Staying in a hostel is by far the most popular choice of accommodation for backpackers. Not only is it usually the cheapest option, but you can also meet fellow travelers to explore the city with. The pros of staying in a hostel mostly outweigh the cons. However, it would be helpful for everyone to follow a basic list of unspoken rules that come with staying in a hostel. Most of these rules seem more than obvious to me, especially when one applies common sense and thoughtfulness. Alas, there always seems to be at least one person who seems to have never gotten the memo. During my stay at Home Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal, I asked my roommates their opinion on this topic, and so without further ado, here are the unspoken rules of staying in a hostel:
1. Don’t turn on the lights before 8 a.m.
Who in their right mind would come home at 3 a.m. and turn the lights on when he or she is sharing a room with five other people? Someone who ain’t got no home training, that’s who. Don’t be that person. Just use your common sense (or the flashlight on your phone).
2. If you have to check out early in the morning, pack the night before.
Sub-rule: If you have to leave at an ungodly hour for an early flight, it would be extra thoughtful if you informed your roommates ahead of time.
There’s nothing more frustrating than hearing someone fumble around, packing his bags at 5 a.m. Things get out of control when the unprepared traveler starts with opening plastic bags. If you forgot to pack the night before, do us all a favor and take your bag outside of the room to pack up.
3. Don’t have sex in the room. Just don’t.
Jesus Christ. Should I even have to mention this one? You’d be surprised at how many cringe-worthy situations unfold when you combine strangers, alcohol, and slumber parties (aka 8-person bedroom). You can always book an all female or all male dorm if you’re uncomfortable with this aspect of staying in a mixed dorm. But first and foremost, remember, you’re in a dorm…don’t do it!!
4. Understand that there will be cultural differences
The reason we travel is to see different cultures and ways of life. By doing so, we begin to open our own minds and start to understand that there isn’t just one “normal” or “right” way of doing things. This is a beautiful thing! It can, though, be challenging to live in a small dorm room with multiple people from multiple walks of life. Sometimes people will do things that seem strange or just straight up offensive. One time, I stayed in a six bedroom mixed dorm, meaning mixed with males and females. We were getting ready for bed when one girl from Norway casually stripped down naked and got into her bed. Meanwhile, my modest Mississippi self was in total shock, yet this helped me realize that nudity was only a big deal to me because of my cultural upbringing. (AKA Southern American) But who says one way is right? You will come across many instances that will open your mind to different ways of doing things, and that, my friends, is a great thing.
Do you have any rules to add to the list? What have you learned from staying in a hostel during your travels? Let us know by commenting below or writing to me on Facebook! Hasta pronto, amigos.