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A Primer on Hostel Etiquette

At some point in your backpacking adventures, I guarantee that you will come across some or all of the following:

* The obnoxious drunk who wakes their dorm up at 4 in the morning, suggesting you all get up and do shots of Jager.
* The shower-hogger, who spends an hour steaming up the bathroom every morning while the rest of the hostel lines up outside.
* The remote cowboy, who changes the channel in the TV room every five minutes and cranks up the volume whenever anyone tries to get a conversation started.

Sure, these specimens are annoying, but the worst of it is that they usually have no idea what they're doing wrong. Here's my hard-won advice on how you can avoid being That Guy (or Girl) at your hostel:

EQUIP YOURSELF WITH SOME DECENT EAR-PLUGS: People snore. Get over it. No one likes a tutter.

REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE ARE ON DIFFERENT SCHEDULES: You may be hitting the town, but the back-packer in the bunk next to you might have to be up at 5 to catch a train, or vice versa. If you're coming in very late, or getting out very early, keep noise to the minimum and avoid turning on the light.

LET THE HOSTEL KEEPER KNOW WHEN THE TOILET PAPER IS RUNNING LOW: There's no prizes for using the last piece of loo roll.

DON'T RAID THE FRIDGE: The other guests are not your Mom, and they didn't stock up just in case you were hungry. Only eat food that is clearly marked "To Be Eaten" or is on the Share Shelf.

TIDY AND WASH UP AFTER YOURSELF: Come on, what did your last slave die of?

STICK TO THE CURFEW: Although many hostels have done away with these, if your place has a curfew you should respect it. The hostel staff are not going to give you a warm welcome if they have to leave their warm beds to let your tardy self back in.

DON'T COLONISE THE WHOLE ROOM WITH YOUR STUFF: Yes, everyone gets sick of living out of a back-pack. But no-one wants to see your crusty underwear carpeting the floor, or have to step around your piles of dirty washing. Also, keep in mind that people arrive in the dorms through-out the day, so that convenient "spare bunk" that you're using as storage space for your muddy hiking-boots will probably have some poor sod sleeping on it later that night.

CONTROL YOUR BODILY FUNCTIONS: Farting, vomiting or, worst of all, urinating in the dorm are frowned upon, for some reason. You may be wrinkling your nose, but the toxic cocktail of new-city freedom and unfamiliar spirits can bring out the worst in some travellers...

IF YOU WANT TO GET IT ON, GET A (PRIVATE) ROOM: Most hostels have double rooms available for slightly more than the cost of two dorm beds.  If you're a couple who can't keep their hands of each other, or you think you're about to get lucky, use them. Otherwise don't be surprised if your night of passion gets interrupted by your angry dorm-mates prodding you or dousing you with cold water. It's no fun to be at the bottom of a juddering bunk-bed, the mattress bouncing inches from your nose. I know, I've been there, and it ain't pretty.


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