Hostels are widely used all over the world by travellers looking to get by on a low budget. If you’re planning an extended trip it’s highly likely that hostels will form part of your itinerary.
Many first time travellers are initially wary of staying in dorm rooms. It can understandably be scary sleeping in a room full of people that you’ve never met. However, once you’ve tried it, you’ll find that hostels are an excellent way to meet new people, and make sure your money lasts longer while you’re away.
The Golden Rule applies in dorm rooms more than in most other places; treat others as you would like them to treat you.
Following these few simple unspoken rules will help you get along with your fellow travellers while staying in dorm accommodation.
Clean and Tidy
1. Think “Tidy” – It’s not your bedroom at home and your mums not going to clear up after you. You’re sharing floor space with at least three other people so make sure you leave room for them. If you’ve been staying in one place for a while it’s understandable that you will start to feel more comfortable, but spare a thought for other travellers who are just passing through.
2. Respect other people’s stuff – Basically, try not to touch anything that doesn’t belong to you unless you have to. If you need to move something for whatever reason, be polite about it, don’t throw it across the room. If you get caught sifting through someone else’s things it’ll make for a very awkward atmosphere in the room and if you’re suspected as a thief, don’t expect a refund as they kick you out the door!
3. Keep it clean – If you are using shared bathroom facilities, try to leave them as you found them (which hopefully means clean). You wouldn’t expect to clean up someone else’s mess, so you can hardly expect them to clean yours!
Keep the Noise Down
4. Headphones and Phone calls – Other people don’t want to listen to your music, your phone calls to your friends back home, or the movie you’re watching, so try to keep the noise down. Use headphones and keep the volume at a sensible level.
5. Silent Night – You have to expect a reasonable amount of disrupted sleep when staying in a dorm. You won’t always be the last person into bed so inevitably there’ll be nights when you are woken up by partygoers on their way in from a good night out!
You can minimize the disruption you cause other people by planning ahead. If you know you’re going to be in late, keep whatever you need handy so that you are not rooting through bags looking for bed clothes / facial wash / makeup remover / earplugs or whatever. Leave it all on your pillow before you go out.
This will also mean that you shouldn’t need to turn the light on when you come in in the middle of the night, or if you do at least it will be on for less time.
Cover it up
We had just checked in to a six bed dorm in Wanaka when a guy came in from a hard days skiing and stripped down to his boxers in the middle of the room, not cool!
6. Keep your clothes on – As great as you think your body is, or as inhabited as you might be, you can’t assume that other people want to see you walking around in your underwear! This is a sure fire way to make people will feel very uncomfortable, so cover it up.
Remember, karma goes a long way, so treat other people how you would expect to be treated and you’ll find hostel accommodation to be an excellent, inexpensive experience.