Travel Features

Dos and Don’ts of Hostel Living

hostel living tip

We’ve all been there… sharing a hostel dorm room with ten or so backpackers, all the best of buddies during daylight hours, but when night rolls in there’s a small clique who decide that a 4am drinking session is just the ticket, or one who snores so loudly nobody else gets to sleep.

There are rules of etiquette when you check into a hostel, especially if you’re sharing a dorm room. Here are the dos and don’ts of hostel living – take heed or risk the wrath of your fellow travellers:

The Dos

Hostel advice - our dos and dontsDO: suss out the vibe of the hostel before you book/rock up. If you like to sight-see at the crack of dawn, a party hostel is not going to be for you. Similarly, if boozing all night and sleeping all day is what floats your boat, you’ll definitely have less fun and/or annoy people if you pick somewhere quiet and out-of-town.

DO: label your food and drink if you’re storing it in the shared kitchen. Otherwise you’re just asking for it to be stolen (and believe me, it will be).

DO: shower. It is no fun sharing a dorm with a backpacker who thinks “travelling” equates “getting back to nature” – it doesn’t and there’s no excuse (unless you are jungle trekking, and if you’re sharing a dorm in a hostel, chances are you won’t be).

DO: pack up your stuff the evening before you leave. There is nothing more annoying that listening to the swearing, cursing and bumping of a traveller trying to locate their things in a darkened early-morning dorm room.

The Don’ts

advice for staying in a hostelDON’T: leave you backpack/clothes/phone charger in the middle of the floor. Have you ever stepped onto a phone charger in the middle of the night? Take it from me, it hurts like hell (and didn’t enamour me to the guy who left it lying there) .

DON’T: have sex in a mixed dorm. Nobody else wants to hear it; no matter how quiet discreet you think you’re being.

DON’T: put the light on in the middle of the night, when everybody else is sleeping. Navigate with your phone light if you have to, better still a small wind-up torch.

DON’T: hog the internet (if the hostel you’re staying in has WiFi). Because other people want to keep in touch with home too, and you shouldn’t go travelling to spend a year updating your Facebook wall.

DON’T: assume everyone shares the same taste in music as you. Oh and on that note, playing “world music” on repeat because you think it makes you sound oh-so-well-travelled is just wrong.

Have your say

Follow these basic rules, and making friends out of your fellow hostel dormers should be as easy as getting drunk during a Full Moon Party!

Do you have any more tips and advice for fellow backpackers and hostel dwellers? Post your comments below!

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4 Comments


  1. I Hart Travel

    August 12, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Don’t assume that every solo traveler you meet wants their new hostel roommate to join them every where they go. That one bugs me every time. I think too many people think that if you’re traveling solo, it just means that you want to make friends every where that you can hang out with. That may be true sometimes but not all the time.

    Good post Nadia!

  2. Nadia

    August 12, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I’ve had that happen to me too… good one! I like travelling as a group, but sometimes just want a bit of peace and quiet to be anti-social, you know? :)

  3. Gerard ~ GQ trippin

    October 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    The internet hogs bug me out too. Every hostel needs to post a sign with some thing like “15 min limit” when it gets busy. FB is great, but you don’t need to be glued to a comp when you’re traveling! Great post.

  4. Sydney Budget Accommodation

    March 2, 2012 at 7:12 am

    All true! Thanks for sharing these Do’s and Don’ts of Hostel Living.

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