A Beginner’s Guide to Hostelling: Hostel Etiquette
This is the next in our series introducing hostelling to newbies.
Since hostelling is essentially living with strangers, you’ve got to be considerate. You’re sharing a bedroom, cooking, and hanging out with travelers from all over the world. It’s everyone’s temporary home, and everyone should feel comfortable. Even though what is polite varies by country, here are a few hostel customs that are timeless.
Keep it clean
Wash up any dishes you use in the kitchen and clean any cooking messes you might have made. Ditto with leaving clumps of hair in the shower or dirty laundry on the ground- someone else has to look at that!
That’s great if you sleep in the buff at home, but it’s a bit awkward running into you on the way to the bathroom at 3 am when you’re down to your skivvies. Please buy some pajamas.
A single bed is for a single person
Oh cool, you hooked up at club night?! Hope you booked a private room. Don’t make it weird by making out with someone in your dorm.
Respect quiet hours
All hostels observe quiet hours overnight. You can still hang out in the common areas, but since people are trying to sleep, it’s not party time any more. We understand if you have a really early flight and have to get up in the middle of the night for it, but that’s not the time to turn on the lights and rustle every plastic bag in your backpack while you’re getting dressed. Pack early for minimal nighttime interruption and use that keychain flashlight you brought.
There isn’t a lot of private space in hostels, so respect what private space everyone does have. This means do not drape your wet towel over the top bunk- it’s either not your bunk, or it is your bunk and you’re invading the airspace of the person in the lower bunk. Don’t leave your suitcase lying open on the ground with all your clothes flung on the floor. Don’t move people’s groceries in the shared fridge, and certainly do not use them without asking. We’re just sharing the space, not the food.
All of these rules pretty much boil down to one thing: don’t be a jerk. If everyone can do that, we’ll all be much happier hostellers!
Photo credit: Flickr user Katie@!