Hostel Etiquette 101

I’ve had my fair share of the hostel sort; loud, entertaining, quiet, shy, extroverted, introverted, travelling, job searching, you name it.

And that’s the thing with people who stay in hostels—there are so many reasons why they are where they are that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes them tick (or what ticks them off).

So while on my travels I picked up a few rules of thumb that not only help me live a more easy-going travel life but also show my fellow travellers that I’m a respectful bunk mate.

Whether you’re on your first reservation or even your last, there’s a couple rules of thumb that make life easier, so check out my 11 tips for a comfortable and successful hostel experience!

1. Don’t do anything in your room except sleep after midnight. No hair drying, no showering, no chatting, no internet surfing. And don’t even think about turning on the light.

2. You can treat the hostel like your home, but not your own room. This covers a lot of things: you can be barefoot in the room (not in the common area), keep yourself decent at all times (no nudity!), wash up your dishes after use (don’t leave them dirty), don’t leave your laundry alone for too long (it holds up the line). And the number one pet peeve? Don’t take up more space with your stuff in your dorm than is reasonable.

3. Don’t leave your shower stuff in the bathroom. This is to protect your stock as much as it is to keep the shared areas clutter-free.

4. Cook for a meal or two in the shared kitchen, it’s a great way to meet friends. Ditto for the hostel bar, there’s no reason not to grab a pint before the night really begins!

5. Don’t spend too long on the free computers. This one is a no-brainer; let someone else who needs it have a chance!

6. Check out the common areas for tips on where to eat and where to play. There’s great deals, great parties, and great experiences all over the hostel, you just have to check out the info boards!

7. Don’t ask a question from the staff until you’ve already tried figuring it out for yourself. Honestly, there are probably signs all over the hostel telling you where the bar is. Don’t ask before you’ve given the building a good look around—imagine how many people ask those same questions everyday!

8. Be mindful of what time it is. Are you creeping out for a pre-dawn jog? Coming in from a really great night out? Just be courteous and don’t slam any doors at 5 am. No one will appreciate it!

9. Talk to the staff. Ask them for recommendations between two restaurants you’ve seen on the common board or where they like to drink after they get off work. You’ll get the local perspective and maybe a friend to have a beer with.

10. Check out the free stuff. Hostels are places for people travelling on a budget, so check out what’s available for free—it’s a good way to save a little extra.

11. Leave a TripAdvisor review. Did you really enjoy the party one of the receptionists recommended? Did the wifi work really well? Say that. It’s good for the hostel personnel to know what you’re enjoying about your stay. You should also voice your concerns here, just remember what things are out of the hostel’s control—like snoring guests!


Whether you’re a first-time stayer or a frequent bunker, the hostel life comes with it’s own quirks and now you’ll be better prepared for living it up hostel style.

Are you an avid hostel booker with your own special tips? Leave your comments below, I’d love to learn a new thing or two!

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