Hostels are perhaps the best way to meet friends, dive into the travel environment and save on accommodation when travelling alone. Hostels don't come without their downsides. You are sleeping in a room with anywhere from 4 to 12 people (depending on budget). This comes with it's downfalls; no privacy, no way to choose to be alone, noisy and disrespectful travellers and so on. If everyone simply followed the hostel etiquette those things wouldn't be a problem. So I have put together the ultimate list of hostel etiquette to make the rules or should I say "etiquette" clear.
In the dorm room
Unpacking/Packing your bags
I am sure we have all been guilty of this. I know I was until I had been to a few hostels and learnt the hostel etiquette. If you have to leave the hostel at 6 am the next day, pack your pack beforehand. Don't be that asshole who turns the lights on, opens the creaky metal under the bunk lockers to get your bag and start packing at 5 am. It just isn't fair.
Keep your space clean
The way I see it, if it's on your bed - fine, your problem. If I have to step over all of your things - my problem and I'm not happy about that. If your stinky shoes are in the open for everyone to see and smell - yukky! If my first impression of the room is "this si a dump" it is unfair. Keep all of your things in your area and try and keep it clean. Walking into a room with everyone's suitcases exploding makes the room smelly, look small and uninviting. f you have the bottom bunk don't hang your clothes and towels on the stairs unless you want the person in the top to stand on them.
Don't snooze your alarm
Get to that ringing alarm FAST!
Small snoring is okay. If you are disturbing the sleep of others and sounding like a chainsaw - get a private room.
Okay, each to their own but some people feel a little intimidated by people getting naked and openly changed. Waking up naked may also make your dorm mates feel awkward.
Some say 8 am, some say 9 am... I will put here 9 am as it's better to be safe than sorry. After 9 am you feel to stop holding your breathe and do as you must. grab your bag, get changed etc by 9 am your roommates should be up and at it... if they are sleeping off their hangover, it is kind of their problem. You deserve to get on with your day.
Lights, air conditioning and window curtains.
Controlling the rooms temperature and windows should be a group decision. Ask first. This goes for things like putting music on etc. Lights - as above, don't be the asshole who turns the lights on when people are sleeping - common sense and courtesy.
If you arrive at 11 pm and everyone is asleep, don't turn the lights on. quietly use the bathroom to get change. Store your bags and go to sleep. Or check out the communal room. But the lights stay off!
Parties in the dorm room
This is only ever okay if everyone that is staying in the dorm room is partying with you. Otherwise, take it to the communal area.
Sex in the dorm room
This is NEVER okay! NEVER NEVER NEVER! Do NOT be that ASSHOLE! Here is a list of ways to have sex in a hostel
Talking on the phone in the room
Honestly, I can't stand people talking on the phone in confined public spaces such as trains, buses, dorm rooms etc. I don't want to hear your conversation and I don't want to feel like I can't be in the room cause it's your space. Wait until everyone has gone. Perhaps take the call to a private space somewhere. I understand that you miss your loved ones. We all understand, but try to understand and be respectful to others as well.
Thanks for trying to keep quiet, but we can still hear you. Go to the common room, or go to sleep.
Smells and sprays
I can't tell you how many mixed dorms smell of a cocktail or cheap ladies perfume and over applied men's perfume (mixed with stink shoes and farts, as well as body odours of backpackers who don't believe showers are important (they are). Do not over apply your body sprays, oils, aftershave etc... it's just not nice. Keep your smelly stuff in a draw. Wash your clothes. etc
Please, please please, keep your dirty laundry somewhere else. I don't want to see your underwear, socks, etc Keep it confined to your bed space.
Plastic bags suck!
This is one of the top ten hated items in a dorm room. They are noisy and annoying.
Don't bring strong smelling food into the room
Eat that 5 am kebab before you get to your room!
In the Kitchen
Hostel kitchens are great! They enable you to be able to cheaply cook, allowing you to save on your budget. They are a place to get to know other hostel visitors and they even allow the wonderful tradition of group meals! However, When cooking, keep it simple. Try using one-pot meals and things that don't make too much mess or take hours on end. Nobody wants to wait for you to finish cooking your roast pork. Stick with pasta and rice but keep it to one - two pots/pans minimum. Allow others to use the equipment by keeping your time down.
If you are cooking at home, you can leave your mess and enjoy your dinner before cleaning. In a hostel, clean your mess as you go or before you eat. Nobody wants to have to clean your dishes. In fact, this isn't just for cooking... clean ALL of your own dishes.
Now, this isn't a hostel etiquette. It's simply a nice thing to do. If you made too much food, or want to share, go for it. If someone comes in saying "oh that smells nice" it's time for you to say "oh would you like to try some?" If you don't have enough to give away, that is fine. Sharing food is one of the best ways to build a friendship.
Don't abuse the freebies
Some hostels have communal kitchens with freebies... tea, coffee, milk... some go as far as to provide pasta and rice etc... don't be a scab and take more then what is needed. If you don't need it, don't take it. It isn't far to other guest.
So your hostel offers a buffet breakfast for free. Just the basics, toast, ceral, cold meats and so on. The general rule is to not take extra to make yourself a packed lunch. Now I know some hostel goers ignore this rule as its set up by the hostel staff - guess what! It is also a bad hostel etiquette.
Stealing food makes you an asshole
Just because it is in the communal fridge, doesn't mean it is yours. It's not okay in the office space and it's not okay in the hostel kitchen either. If it is communal or freebie food - you will know it. If you have to guess, don't take it.