Staying in a hostel is a great choice for the budget conscious traveller. Not only are they cheap (from around $10 to $35 a night) but they give the opportunity to meet like-minded people from all around the globe. The demand for hostels has grown dramatically over the last ten years and because of this the standard is generally higher, and travellers now have a varied choice of which hostel to stay in.
The average hostel stayer is about the 19-35 year-old mark, however it’s not completely unheard of for travellers of any age to stay at a hostel. And people who stay at hostels come from all different cultural backgrounds, meaning you get to meet someone you probably wouldn’t have meet at home (and that’s the whole point of travel right?).
As hostels provide mainly shared facilities it’s important that you’re mindful and respectful to the people that you’re staying with. We’ve put together some basic tips for good hostel etiquette to ensure that not only will you enjoy your hostel experience but so will the people you’re staying with.
Unless you pay extra for a private room, hostels have dorms with bunk beds that you can share with up to twenty two people at a time. Most people that stay are there for the social element, so the chances are it’s not exactly going to be a haven for relaxation and rest.
If you choose to stay in this environment you don’t get to complain when you’re kept up half the night and all you want to do is sleep. Either pack really good ear plugs and sleeping mask, pay extra for a private room, or stay somewhere else if it's going to be a problem.
You don’t have stay up till 5am drinking every day if you don’t want to, but this is a perfect opportunity to make some friends that you would never have had the chance to otherwise. Be friendly, smile and try and engage in conversation when you can. You might be surprised by what you learn and the friends you meet.
Even if you’re not the tidiest person at home, you really need to make the effort when you’re staying in a dorm with other people. That also goes for the kitchen as well since the facilities are shared. Everything you use make sure you clean properly, dry and put away. Your mum is not here to tidy up after you and nor should anyone else have to.
Remember, you’re sharing the room with people you don’t necessarily know and as much as we’d like to believe that nothing will get taken there are people out there who will try and take your stuff. Its best you keep all important documents and cash on you at all times, even sleep with it on you. There are money belts and other things that you can buy which you wear strapped on under your clothing with plenty of room for your passports, visas and cash. Some hostels do provide lockers, but I wouldn’t count on this option. I would advise avoiding traveling with a lot of expensive equipment and electronics if you can.
Seriously, I’m sure you can find somewhere a bit more discreet. If you like having sex in front of an audience then that’s your provocative, but chances are your dorm mates won’t be quite as enthusiastic with the idea. Just don’t do it.
Your roommates do not need to be awaken by the smell of your late night kebab or pizza slice. There are kitchen and dining facilities provided at dorms for this reason. Please use them.
You wouldn’t like to have a cold shower and neither will the next person, so keep your showers short so everyone gets a hot one.
Stay in contact. The people that you meet in hostels can become excellent travelling partners and friends for life. They might be able to provide you somewhere to stay down the track or you to them. Swap details and do your best to stay in touch.