Hostel Tips: Etiquette

Hostels can be fantastic places to meet fellow travelers, but I’ve spent too many nights awake, silently fuming at the blustering guests at hostels. You’ve met them – the snorers (oh god, the snorers!), the loud partiers, the shower hoggers. Oh, how irrationally and deeply I have loathed each and every one of them! How I’ve longed to tell them off and banish them from shared sleeping quarters for the rest of eternity! I’m a poor sleeper even under the best conditions, and when someone messes with my sleep – even unintentionally – they will feel my wrath.

Sure you are friendly during the day time, but if you are loud at night, I don’t want you in my hostel room. [credit]

That is a lie – they will not feel my wrath, because I will stew silently and fantasize about how wonderful it would be to chuck pillows at them and pour soap shavings into their mouths. I won’t actually say anything to them, though in my head, we will have the most epic confrontation, and I will emerge victorious and sleep soundly.

And then I will sleep the sleep of the just. [credit]

It’s not fair, though. Some people are just inconsiderate (like the jerks who have noisy sex in your dorm room, or the girl who talks on her cell phone in the middle of the night), but snorers don’t choose to keep everyone up, and maybe they don’t even know they’re doing it. If you know you’re a snorer and you can afford it, you might want to at least consider getting a private room. When we book beds in dorms, we expect to some extent that we probably won’t be sleeping as soundly as we would in a private room, but we also don’t want someone sounding like an engine all night. If we were banking on that, it would make more sense to just stay out and party all night, because we’d probably get the same amount of rest. So while I don’t think hostels should go quite so far as to ban snorers, I do believe self-aware snorers have an obligation to minimize disturbance as much as possible. Whether that means handing out ear plugs, booking your own room, sleeping in a different position, or ordering some of that snore easing stuff. I’m not entirely sure, since I don’t snore (though I have been known to talk and walk in my sleep, sometimes to hilarious and/or horrifying effect). So, figure out what works for you and try to be considerate of your fellow cheap travelers. That goes for all of us.

And if you can’t cope with these rules, you should probably check out. [credit]

What are some other hostel tips to keep in mind?

1. No sex in dorms. This one is just unforgivable. Other guests want to sleep, they don’t want to witness your drunken exhibitionism. No, you’re not being as discreet as you think you are – you’re being disgusting, and a jackass. Just stop it. No exceptions. Okay maybe some exceptions – I’ve heard this hostel (NSFW, obviously) encourages that sort of thing. I don’t know for sure, since it’s for gay guys only so I am disqualified. But no other exceptions. I worked in a hostel and used to have to clean up used condoms in dorms. This is horrible on so many levels. Go find somewhere else to do it, or shell out for a private room with your bedfellow. Most hostels have cheap two-person rooms. If you can’t find one, keep it in your pants.

Plus, these are not the kind of settings that get me, (or anyone, I hope) in the mood. [credit]

I’ve seen some travel bloggers advising people to go do it in the bathroom. This is also as asshole move, since people might need to pee. And, also, cleaning up someone’s jizz from a hostel shower floor is probably the most disgusting experience of my life (so if you DO do this, rinse it out afterwards. There is a faucet RIGHT THERE. How difficult can it be? But still – don’t do this).

2. Clean up after yourself. Do your dishes, wipe the counters, and be a big kid. Your mom doesn’t work at the hostel, and even if your mom does work at the hostel, she still shouldn’t be expected to clean up after you. Take your rotting food out of the fridge and get all your crusty pasta out of the pan. This should really go without saying, so it’s a bummer that so many people are filthy, inconsiderate jerks. The hostel is not your home (but clean up after yourself in your home, too – it’s called adulthood) so be a respectful guest. Hostel workers aren’t getting paid well and they’re probably not getting tips. They shouldn’t have to deal with your messes.

3. Don’t stumble into the room late at night and turn on the lights. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. If you absolutely need light, bring a flashlight or use your phone. There is no reason you should have to wake everyone up. Just, please don’t aim the flashlight at anyone, that’s even worse. Keep it pointed to the floor.

Some day I’ll build a hostel which is only open to people with excellent night vision. No flashlights after midnight. Sure it’s unreasonable, but don’t tell me you wouldn’t sleep there if you could.

4. Don’t hog the showers. Sometimes you’ll have a 12-bed dorm with only one bathroom. Assume that at all times, one of your other 11 patrons desperately needs to pee. Don’t be that person who takes a 45 minute shower when we’re all desperate for the toilet.

5. Don’t rustle plastic bags. They are so loud, and it’s impossible to be quiet about it. The faintest touch will make a bunch of noise. Don’t be that person, PLEASE. If you know you have things you’ll need to access late at night or early in the morning, be prepared ahead of time and keep them handy.

6. Understand that people will break each and every one of these rules. It’s happened to me many times before and I know it will happen again. Does it blow? Totally. And we can vent about it and fantasize about how good it would feel to chuck that pillow at them*, but we also need to recognize, to some extent, that it comes with the territory. If we can’t handle that, we’re probably not suited for hostels anyways.

And hostels are probably not suited for you, either. [credit]

*Don’t ACTUALLY chuck the pillow at them. They might get frustrated and write a blog post about pillow etiquette.

One Comment

  1. This are all really good points. I think the one that annoys me the most is the people trying to be considerate by not turning the lights on, but then shining a torch all over (like you mentioned). I wrote my own hostel etiquette post if you want to check it out? http://travel-addict.co.uk/hostel-etiquette-how-to-be-a-considerate-roomie/

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