| by Emanuela Milanesi | No comments

The Unspoken Rules of Hostels

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Hostel sojourns are always a roll of the dice. You might wind up with annoying roommates that you can’t wait to be rid of. On the other hand, you could meet a friend for life during your stay.

It’s safe to say that your experience with a hostel largely depends on the people you share the space with. However, while the people are a variable, hostel etiquette rarely is.

There are a few unwritten rules of staying in hostels, and they go beyond don’t steal and don’t eat other people’s food. To save you confusion and embarrassment down the line, we’ve outlined the most sacred of them. They’ll come in handy, promise.

Don’t Be Messy

This one sounds pretty obvious, right? Being slovenly is seldom appealing to anyone, so don’t make a pigsty out of your shared premises.

Well, this may sound simple enough at a glance, but the problem lies in setting a clear line between permissible and prohibited. It makes sense that laying your used underwear on the dining table won’t make you any friends, but what about, let’s say, not washing a spoon the second you’ve used it?

That’s a nuanced question, and we won’t go over every single situation that might come up. But here’s a quick rundown of what you can do to not come off as messy in most common hostel situations:

  • Keep your laundry confined to your bed area
  • Wash your dirty dishes as soon as you’re done using them
  • Don’t spread your stuff across all the chairs, stools, and shelves in the common area
  • Don’t leave your belongings on the floor

Talk to People

Hostels aren’t just about finding cheaper lodgings (at least we hope they aren’t just about that to you). More than anything else, they’re an opportunity to meet people and involve yourself in new conversations or situations.

To that end, cooping yourself up in a corner, sitting silently, and staring blankly like a killer mannequin isn’t productive. You should take full advantage of the biggest perk of hostels — socializing. There are so many fascinating people that you can interact with during your stay, and you can learn so much from one another.

Learn how to start conversation the right way.

Don’t worry about coming off as pushy, clingy, or anything of the sort. The majority of hostel guests know the whole experience is about talking to new people. In all likelihood, they’ll be more than happy to get to know you, and vice versa.

You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have if you include yourself in the hostel group. Exchange experiences, ideas, talk about mutual interests, be curious, and be open. That’s a recipe for a great time at any hostel.

Do Your Own Dishes

It isn’t exactly a shocker to learn that your roommates expect you to wash your own dishes. There won’t be anyone around to clean up after you, so don’t hope for a personal maid while you’re there. Doing the dishes is one of the primary hostel rules.

The best practice is to wash everything as soon as you use it. Even if it’s just a little spoon that you used for a few licks of Nutella, clean it right away.

By doing that, you save yourself from having to wash a whole pile of dishes, picking your out from those used by other guests. Not only that, but you’ll avoid getting into conflicts with your fellow travelers if they’re particularly averse to sloppy behavior.

No Sex

Unless you’ve got a group sex kind of deal going on, hostel sex is a big no-no. Nobody (with a few pervy exceptions) wants to hear you going to town on your lover in the dead of night while you’re mere feet away from them. That’s more of a private room activity.

Despite this pretty uncontroversial, common-sense opinion, there are a lot of people out there that get off to getting it on in hostels, even if they’re packed with people. Granted, it’s often a spur of the moment thing rather than a premeditated rump, but impulse is no excuse for getting yourself in a situation you could have avoided.

If you simply must partake in the carnal pleasures, you can book your own room. That way, you won’t get on anyone’s nerves. On top of that, you can be as kinky and loud as you can without the fear of being seen and judged.

Respect Quiet Hours

Every hostel has its own quiet hours during which you aren’t supposed to make a lot of noise. They’re typically between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., although they can start or end at any reasonable (or otherwise) time. Their purpose is to give people a chance to catch a good night’s sleep.

Making a ruckus in these hours is a major hostel taboo, so we strongly urge you to avoid doing that. So that means no parties or drunken banter — the time and place for that is at the bar or the designated party area of the hostel you’re staying at.

Conventional loudness isn’t the only thing that could break the silent pack in many people’s view, however. For example, plastic bags can be startlingly loud, so shy away from ripping into that bag of chips you have a mighty craving for at 2 a.m.

Avoid Snoring

If you snore, it isn’t really your fault or something you can control to a meaningful extent. However, it still impacts your dorm mates’ ability to sleep. Don’t think that everyone has earplugs to deal with it — many people can’t sleep with them on or simply don’t have them.

So the best solution is to fix your snoring problem if you can. If you have a snoring aid at your disposal, make sure you use it every night you’re at the hostel.

A lot of us don’t have snoring aids. So if you don’t either, you can ask your roommates to wake you up in case your snoring becomes too loud to ignore.

See these best snoring remedies.

Pack Beforehand

Imagine this: you’re at a hostel, and you have an early flight super early tomorrow. When do you pack? If your answer was to pack the night before you leave, you’d be sorely mistaken. In fact, that’s a surefire way to piss off a lot of people in your hostel room.

Rather, do your packing the day before you have to leave, and do it before quiet hours. You won’t bother people when they’re trying to get some rest, and you won’t have to fumble about hurriedly in the morning as you struggle to pack at the speed of light.