5 Pillars Of Hostel Etiquette (and why you shouldn’t break them)
Updated: Dec 24, 2019
No matter whether you’re a veteran backpacker or a hostel virgin staying in a dorm room for the first time, there are some unspoken rules that everyone should know like the back of their hand. If you want to avoid eternal hatred from the staff and your roommates, or ending up on the hostel’s wall of shame, have a read through this post and keep it in mind (just for future reference).
#1 THE SWEET SOUND OF YOUR ALARM AT 5 AM (AND THE RUSTLING OF PLASTIC BAGS)
We get it: you’ve got an early tour, or flight, or bus, or whatever. And you might not be a morning person, like the one who’s currently typing this post into existence. And nothing is wrong with an alarm per se, but if you are one of these Satanic people who set an alarm for 5 AM in a futile attempt to catch a train that you’re going to miss anyway, and then snooze said alarm 8 times in a row, waking up every single living being in a 4 kilometer radius, you deserve nothing but eternal damnation in the 7th circle of hell, because that’s where your roommates end up as you’re catching these sweet zzz’s and they’ve been brutally ripped from their slumber. Same goes for people who are fully aware of the fact that they’re going to need to pack every single one of their belongings into a plastic bag and then decide to do it when everyone else is sleeping. Just do it the night before, like a civilised human who respects other humans around them, instead of polluting the sacred silence of a dorm with never-ending rustling.
#2 ...AND THE SWEET SOUND OF FORNICATION
Yeah, “fornication” is putting it lightly. As a long-time hostel worker, who’s had to fix the “I’m sorry to bother you, but someone’s having really loud sex in my room” issue more times than I can count, I have two words for people who decide to go at it in a fully booked 14 person dorm: BATHROOMS EXIST. And I get it, some people have an exhibitionist side to them, but there are other places to embrace it than a hostel dorm. Nobody wants to hear your grunts and moans in the middle of the night (or, God forbid, the day), trust me. If you lock yourselves in a nearby bathroom, you’re saving yourselves the walk of shame (or stride of pride, as others like to call it, no judgements) into the common room in the morning, keeping whatever shreds of dignity you’ve got, and getting props from your co-sleepers for being respectful of their time. Gentlemen: same goes for rubbing one out. No matter how sneaky you think you’re being, you’re not. Everyone can see the dick-shaped tent under your duvet.
#3 ALCOHOL RELATED SICKNESS
This point applies especially to those of you who like to stay in party hostels. Party hostels are very popular across Europe, and might seem like a no-rules paradise at the first sight, but even the craziest ones have a breaking point. And I can guarantee you that you can have the best night of your life, and even drink a little too much without spewing the contents of your entire stomach all over the floor. Or the stairs. Or the dorm room wall (yes, that’s happened before). And for the love of God, if you feel like you’re going to vomit, run to the bathroom, or ask a staff member to bring you a bucket. We’re not gonna judge, as that’s still better than having to spend an hour of our shift scrubbing your dinner off the floor. So by all means, have all the fun you possibly can, just please, please, please aim for the toilet bowl when you throw up.
#4 OLD MATE GOOGLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
90% of the questions you ask the hostel staff, be it via e-mail, phone, or in person, are actually easily solved with a 2 second google search. And yes, we’re here for you, and we can help you with anything you want. But please, don’t expect the person behind the desk to have the train schedule memorized, or to be some sort of an all-knowing alpha & omega. Especially when the thing you’re asking about is written on the hostel’s website in giant letters, or something that you’ve been told at check-in five minutes beforehand. Also: reading comprehension is a skill that seems to be dying in today’s society, so don’t book a party hostel and then write a review that it was “loud” and “rowdy”. You knew what you were signing up for, especially if the word “party” is in the hostel’s name. That’s like complaining about water being wet.
#5 THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE DESK ARE (SHOCKINGLY) HUMAN
Possibly the most important rule of them all. If you’ve ever worked a customer-facing role, you probably are already aware of this, but if you have not, please realize: the people serving you are, in fact, people. They are not robots, they have feelings, they have bad days, or stressful days, when it feels like the hostel is one dickhead short of catching on fire. Unless they’re being unprofessional, unhelpful or just plain rude, there’s no reason for you to be horrible to them. Because you might have had a bad day too, but why would you want to take it out on someone who’s done nothing wrong in the first place? And actually, if you’re being an asshole from the get-go, they have all the power to make your stay as unpleasant as possible in ways that you don’t even realize were possible. BUT if you’re nice to them, they will help you out with even the most insane, or seemingly impossible issues, and even become friends with you! So please, remember what your mother (hopefully) taught you - use “hello”, “please” and “thank you” the way they were intended to be used, wash your fucking dishes and don’t take your anger out on them for something out of their control. After all, the whole point of staying (and working) in hostels is to be social, and to make friends, so don’t treat the person on the other side like an enemy - treat them like an equal, and a friend you haven’t met yet.