6 Ways To Mind Your (Hostel) Manners

Hostels can be an excellent option for lodging when traveling. They are much cheaper than a hotel, plus much more social, with many offering walking tours during the day, and activities, group dinners, and pub crawls at night. What’s more, when else can you be roommates with an Australian, Brazilian, and Italian at the same time? That being said, the cheap dorm room comes with some costs if you have bad roommates. Nothing kills the good vibes like someone you want to chuck your pillow at– whether they were inconsiderate or just unintelligent. Here’s six ways to avoid being that guy in the hostel room.

1.Use your eyes– and the common room.
Seriously, take a look around when you come in to the room, or wake up in the morning. You might think that you are the last one awake, or that because it’s 2 p.m. no one is asleep, but that’s not always the case – and you aren’t in the hostel to play mom. It’s not your business if someone is sleeping their afternoon away, and it’s not your job to wake them. Obviously, it is your room too, so if you need to be in there, by all means do it, but if you are back in the hostel to spend time and not just grab something really quick, respect your roommates enough to hang out in the common room. My past trip, I traveled though the night and tried to take a quick nap to have energy for the rest of the day, but was woken up by two people who came in, saw me sleeping on the first bed next to the door, and then decided that the foot of my bed was the best place to discuss their Trivia Crack game. Literally no one wants to hear about your trivia addiction when they are awake, and I certainly didn’t want to hear about it when I was trying to sleep. Be quiet please.

2. Plan ahead when you go out.
If living in Spain has taught me anything, it is that a great party goes till the sun comes up, any night of the week. I’m not judging you for being out when I stayed in, but I will judge you for coming in at 4 a.m., and not having your sh*t together. It’s not like you accidentally ended up at a bar that late; more than likely you knew you were going to be coming in later than your mother would like. So please do us all a favor, and get your tooth brush, contact case, PJs, and anything else you would need out before you hit the town, then use at most your cell phone flashlight to see where you are going. Nothing says “I’m rude!!” like turning on the room lights to get your things when everyone else is sleeping. Also, bonus points for walking quietly.

3. Pack ahead for early departures.
Every young traveler knows the pain of the early morning budget flights. Don’t make everyone else suffer because you are. If you are leaving before 8:30 in the morning (at the earliest!), pack your bags the night before. Trust me, no one wants to hear you rolling your compression bags over and over, plus you’ll be less stressed! Double win. There’s a good chance that by 9, many people will be up and at ’em, but the consideration is always appreciated.

4. Stealing is a no-go.
Just don’t. This should be obvious, I hope. Nothing stabs my heart more than a fellow traveler breaking the travelers code. Stealing is always bad (duh), but there has to be a certain amount of trust to live happily in a hostel. Luckily, the only thing I have ever had stolen was an amazing set of reusable travel bottles (sounds lame, but they are SO hard to find in Europe!). Yes, I forgot them in the en suite bathroom one day, but that doesn’t mean they were up for grabs! Not only is the person out the financial amount of what’s missing, but also the time it takes to replace it/deal with reporting it/etc. It sucks to have something stolen when you are at home with full access to stores, but it can really mess up someone’s trip when they are on the road with limited time and funds.

5. Don’t hog the bathroom.
Another obvious, but still need to be said rule. If there is an en suite bathroom that has the only shower/toilet/sink, your luxuriously long grooming time is everyone else’s wasted time. There is a time and a place for long, hot showers, and the getting ready time at a hostel is certainly not it.

6.No snoozing allowed.
For the love of God, please please please do not leave your alarm going off every seven minutes for an hour because you can’t get up. On a similar note, forget to shut off your alarm while you are in the shower, and you are on the top of my worst people list. If I wanted to wake up, I’d have my own alarm, thank you very much.

I have many hostel horror stories, but most of them all involve the same offenders. Despite these few sour apples, some of my favorite travel memories are in hostels. Making friends from all over the world, staying on the cheap– it’s what being a young traveler is all about. Be considerate, make friends with the people in your room, and rest easy you won’t be the inspiration for a blog post.