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My Midwestern roots make me hypersensitive to being polite. It is a sickness. I’ve been known to take my pack into the hallway so I wouldn’t disturb others when I needed to get something out while people were sleeping.

There are many unwritten rules to hostel etiquette, and after spending a few weeks in a hostel you’ll start to pick up on the little annoying/rude things people do.  I think most 'infractions' boil down to being inexperienced with hostel living, but there are a few cardinal rules that hosteler should be aware of.

Clean your own dishes: Hostels with kitchens are great, but many people just leave their dirty dishes in the sink. This isn’t cool. Even if you only use a cup, wash it. It only takes two minutes so there are no excuses.

Pack your crap early: When I have to check out of the hostel super early I always get everything ready and shower the night before. I make sure everything is packed, and I set out my outfit for the next day. The next morning I get dressed, stash my sleeping clothes and I’m out of the room in five minutes. I do my best to keep as quiet as possible. This concept is lost on many people. There aren’t as many things as annoying as someone spending 30 minutes loudly packing all their belongings at 5am.

Keep the lights off: Every hostel has that jerk who barges into the room and flips the lights on at 3am. Most rooms aren’t pitch black so just take 30 seconds let your eyes to adjust to the light before finding your bed. Or use a key chain flashlight or the light from your phone.

No parties in the room: The dorm room isn’t for drinking games, it’s for sleeping.  Almost every hostel has a room for parties. Keep it there.

All is fair after 8am: Rule 37 of the Geneva Convention - Thou shall not get pissed at the people packing/getting ready for their day if the time is after 8am.  After 8am people are free to do whatever they please so don’t all get pissy because you’re hungover.

Plastic bags suck: For some reason the sound of plastic bags is about 100x louder from about 1am-8am. Every crinkle goes straight to your brain. Unfortunately a lot of people pack all their junk in various plastic bags.  Please keep your plastic bag usage time during the day.
Snoring: Sleep on your side if you snore. Tell your roommates that it’s cool if they hit you with a pillow if you start snoring. Get your own room is you’re a crazy loud snorer.

Don't hog the heaters: The radiator is a great place to dry your towel/wet clothes but try not to hog it all day. Conversely, don’t just throw people’s towels onto the floor when you want to use the heater, fold it neatly and place it somewhere.

Keep night whispers to a minimum: Whispering at late at night isn’t much better than normal talking. This isn’t the time to have a deep philosophical discussion.

Alarm clocks: Most people use their phone as an alarm clock. This isn’t a problem. But please don’t stash your phone somewhere deep in your bag because scrambling through your bag for five minutes while the alarm goes off is pretty damn annoying. Make sure you put your phone in an accessible location. On a related note: the snooze is prohibited.

Loud drunks: Getting drunk is fine but leave the loud drunk-talk at the bar.

Don’t hog the bathroom: Get in, get out. Enough said.

Guitar dude: Seriously? You’re so damn cool with your guitar. It really shows how you’re so unique. Please don’t play it in the room; actually, don’t play it in the hostel.

This article was written by James at The Savvy Backpacker. You can follow The Savvy Backpacker on Twitter here, and find James and Susan on Facebook here.

Image credit: Thinkstock


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Hostel etiquette: How to make friends and not be an ass
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