Hostel Courtesy 101

How not to be a jerk when sharing limited space with several humans.

After two miserable nights in Madrid in a six-person dorm (the max I’ve been in is 22), I decided to put together a no-bullshit list of how to be a decent human being when staying in a hostel. I would LOVE to read about some of your grievances below. I promise this isn’t a post for all the Negative Nancy's to moan about their misfortunes. Think of this as an opportunity to educate future hostel dwellers.

Read. Set. Debate.


1. Quiet time is midnight. Period.

Some people have to be up for flights at 5am. Some people haven’t slept comfortably in 48 hours due to traveling long distances. Some people feel ill or are stressed out and overwhelmed.

Slamming doors, talking loudly, packing your bags, or using the hair dryer (wish I were kidding about this) at 2am when there are five other people trying to sleep is a total jerk move. If you need to have a conversation with loved ones back home, do it in the common areas. The wifi is usually stronger and you’re not disrupting 20-something humans.

2. Lights off between 10pm and 9am.

I still don’t understand why this is a thing or that it even has to be said? Last time I checked, every smartphone is equipped with a flashlight. Don’t be the punk who drunkenly turns on the lights at 4am and wakes the entire dorm room with your antics. It’s not cute and it is certainly disrespectful.

3. Anticipate your needs.

Which includes packing your bag the night before. Going out for the night? Heck yeah you are! I hope you drink ALL the drinks (responsibly, of course) and shake your booty to endless beats and meet some humans worthy of a journal entry.

If you know you’re going to be coming back at an unreasonable hour, why not be a decent person and adjust your things before you leave for the night?It’s not that difficult to set your toothbrush, toothpaste, and your comfy pajamas on your pillow for easy access when you return. And if you expect to be leaving at the butt crack of dawn? Do us all a favor and take the ten minutes to get your things in order before you leave for the night. Your sleep deprived neighbors will thank you!

4. Please don’t sound the alarm twenty different times.

I’ll be the first to admit I am a snoozer. I love justifying ten more minutes of semi-restful sleep if it means not having to face the day. That is, from the comfort of my own home.

When you share a space with multiple humans, from different time zones, operating on different schedules, don’t be the person who sets the alarm for 6am and hits the snooze button well past 10am. You’re not alone in this quest for rest. There’s plenty of beauty sleep to go around.

5. Don’t be an asshole.

If you’re offended by this, you should equally be offended by the towel that smells like it’s been secured in a cold, dank dungeon for 200 years and hung to “dry” from the rail of a bunk.

I could write a hundred hostel habits that could categorize you as the hostel asshole, but I’m going to leave this as an open ended reflection of your own personal character.

Feel like your actions could potentially upset or offend another person? 
They probably will! 
Think you’re being too loud with your friends? 
You probably are! 
Doing something someone has done in the past that has pissed you off? 
Stop doing it!

Don’t be an asshole directly translates to respect the space of the other humans around you. Just as you do in your travels, trust your gut instinct on this. If you feel like you’re making a total dick move in terms of hostel courtesy, you probably are! Becoming aware of your actions and how they effect those you don’t know around you makes the experience far more enjoyable for everyone. Maybe you’ll even make a few friends by choosing to be an awesome hostel bunk mate instead!


What are some things you wish people would be mindful of when they choose to share their space and cost of accommodations with multiple other humans? What can we do to be better travelers in general?

If you’re angry at me for writing this, I would like to immediately offer a justification as to why I will always choose to stay in a hostel over a hotel. You can read more about there here.