Smush a raggedy band of exhausted, jet lagged backpackers into a single room and you get complications. That’s right, problems, issues that arise from differences in culture, personal hygiene, modesty, and even degrees of obliviousness. Oblivious to what you ask? Oh, maybe to the fact that the entire room hates listening to Britney Spears at 2 in the morning, or at anytime really.

This is hostel life. They’re booked for budget prices and extra facilities, not for comfort. Some are absolute dirt holes, others aren’t so awful, but either deal’s a far cry from a luxury suite at the Mariott. Since you’re already braced for the worst, you may as well reduce your contribution to the nastiness of hostel life. Be the change you want to see and all that jazz, correct? Yep, keep reading, get educated on the basics of hostel etiquette, and help make everyone’s stay a little more pleasant.

Music Without Earbuds

Wowzers, first one in and we’re slaying giants already. Guys, gals, nobody, and I mean nobody enjoys listening to your tinny sounding auto-tune popstars sounding even tinnier from your phone’s low quality speakers. No, scratch that, we likely won’t be grooving to anything on your play-list, high quality sound or not. People jive to different beats. Respect that and invest in some ear buds.

Public Nudity

We get it. The hostel manager told you to make yourself at home, so naturally you stripped down right then and there whilst whistling a chirpy tune. But really, modesty is a virtue in general settings and a godsend in hostels. It’s no fun having to awkwardly walk around counting dots on the ceiling because some loosey goose is strutting about with their stuff on display. So please, cover up, people don’t need to know you that well.

Airing Dirty Laundry

It’s common practice in hostels to wash your stale, sweat-petrified clothes by hand to save cash on laundry machines. Unfortunately, many hostels provide zero accessories for hanging clothes to dry outside, so that leaves the bed posts of your bunk. Not a huge issue, except when your cleaning effort was paltry at best. Wet, sweaty clothes reek. And everyone around you has to endure the reek. Use soap or rinse your clothes thoroughly, and you should be good.

Lights On, Lights Off

When entering a room of sleeping strangers at half past midnight, is it appropriate to turn the light on? No, no it’s not. Nearly every traveler, however scrappy, is equip with phone or similar luminescent device. Use it, and quietly creep about your way. Better yet, if you plan to return late, prearrange your bedtime items to reduce noise from shuffling through your things at night.

Kitchen Cleanliness

Acting the role of chef supreme is great fun until cleanup time arrives. It’s then that all the hostel’s chef supremes hang up their funky caps and book it, leaving a catastrophic mound of food encrusted dishes in their spurious wake. Please, help reduce the impact from lazy dish dirtiers. Make like a boyscout and leave that kitchen better than you found it! Or at least handle your own mess.


Chronic Sickness

This one is a bit tricky. We don’t plan to be caught with fevers and sore throats or endless diarrhea. And we certainly wouldn’t plan such things outside the comfort of our own home. With that said, your illness inflicted misery can make everyone around you just as miserable. Nothing like trying to sleep when “Neighbor Aber” is coughing up his lungs every ten seconds. When your system succumbs to infection, do yourself and everyone else a favor by renting a private room.

Secret Smokers

Smoking is banned inside most hostels, but they’re quite generous about letting smokers light up on balconies or in courtyards. Which is why it’s perplexing to open the bathroom door to an ash pile on the toilet seat. Or when the scent of tobacco has inexplicably settled into your belongings. Smoke it up if that’s your forte, but spare others the consequences of your habit by doing so outside. Thank you.

The Early Checkout

Why leave your possessions a scattered mess the night before an 8am flight? It’s bad enough having to groggily traipse about the dorm procuring odds and ends to pack in. It’s even worse when you’re waking everybody up with your rummaging. It’s just common sense. Pack up whatever you can the night before so when that early checkout time swings around… Boom, ready to go, no sweat.

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