10 Hostel Rules Every Traveler Should Know

Hostels: the beacon of the budget traveler; your home away from home. For the most part, hostels are a great option if you’re looking for a cheap, but amazing place to stay while traveling. The rooms, the bathroom and the common areas usually make for a great experience, but the people you share these living spaces with can really turn great hostel into the best.

10 Hostel Rules Every Traveler Should Know - ClapwayPhoto Courtesy of Hannah Bryant

If you’re unlucky, however, you might just find yourself residing in a place that makes you feel a little grossed out 99% of the time. Most travelers would agree that there is a certain etiquette you need to have when sharing a room with countless other people; no-one wants to be the person who is accused of pooing in the corner (seriously, guys).

1. Hush, be quiet!
You’re in a hostel! The opportunity to meet new and fabulous friends is at your fingertips; you’re happily chatting away loudly in your room when you notice a strange still shape on the bunk a few beds away from you: it’s a person sleeping at 2pm. Surely, because it’s mid-afternoon, it doesn’t matter if you discuss your travel plans at a volume mostly reserved for nightclubs, right?! Wrong! That person napping could have travelled days to get to where they are. They could be sick. They could need some down time. They could just be tired! Leave them be; go to the common room, go outside, go anywhere else. Let them have their time…one day you’ll need yours and you’ll appreciate this small gesture.

2. You snooze, you lose.
Isn’t the sound of the alarm just the worst noise in the world? You know that amazing feeling when you turn off your alarm for the next few days, knowing that you don’t need to be waking up at a set time for anybody? Then, BAM, 8am rolls around and your dorm-buddies’ alarms go off. Fine, you can handle that, but when they press snooze over and over again…then there’s a problem. Be a good hostel goer and get up when your alarm sounds, turn it off quickly and for goodness sake, don’t snooze it!

3. Hey, slob!
We’re living out of backpacks – there’s always going to be mess. You know that your favorite top is going to be deep in the depths of your pack, so you pull out every item of clothing you have to find it. Your clothes make their way over to someone else’s area – on their bed, on their shelf, on them. Fair play, it can happen, but to avoid this situation, try to keep it altogether. Don’t be that person who throws their gear around the dorm room like they’re still living at home.

4. Sticky Fingers – Just don’t steal.
Does this one really need to be on here?! Unfortunately, yes…yes it does. When you share a dorm room, you have to have a certain amount of trust; trust that your dorm buddies won’t go snooping around your gear and take what they like. Unfortunately, it’s a regular occurrence. I’ve had people take clothes, make-up and money from my friends before. It’s pretty simple: if it’s not yours don’t touch or take.

5. Please, just wash.
Just brush your teeth and wash up. These rooms are smelly enough as it is, don’t make it worse with bad hygiene. No-one wants to be the person every dreads sleeping near. There’s no need to let hygiene standards slip just because you’re away.

6. Pack up early.
If you’re checking out early or going on an early day trip then please, for the love of travel, pack your stuff away the night before. Have it all ready to go in the morning. Don’t be the person who wakes up the entire room whilst they’re trying to find their lucky underwear before they leave.

7. Bright lights.
Talking of being up early, don’t turn on the lights whilst others are snoozing. Use your flashlight. That’s all you need. These days, most hostels also come with beds with private lights, use those.

8. Getting it on…
Bom chicka wah wah, wahoo! You’ve got yourself a hottie. Now, where to close the deal? Your dorm room? Don’t even think about it. Absolutely no-one wants to hear you and your partner having sex; no-one! So pull yourself together and get a private room to share. You can share all of the details at your leisure afterwards, without the added sound effects.

9. Drunken tomfoolery.
Nights out and drinking go hand in hand with traveling, new friends, and exciting locations. It all makes for a great experience, but please try and keep all your “absolutely hilarious” shenanigans to yourself when you come back to your hostel drunk.

10. Bathroom manners
The biggest and most horrific Hostel Faux Pas is having bad bathroom manners. Use the toilet properly, flush, wipe, wash, do whatever it takes. But, above everything else, please just use the toilet. I have been in a hostel before where there has been…let’s say “waste”, in the corner.

Of course, these tips are just common practice. Most people are absolutely fine when they’re within a hostel environment. Occasionally you’ll encounter a few people who will bend these sacred codes of conduct to the point of snapping. But when you find a good hostel with amazing dorm buddies, then you will have the time of your life whilst making new friends.