I love staying in hostels – they’re cheap, they’re fun and the people that you can meet can really make a trip memorable. What makes a good hostel dormmate though? Or, more importantly, how do you make sure you’re not the subject of those hostel anecdotes you hear around the common room?
1. Think before you spray
Yes we really do want you to use deodorant, but we also don’t want to wake up to a haze of Lynx Africa – stand by a window or go to the shower/corridor or something. You don’t know what medical conditions other people may have either, so just be respectful when you’re spraying away.
2. Avoid leaving your crap everywhere
I get it – we all have stuff, some bags are too big for the lockers and nobody wants to put their dirty shoes in with their clean clothes. When it gets to the point where you have covered the floor, table, windowsills and mirror with your crap though, it might be bordering on a bit much… Not every hostel room has the luxury of space, so try and keep everything in one place as much as you can.
(If you are still determined to spread out however, please don’t tut at the people who use a torch to get back to their beds to avoid tripping over your stuff and falling on their face. This happened. I did the British thing and tutted back. Loudly.)
3. Keep beeping to a minimum
Nobody minds you playing on your phone all night, but when everyone is treated to the oh so joyful tinkling of Candy Crush, you will not be the most popular hostel guest. If you have headphones, just use them. Same goes for having phone calls or playing prayer chants at 6am; you gotta go what you gotta do, but please just step outside – also, “I don’t like going down the ladder” is not an excuse for staying in your bunk yelling on your phone whilst everyone is trying to sleep.
4. Be prepared for arriving late…
If you know you’re going to arrive after lights out, make sure everything you need (pyjamas, toothbrush, charger) is at the top of your bag/case. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to quietly rummage through your underwear and travel documents to find your earplugs. It won’t be quiet, and, after twenty minutes of not being able to find them in the dark, it will annoy you as much as everyone else.
5. …And for leaving early
Similarly, apologise if you’re going to be leaving super early; everyone understands that there’s nothing you can do if you have an early flight, but it’s just a polite thing to do if you know you’re going to be rustling around and emptying your locker as the sun is coming up. Of course, if all (and only if all) of your dormmates came in shouting and slamming doors at 3am, feel free to shut your locker loudly, drop your case and turn the light on before you leave. Petty? Yes. Worth it? Of course.
6. Respect other people’s things
There aren’t many good reasons for touching other people’s stuff – yes, if there’s a charger plugged into the only wall socket with nothing attached, unplug it. Someone plugs their phone in to charge then goes for a shower? Leave it. It’s obvious really, you wouldn’t like people moving your things, so don’t mess around with theirs.
7. Don’t be an ass
We all have quirks that can irritate dormmates but most people understand that those are just the downsides of sharing space. However. If you’re going to be nasty or rude, go and stay in a hotel/tent/lighthouse; hostels are friendly, lovely, sociable places so please don’t ruin someone’s trip because you think you’re too good to share a room.