When staying at hostels, there are some unwritten rules which everybody should follow. Most of these hostel etiquette are common sense rules for a nice cohabitation and travel experience. No worries, those rules are not there to take away the fun; quite the contrary actually!
Wanna know hostel dormitories unwritten rules? Here you have our advice for staying in hostels and how to be a good hostel buddy.
First time at Hostels? You might have plenty of doubts. We’ve collected plenty of information about hostels to help you out:
This actually goes without saying, but it seems like people need a reminder sometimes. Silent mode is a good idea! And not just for your cell phone.
Keep silence in Dorms
Common areas are meant to hang out, meet people, or have telephone conversations.
Use them and do not disturb your dorm mates.
Every hostel has different rules. Many hostels have the common area completely separated from the rooms.
Other hostels have them nearby; then it might be hard to hang out at midnight.
Our own story: We once stayed in a hostel where the common area was right in front of the dorms. At 8pm we were sitting there with new friends, chatting, having a drink when a fellow hostel mate came out of his room to complain.
He complained it was 8pm, we should “shut up“, go to bed or out etc.
He was extremely rude, and actually quite aggressive. And again, it was only 8pm. Even the receptionist told him all people can hang out here until 11pm.
Anyways, you see, some people take it to an extreme. Maybe this guy had a rough day, or maybe he should not stay at a hostel at all when he expects total silence at 8pm. Needless to say, this guy was not everyones favorite…
If you arrive at the hostel very late/ early, just prepare all the stuff you will need outside of the dorm before you go in.
That way, you won’t disturb your dorm mates.
There’s nothing more irritating than the unpacking noise of plastic bags while you are sleeping (or trying to get to sleep).
Prepare for the next day, especially if you have to catch a flight in the morning. Do you want to take a shower before leaving? Then leave your towel and toiletries ready.
It is also recommend not to take a shower at 4am in the morning; in case the showers can be heard in the sleeping areas.
If you have a super early flight, better to take a shower the night before.
Also good to know: If you already know you’ll be arriving super late, consider staying in a private room. Late Check-In can even cost extra at some hostels. Plus, it can be extremely uncomfortable for you and all other guests if you arrive at 4am in the dorm.
That bring us to…
7. Hostel Etiquette: Lights
Keep the lights off in the dorms.
If you are arriving late, use a flashlight when entering the dorm (yes, you do have a torch on your cell phone).
Leaving the hostel and have some stuff which you won’t need any more?
Share it with the other travel mates, they will appreciate it!
Hostels do normally have a section where you can leave the food, or any toiletries you have left over for the other fellow travelers.
Ani&Haakien, the 5 Star Hostel in Rotterdam, even has a corner with odd items you want to leave for some other travelers.
Update: 19. No Prostitutes allowed
We found this sign at an accommodation…
Sometimes, rules make you wonder what happened. What exactly happened that the hostel has to put the rules in a written form? Pretty sure there must be some crazy stories behind this.
Update: 20. Snorers of the world: Get a private room!
We get this question quite a lot:
“Should I stay in a dorm when I snore?” Is it okay to stay in a dorm when I know I snore?”
The answer is simple: NO!
Come on, please do not be that person that everyone hates the next morning.
We once stayed in an 8-bed dorm in Chiang Rai, Thailand. There was one guy snoring so loud we thought the roof might fall off. Seriously, we have never heard that level of snoring.
It would have been impressive and funny, but truth be told, we could not sleep until 5am. We then decided to “wake up” and go out.
So, please, snorers of the world: Do not stay in a dorm! You will not make friends this way.
FAQ about Hostels
Before you take off, here is a list of common questions that can help you as well.
What do you wear to sleep in a hostel?
Underwear is a very good start.
Please, do not be that person sleeping naked in a hostel. That is totally inappropriate. Best is to wear a t-shirt and short pants.
Can 2 people sleep in 1 hostel bed?
Technically, two people can sleep in 1 hostel bed. BUT you still have to pay 2 beds, and every guest also gets 1 single bed. If you end up in the same bed because you miss your partner (or whatever), you could do this.
Make sure you do not disturb other people in the room.
In a nutshell, you cannot compare 1 bed for 2 people in a hostel to save money. That does not work. Sorry.
Do you tip at hostels?
Usually that is not expected or required like you’d do it in high-end hotels. However, you can show your appreciation for sure.
Do you have to be 18 to stay in a hostel?
If you are under 18 and unaccompanied by an adult you must have written authorization from a parent or guardian. However, some hostels have a strict rule not to accept guests younger than 18.
Is there an age limit on hostels?
Talking about age limits, some hostels even have a maximum age limit. Meaning, only people from 18 to 40 can stay.
Now, usually these are very party-ish hostels, and it does not happen so often. However, keep this in mind.
Summary of 18 unwritten hostel rules
See? Surely you could guess most of the unwritten rules, as they are common sense.
Nevertheless, summarizing them helps to give a great idea of what to expect and be aware of the hostel etiquette.
Remember to read the particular rules at the hostel you are staying at.
Hostels normally have their rules written on the room doors.
You might expect to sing them during the check-in process also.