Hostel Etiquette: Tips and Tricks

Staying at a hostel can require a whole bunch of rules that you might not be aware of when you are booking your backpacking trip. If you’ve never stayed at a hostel before, it can be a little intimidating—there are both positive and negative factors associated with staying at hostels. It can help to know a few basic rules beforehand and to remember to be courteous to the other people who are staying there.

Be respectful of others sleeping.

No matter what time of day it is, if there is someone in your room, you need to be quiet and thoughtful while they rest. Sometimes, your other bunkmates might have had a long flight to get to your destination and they’re not adjusted to the time change. When you are in the room with someone trying to sleep, keep in mind that you would probably be annoyed if you had loud roomies too.

Be friendly.

We all have days when we don’t want to chat with our fellow travelers. Maybe we’re homesick and waiting for a Skype call or we went out to party the night before and now we’re feeling a night in. Even if you aren’t feeling your most friendly, you’ll want to be kind to the others staying at the hostel with you. (No hostile environment at the hostel. Yes, I know that was terrible.) You never know—you might want to go out with them another night or make a few friends to keep in touch with. If you’re standoffish or rude, it’s unlikely that you’ll have either of those things.

But not too friendly.

On the other hand, give people space when they need it. It’s definitely encouraged to ask your bunkmate out for a drink—but maybe not to sleep in your bunk with you. According to a recent poll by, 69.3% of travelers have hooked up with a local while abroad. Personally, I think this is great, but a hostel room might not be the best place to do it. Keep in mind that other people have to use the room too and they shouldn’t have to tiptoe around you when you’ve brought someone back to the room.

Keep an open mind.

A hostel is a gathering place of many different cultures, so you might find that some of the habits of your roomies might be a bit odd or you might not agree with. Be flexible and aware that just because it doesn’t make sense to you and you don’t like it, it doesn’t make it wrong. Keeping an open mind is important in all aspects of traveling, and it also makes it a lot easier when you are willing to roll with the punches a bit.

Have you ever had a bad hostel etiquette experience? How do you remain respectful of others while staying at a hostel?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander


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