I absolutely love hostels and recommend staying in one to everyone and their grandma. Staying in a hostel is a great place to get great travel advice, to hear incredible stories, and lets be frank… meet some of the weirdest but wonderful people you’ve ever met in your life. But it’s all part of the charm!
However there is a dark side……..
No, I am not referring to the famous horror film ‘Hostel’, I’m talking about something much worse…badly behaved guests. Take it from me that whilst working in a hostel the number one complaint I received was about the other people staying there.
Yep that’s right- worse than your food going missing in the fridge, worse than a blocked toilet, even worse than the patchy wifi. Nothing can make or break your experience in a hostel more than the people you meet there. Lord knows (pun intented) I have stayed in some of the shittiest hostels but had the best time because of the other guests, and equally I have stayed in incredible hostels where it has been awful because of the people I’ve roomed with.
Creating a better world all starts within so with that in mind I’ve compilled a list of my top ten 10 list of hostel commandments everyone must follow to avoid a life of hostel sin.
1) Thou must shine their own light
A simple rule to forget, but a one no-one will forgive you for. Walking into your dorm room and trying to find your bed in the dark feels like something out of mission impossible. Between the backpacks and clothes strewn everywhere it has to be one of the least relaxing activities before a nice snooze, so no-one blames you for wanting a light to avoid the embarrassment of a potential injury. However, for the love of god please do not turn on the light! There is nothing that interrupts that dream involving (insert your own celebrity crush here) more than the lightbulb brighter than heaven itself piercing into your eyeballs. Especially in the age of having a torch on your phone there is no excuse to interrupt my time with Dwayne The Rock Johnson again.
2) Thou must limit noisy things to the daytime
Sorting through the man-made mountain that we all call a backpack is never easy, and it certainly isn’t quiet. For that reason if you decide you just HAVE to find that ‘I heart Paris’ keyring that is hiding right at the bottom of your backpack- please don’t do this when everyone else is sleeping.
If you need to leave in the middle of the night or early in the morning try to do your best to pack as much as you can the day before. Saves you time and stress and lets everyone else catch some more zzz’s. Good karma my dudes.
3) Thou must respect personal space
Having stuff whilst travelling is a fact of life, is it called backpacking for a reason! Some have very little stuff like a man I met in Cuba who didn’t even bring a phone, and others resemble a teenage mutant ninja turtles with their backpack on. Either way, your stuff is your stuff, my stuff is my stuff and fate has decided to room us together in this strange invention called a hostel.
So when it looks like a bomb has gone off in your room and someone elses stuff is everywhere including in your personal space, it is plain inconsiderate. It is no-one elses responsibility to clean up after you, so please keep your own stuff in your own area, sincerely from everyone who has ever woken up to someone else’s worn socks next to their head xox
4) Thou must keep thy belonging secure and locked up in the hostel
Following on from commandment number 3- a shared hostel room is not your own personal bedroom. For your own sake please lock up any valuables that you may be travelling with! The cost of a lock for the locker is a lot less than the cost and the hassle of getting back all your stolen items.
5) Thou must refrain from coitus in shared rooms
I don’t think I need to explain this one…… though you may be having the time of your life I assure you absolutely NO-ONE else in your shared room is. Especially in cheaper countries where private rooms are cost between $7-10 per night, don’t be an A-hole and pay a bit extra so no-one else has to experience your mid-night nookie.
6) Thou must not come back drunk and noisy
We get it- you’ve living it up feeling like an extra from ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’ in the clubs all night. The club has shut and you want to continue the party… You know who doesn’t want to continue the party? Every single other person who is sleeping in your room. Maybe I’m going on a hike in the morning, maybe I’m ill or maybe I just want a early night in to get my beauty sleep. Either way what I don’t want is you falling in and puking all over the room (true story). You don’t need to stop the party but please keep it in the common areas of the hostels for the sake of all us sleeping beauties.
7) Thou must remain fresh
There is no delicate way to say this… sometimes people smell. Its natural you’ve just hiked up a volcano in the tropical heat. Very cool, very admirable. Staying in the same clothes and not showering for the next couple of days is less admirable. Travelling is said to at times be an assault on the senses, but our own body odor doesn’t have the be part of that, so for everyone’s sake please shower!
8) Thou must clean up after thyself in the hostel
Everyone loves a hostel with a kitchen you can cook in! What everyone doesn’t love is going to the kitchen and having to wash up everyone else’s stuff before you can use anything because it is all already dirty. This is especially sad if you are hungover (a collective tear shed). You may be having your masterchef moment in the kitchen- that’s cool you do you- just remember to wash up after your 4 michellin star meal. The same principles goes for the toilet and any other public space in the hostel, be considerate guys!
9) Thou must keep your electronic devices quiet
I can put my hands up here and say I have sinned. Do you ever wake up but have literally no idea where you are? I hope so because this happens to me all the time! This combines with my annoying habit of snoozing my alarm for 1-2 hours before I actually get up. Does it actually give you a lie-in? No. Does it even make any sense? No. Do I do it anyway? Everyday. We all have out faults. Embarassingly this 2 hour snooze-cycle happened in a hostel when I forgot I even was sharing a room (facepalm).
However, doing this in a shared room will win you absolutely zero friends. Phones are noisy so make sure your notifications are on silent, and if you wake up with an alarm- please don’t snooze it for two hours. It makes you an asshole (a humble apology to everyone who shared a room with me that fateful day in Antigua :'(! )
10) Thou must come to the hostel ready to socialise
Lastly, but most importantly socialize with other people! There is absolutely nothing worse than a hostel room full of silent people. Most people go to a hostel firstly because its cheap, but secondly to socialize with other people and make new friends (backpacking can be lonely afterall). So arriving to a silent room is such a bummer!
I remember staying in a hostel in Malaga in Spain. It was one of those dreaded silent hostel room moments. I had just got a tattoo which meant I was cleaning it twice a day. Unfortunately for me that meant wrapping myself in cling film until I resembled a turkey. Because the tattoo was on my ribs under my bra I had to do this in the bathroom. As you can imagine this was a very noisy experience and because no-one talked to each other in this room it felt too weird to stand up in front of the entire room for my own personal announcement to say what I was doing. To this day I don’t know what people thought I was doing with an entire roll of cling film and some unusual plastic squeaking sounds in the bathroom. It is one of life’s great mysteries…
So to avoid becoming the weird clingfilm girl follow these 10 simple hostel commandments to become your own sinless hostel angel!
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