I’m not an expert but I’ve travelled a lot and have stayed in hostels around the world. The following things are some that make me uncomfortable, make me nervous or make fellow travellers and roomies very much unlikeable. I don’t claim to have a comprehensive list but it is a list of most common things that happened to me or around me in the last 5 years.
For your own comfort
Your bed/your dorm:
- When coming to a new dorm, get your bed asap (in case they are not assigned).
- Lower bunks are usually preferred to upper bunks.
- In case you don’t want to sleep in the chilly breeze of the air-conditioning make sure to check the best place when entering the room.
- Check for doors and sinks, you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night when people walk in or out of the room. Also having a sink next to your beds ensures a lot of ‘traffic’ around your domain.
- In case you are a light sleeper and have the chance to hang something on a leash, do so. That will give you a bit more privacy.
Kitchen Facilities: Before going grocery shopping, check out the kitchen facilities and also the free to use section. There might be things you need, already available (no need to buy herbs all the time). Later on don’t forget to label your food before storing it.
Sharing: To save some money, ask people in your hostel if they would like to cook with you. That way you can split the costs and make new friends.
Safety: Most travellers are harmless but there are unfortunately a few thieves out there. When you come to your room make sure to find a safe place for your valuables (most dorms have lockers but I usually prefer my PacSafe).
Respect and common decency
Early mornings, late nights: In case you are going out, get your pyjamas and toiletries out before you leave, so you don’t have to start unpacking at 3am. That way it’s easier to make new friends the next day.
You have to catch an early plane/train/bus? No worries, but make sure you have as much prepared as possible.
Noise: In case you’re up early or in late don’t smash doors, turn on the lights (when everyone is still asleep), scream or start having loud conversations in the room.
Alarm clock: I know it can be hard sometimes to get up the first time your alarm rings but snoozing multiple times when everyone else is sleep won’t help you make friends. Think about it, would you be happy to be woken up from someone else’s alarm 3 hours before your wake up time? I guess not.
Your stuff in the dorm: Do you think there is a need to use every free spot and put your cloth, books, toiletries, equipment, food, etc everywhere? I didn’t think so. Let others some spots as well.
Washing machine and dryer: When you use the washing machine or dryer or any other facility with a timer, make sure to get your clothes or whatever it is out there by the time it finishes and don’t just block common facilities for everyone else.
Smile and greet others in the common hostel areas. That way you make them feel welcome/at home and you’ll feel much better as well. Might even be the first step to make new friends.