about to do’s and don’ts when living the hostel life; from our personal mistakes to others doing certain things.
Here, I’ve compiled a list of hostel etiquette to try and live by, including some definite no’s to remember.
The concept of a dorm was super odd to me prior to travelling; sleeping in a room with complete strangers on bunk beds? I didn’t think I’d enjoy it, but it’s a great place to meet people, so, lesson one is be nice to others in your room. Make conversation with them and get to know the people you’re sharing a room with (even if just for one night). A lot of people travelling alone stay in dorms have a chat with them!
As mentioned above, a lot of dorms include bunk beds to squeeze as many of us as possible in one room. If you’re travelling with someone, try and get the two beds on the same bunk. That way, you don’t have a stranger sleeping above/below you, you can keep your stuff all together and other people joining the room don’t have to split up from their travelling buddies. A solution is to just take it in turns with your travelling pal for a bottom bunk in each hostel to make it fair.
Talking about travel buddies, if you’re loved up with yours, don’t do you know what in a dorm room. Honestly, it’s super awkward for everyone (even if you think people are asleep) and no, unfortunately, hanging a towel as privacy won’t make your bed soundproof… Mind-blowing, I know.
Sleeping is a wonderful thing. Travelling comes with some tough, long days that are physically and mentally exhausting. Try and be as considerate as possible if people are sleeping. Just think that if it was you trying to nap or sleep during the night, would you want to be abruptly woken by a light turning on or a drunk person? Probably not.
If you’re chilling in the dorm (perfectly acceptable btw), use headphones if you’re listening to music or watching something.
Staying tidy with your personal belongings is important in a dorm. It ensures that you don’t lose anything or leave anything behind, your stuff doesn’t get moved for you or stepped on and it keeps the dorm in some kind of order. If there are lockers, always use these for your important belongings (I.e passports).
When packing up your stuff, not having plastic bags will save you from some death stares in a dorm (and help preserve our beautiful planet). Why is everything so much louder when you’re trying to be quiet?!
One last thing, if there’s an ensuite bathroom attached to the dorm, the likelihood of it having a window is low… Do you get where I’m going with this? There’s often others scattered around the hostel so use the communal bathrooms for your daily toilet needs.
Some hostels have nice communal areas to cook, chill and chat with fellow travellers. Not all hostels have these, so if you go to one that has all the above, treat these communal areas well and keep them tidy.
More often than not, there’s a kitchen for travellers to cook in and save some £££. Although sometimes not that well equipped, they’re super handy for whipping up an easy meal rather than always spending money eating out. Wash up everything you use, because someone else will need what you’ve used and it’s not fair for them to clean up after you.
Make sure you serve up your food onto plates before walking off and finding somewhere to eat. Although it’s nice to have the food all laid out in front of you in pots and for people to help themselves, that might be the only big pot or serving spoon available.
A few hostels have breakfast included (such a bonus and money saver!). When you’ve eaten it, don’t leave it on the table for someone else to clean up. At a minimum, take your used breakfast stuff to the kitchen, so it’s out the way of others trying to eat and the hostel workers don’t have to do it for you.
Basically, try and be as respectful as possible to other travellers and the hostel owners!
Do you have any other tips for fellow travellers? Or maybe a horror story from your time in hostels? Share in the comment section below x