Traveling is no longer just for the affluent. You can book affordable flights to your dream destination. Once there, you can survive on cheap street foods. And when it’s time to rest, you can book a bed in a hostel dorm.
If you’re staying in a hostel dorm, please be warned that you will be in proximity to other travelers. Therefore, there are certain unwritten rules you must follow.
Keep the common bathroom in order
Staying in a hostel dorm means you’ll be using a common CR. If it’s lean travel season, you’ll probably have to share with only a few people. Otherwise, get ready to open the bathroom door on your way out with someone already waiting outside to do their business.
It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the bathroom orderly. You should not leave your toiletries behind. Your wellness products should not litter the limited surfaces in the bathroom. The next person to shower could use those surfaces too.
If you took the last square of toilet paper, be decent enough to ask the hostel attendant to replenish. Do not torture the next to sit on the bowl with an unpleasant surprise of a depleted roll.
Keep your belongings in one corner
If you paid for a dorm bed, that’s basically all you get, a bed (either top or bottom bunk) in a dorm. But there’s space around that bed, which you could claim as your own. The size of that space depends on how big or small the dorm room is.
Ideally, you’ll have all of your things inside your backpack standing up in one corner. You do not want to be that roommate with their things strewn around the floor surrounding the bed, insensitive to other people’s right to passage.
Be quiet as much as possible
Unless you’re in a party hostel where even the rooms double as bars and dance floors, avoid making noise when you can. If your mom called from halfway across the globe, walk outside the room and take the call in the hostel’s common area.
Do not play your Spotify playlists on your Bluetooth speaker loudly unless your roommates requested you to do so. If you’re traveling with a buddy, or buddies for that matter, take your animated conversations outside the sleeping quarters.
Be friendly but not too friendly
One of the perks of staying in hostel dorms is how you get to meet all kinds of people from all over the world, with different and often interesting backstories. Still, you must keep in mind that we all have different levels of extroversion. Just because someone is staying in a hostel dorm does not mean they’re amenable to a chat 24/7.
So respect other people’s psychic space. Do not be overly chummy to the point that you’re unknowingly taking too much of a roommate’s time. Know how to read the room, and if the room feels a little cold and disinterested, take your friendliness somewhere else.
Do not bed-hop
You are assigned a specific bed as soon as you check in. And that’s the bed you have to use. Even if there are a few more vacant beds in the room, you can’t just shift beds unless you informed the hostel staff of your decision.
If the room is at full capacity, bed-hopping becomes even more of a no-no. That is even if other travelers are out doing their thing and their beds look more inviting than yours.
Do not deplete the breakfast pantry
Most hostels provide free breakfast for their guests. Usually, these are just basic sustenance to start your day off. You have a choice between tea or coffee. There are some bread and cereals (milk included). And if you’re lucky, there might even be fruits in the pantry.
No matter how famished you woke up and how long your day is, consider other travelers who are still in la-la-land. Just because you got out of bed earlier than most does not mean you have the right to deplete the breakfast buffet, which is often limited.
Eat up and enjoy the meal. Stand up when you’ve had your fair share.
Here’s a caveat. Staying in hostel dorms is not for everyone. If you’re a little fussy and you appreciate top-notch comfort, it’s probably not your cup of tea. It’s an adventure unto itself, and as with any adventure, a lot of things could go awry. So before booking a bed in a hostel dorm, have an honest self-assessment session first. And trust whatever answer you get.