Our guide to hostel etiquette

If you're a backpacker or a budget traveller, you're probably already quite familiar with hostel etiquette. However, if you're new to the world of hostelling, the do's and don'ts can get pretty confusing! This guide will give you a better idea of what to expect and a basic run-down of acceptable hostel etiquette.

  1. Hostels keep their prices low by keeping their staff bills low. They don't have the same team of cleaners that you would find in a hotel, so you're therefore expected to clean up after yourself. Wash any dishes you use, put any rubbish in the bin and strip your bed linen before you leave (there are usually linen baskets near reception).
  2. Hostels are a great place to socialise, but don't do it in the rooms unless you're sure no one is trying to sleep - even during the day, there might be jet-lagged travellers trying to have a snooze. Head to the common areas and keep the noise down after 10pm.
  3. Hostel hook ups are one of the most controversial areas of hostel etiquette. After a few drinks, a romp in the top bunk of a dorm room might seem totally acceptable - but believe us, it's not. Pay for a private room or use the bathroom...
  4. People may arrive late and leave early, and this will probably wake you up. However, when travelling it's often unavoidable, so try not to get grouchy when your dorm mates start packing their bags at 4am. Eye masks and ear plugs can help.
  5. It's an obvious one, but don't take anyone's food unless it's clearly marked to be shared.

Of course, hostel etiquette does vary from hostel to hostel. In some of the more expensive "flashpackers" there may be more housekeeping staff, meaning that you don't have to make your own bed up. In other hostels, there may be a curfew or a designated quiet time while at others, shower time may be limited. If in doubt, ask at the reception.

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