12 Rules On Hostel Etiquette

It took me all of one night of staying in hostels again to come up with this list.  It could also be about three times longer but, for the sake of my time and yours, here are the first 12 things that I’ve personally thought over the last two days.

Don’t sleep naked

I always hope I don’t have to say this, but I always end up having to. Again, you’re sharing a room with other strangers. I don’t care if it’s an all female dorm. Kudos to you for having the confidence to do so but, no, I don’t want to see your boobs while I’m getting dressed for the day.

Store smelly food in the kitchen

Anything pungent has a place – and that is not in your locker. The room will probably already smell funky as it is. Don’t add to it with your tuna salad.

Keep your belongings on your bed or in your locker

Hostel dorms are many things, but they usually aren’t spacious. You only ‘own’ two places, your bed and your locker. Everything else is public space. Leave your PJs and toiletries tucked under your sheets. Stash your shoes underneath your bed and perhaps your carryon (if you packed a suitcase), but it’s not a place to throw things, no matter what you usually do at home.

Don’t stomp up the stairs


Your shoes aren’t made of lead and the hostel walls are practically made of paper. Flip flops and wooden staircases are the worst.

If you’re traveling in a group, be aware that there are, in fact, many other people who won’t hoot and holler at your inside jokes

Traveling in groups is highly encouraged. You just aren’t the only people there. Not all backpackers want to party and stay up all night. If you do, make sure that you are aware of the people around you.

Don’t forget to clean your dishes

Reaching for a bowl and seeing the remnants of day old spaghetti is never fun for anyone. At hostels, it’s a bit worse. Who made the spaghetti? Perhaps it’s more than a day old? What if it’s really not spaghetti?

Save someone’s imagination and wash your stuff.

Don’t hang your damp towel on the bunk bed stairs unless you are staying on the top bunk

When you have the upper bunk, your space is already limited. Don’t be that jerk that blocks someone’s path with their dirty towel.

Anything over 2 sprays of perfume needs to be done outside the room

It’s just nice to do. Some people are sensitive to smells.

Never bring Axe anything. It’s not 2004.

Just – just don’t. It doesn’t smell good and we all know who it was. Don’t think you can sneak it either.

Always wear headphones

While you might want to binge RuPaul’s Drag Race at 10pm on a Monday night, your roomies will probably not.

Be aware of the quiet hours. However, if someone is taking a midday nap, don’t feel obligated to become a mouse

Be respectful of the quiet hours. Don’t turn your reading light on for 30 minutes at 4am in the morning . . . Keep talking to a minimum . . . However, anything between the hours of 10am to 10pm is fair game. If your roomie decides to take a nap at 2:30pm, don’t feel guilty about needing to pack for your later flight.

Give your empty drinks to the bar

It’s a kind gesture, even if it’s not necessary. At a small enough hostel, the staff with notice. Always be kind to the staff. 


Sigh. Time for night number two. Let’s all prepare for 12 More Rules On Hostel Etiquette. 

Do you have any hostel pet peeves?

Xx Haley


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