One of the best ways to cut your travel expenses is to stay in a hostel. This kind of accommodation is often more affordable than hotels and apartments, especially in larger cities, which is why it is a popular option for different types of travelers.
If you have never stayed in a hostel before—or any kind of shared accommodation, for that matter—it is imperative that you learn the basic etiquette for hostel guests. To start, here are things that you should never do while staying in a hostel:
1. Making noise when someone is asleep
It doesn’t matter if it’s two in the afternoon or eleven in the evening, if someone is sleeping, be careful not to make too much noise. Traveling is exhausting, and every hostel guest deserves to get some undisturbed shuteye at any point of the day. You should never be making too much noise in a hostel in the first place, regardless if someone is asleep or not.
2. Inviting other people
Staying at a hostel is a lot of fun mainly because hostels are in the middle of where the all the city life is. There are a lot of opportunities to meet new people, party with strangers, and socialize to your heart’s content. However, don’t bring the party back to your hostel. Inviting people over is a no-no, even if the other hostel guests are the outgoing type.
3. Being messy
A downside to staying in a shared space is that you can’t be as messy as you want. Remember that other people are staying there, too, and they certainly don’t want to see your belongings all over the place. Be sure to clean up after yourself, keep your things organized, and make your bed after you sleep in it.
4. Hogging the bathroom
It is common for hostels to have communal bathrooms. Some have smaller bathrooms that can accommodate only one person at a time, while some are gym-type bathrooms with multiple showers and toilets. Either way, make sure that you don’t stay too long in the bathroom. A reasonable amount of time will be around fifteen to thirty minutes; any longer than that and your hostel mates may start to dislike you.
5. Sleeping half-naked
Even if you are sure that the other guests won’t mind (and even if you are of the same sex), don’t sleep half-naked. It is impolite and may cause discomfort for others, especially if you are staying in a co-ed hostel. Unless you are staying with friends, keep all of your clothes on when you turn in for the night.
6. Asking others to look after your stuff
Other guests are not obligated to watch over your stuff. That said, anything that you leave lying around is at risk of getting lost or stolen. Don’t ask other guests to keep an eye on your stuff either; they are in no way obligated to do so and will not be responsible if your belongings magically disappear. If you are worried about the security of your stuff, use the locker space or bring it with you.
7. Bringing highly odorous food in the dorm
Some hostels impose a rule that guests are only allowed to eat in the kitchen or dining areas. Even if your hostel doesn’t have such a rule, avoid eating in the dorm, especially if it’s something that emits a potent odor. Other hostel guests won’t appreciate it, and there is a chance that the smell will stay in the room for hours.
8. Turning on the lights past eleven
No one likes being woken up with a bright light searing their eyeballs. If the lights are already turned off, use your flashlight to make your way to your bed or find whatever you are looking for.
9. Not using earphones
Whenever you have to take a call, watch a video, or listen to a voice message, use your earphones. No one else wants to hear whatever you are watching or listening to, especially when other people are trying to sleep.
10. Snoring excessively
Okay, you probably don’t have control over this, but if you tend to snore excessively, consider booking a private room. A light snore probably won’t bother others much, and people do expect other guests to snore when they book a hostel. But if you sound like a freight train, maybe book a room (or share one with a friend that sleeps like a log) or use nasal strips.
Hostels are great for socializing and making new friends. If you want people to like you, though, be sure not to make these hostel etiquette mistakes.