What Not To Do When Staying In a Hostel

As I’m about to return home from a backpacking trip around England, I have some opinions on hostels. Although they’re typically good experiences, the people you’re sharing a room with certainly make or break it. Here are some of my biggest “don’ts” when staying in hostels.

1. Don’t turn the lights on when people are trying to sleep

Note that I am currently writing this at midnight as someone turned on the light that’s next to my bed. I’ve had people turn the lights on at 10:30pm to get unpacked when some are sleeping and had someone turn them on at 2am when everyone’s sleeping. Whatever time it is, respect your neighbors and just use your phone flashlight. No one likes being woken up by fluorescent lights being turned on.

2. Don’t swap beds without letting the hostel know

Some hostels have a no bed swapping policy, some don’t. Either way, after a long day of traveling and going up to your dorm only to find someone already asleep in your bed is beyond annoying. Typically hostels will have a different bed open if you don’t like your assigned one. Save your bed’s rightful tenant the struggle and let your hostel manager know if you decide to switch.

3. Don’t ask someone to stop coughing/sneezing

True story, my friend was once very rudely asked in the middle of the night to stop coughing. The hard pill to swallow for some people is that if you can’t deal with any sound while you sleep, then maybe a hostel isn’t the place for you. At the very least invest in a good pair of ear plugs. Or, offer them NyQuil if you have any. It gets the same message across politely.

4. Don’t (read: NEVER) have sex in the dorm

And I literally mean never. No matter how quiet you think you are, you’re not. Hostel bunks are notoriously squeaky and your dorm mates will always hear you. That’s a promise. That being said, if your hostel’s bathroom is a single person that’s totally fair game (side note: this is one of the many reasons cheap flip flops or other shower shoes are a must in your travels). For the record, this rule should be followed in ALL dorm situations (college, I'm looking at you) unless you genuinely want your roommate(s) to hate you.

5. Don’t get naked with others in the dorm

No matter how comfortable you are with your body, I can assure you that at least one of your dorm mates doesn’t want to see your bare butt. Gather your clothes and change in the bathroom or designated changing room. Changing under covers is also a valid option.

6. Don’t talk while others are asleep

At least whisper. Come on now. No matter how quiet you think you are, your dorm mates will be woken up by your conversation. True story, last night I was kept up by two ladies talking for about an hour at one in the morning. Not cool guys.

Unless you’re trying to make enemies, please take these to heart.