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Staying in hostels is an essential part of the backpacking experience.  You save money and you meet amazing people who make your travel experience, so you don’t want to piss these people off.

Here are some hostel etiquette rules to ensure that you’ll be well-liked during your stay:

Say hello to the people in your room.  Dorm rooms can be a great place to make new friends.

The alarm clock: make sure it’s accessible when the alarm goes off, turn it off right away and do not hit snooze.

Snoring: If you know you snore like a ruthless foghorn, please do everyone a favour and don’t stay in a dorm room, otherwise you will not be making any friends.  That being said, everyone is guilty of snoring once in a while, so always bring earplugs.

Quiet and lights out in the dorm room from around 11pm-8:30am-ish.

Respect other people’s sleep schedules.  Some people are early to bed and early to rise, while others like to enjoy the nightlife culture.  There is no right or wrong; however, don’t turn the lights on when everyone is asleep.  Use a flashlight or use your phone for light.

Pack the night before an early departure.  If you know you’re leaving early in the morning, pack your bags as much as possible the night before.  Zippers and plastic bags are the worst because they make so much noise.  Sometimes I take my bag outside of the room to finish packing in the early morning.

Be respectful, considerate and use your common sense.  While you’re doing something, ask yourself that if someone else was doing it, would it annoy you?

Do not aggressively hit on people in your dorm room, unless you know for damn sure that it’s a sure thing.  It’s really awkward to be hit on aggressively when you’re not interested because it’s really uncomfortable to share the same room for the next few days.

Keep romances private.  Get a private room, go to the shower or find a secluded area (that’s not the common room).  If you absolutely must do it in the dorm room, wait till everyone has left.  For more do’s and don’ts on this, see Nomadic Matt’s How to Have Sex in Hostels.

Limit in-room activities.   Unless the entire room is in on it.  Otherwise, that’s what common rooms are for.

Be aware of the hostel vibe.  Don’t be like the older woman who stayed in my dorm room at the biggest party hostel in La Paz, Bolivia and expect quiet and lights out at 9pm.  On the flip side, if it’s not a party hostel, don’t expect to turn it into one either.

Do not eat other people’s food in the shared kitchen.

Do your dishes.

Personal hygiene: You won’t be making any friends if you and your clothes smell.

Don’t hog the shared bathrooms.

Again, be respectful, considerate and use your common sense.

And have fun!

2 thoughts on “Hostel Etiquette

  • AnnaJ September 14, 2015 at 5:37 PM Reply

    Spot on! ??

  • thecoolyank September 15, 2015 at 7:34 PM Reply


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