How to violate hostel etiquette in 20 easy steps

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Hostels are a mainstay in my travels. Every hostel is a little different but hostel etiquette is the one thing that doesn’t change. Here are 20 steps to help you become the most hated person in your hostel.

1. Select a bed with an owner. Take the bed you want. You know that bed next to the outlets. Throw the stuff that is already in the bed on another bed. The outlet bed is now yours. Then make sure to complain that they beds don’t match up to the sleep on latex pure green firm mattress review that you read on your way in or complain that their mattress isn’t as comfortable as a mattress from somewhere like Leesa.

How to violtate hostel etiquette in 20 easy steps
Photo Credit: Mararie

2. Having trouble finding something in your backpack. Pull everything out of your pack and throw it all over the dorm room floor. No need to keep space available for others.

How to violtate hostel etiquette in 20 easy steps
Photo Credit: Mace Ojala

3. You have too much stuff in your pack to fit in one locker. Just use as many lockers as you need to lock up all your possessions. All your possessions are valuable and need to be protected.

How to violtate hostel etiquette in 20 easy steps
Photo Credit: Iwan Gabovitch

4. Hungry? There is a fridge full of food. The fact that the food has labels identifying the owner is irrelevant. Your hunger trumps their ownership.

Photo Credit: jileon80
Photo Credit: jileon80

5. While making dinner use the free Wifi to download the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

How to violtate hostel etiquette in 20 easy steps

6. Put your leftovers in a communal bowl. Put a name label on it and stick it in the fridge.

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Photo Credit: ayngelina

7. While cooking your gourmet dinner, make sure to use all the pots and burners in the kitchen.

Photo Credit: mark notari

8. Leave all the pots from your meal in the hostel kitchen. You’re a guest. If someone else wants to use the pots, they can clean the pots themselves.

Photo Credit: Amancay Maahs

9. Someone else has their phone plugged into an outlet. No problem, just unplug it. You need to plug in your phone.

Photo Credit: Winfried Mosler

10. There are only four outlets in your dorm room and you have to charge your laptop, cell phone, camera, and e-reader. Plug everything in and you’ll be good to go in the morning.

Photo Credit: State Farm

11. Oops, forgot one of your chargers. Simply “borrow” one that has been left plugged into an outlet. No one will notice that it’s gone.

Photo Credit: Michael Theis

12. The party doesn’t need to end when the bar closes. Bring those new friends back to the dorm room to keep the party going.

Photo Credit: Barnacles Budget Accomm

13. It’s 2 am and you need to find something in your bag. Turn on the overhead light. You paid for a bed in the room and that includes the light.

Photo Credit: Faruk Ate?

14. Too cheap for a private room. Having sex in the dorm room bed is possible.

Photo Credit: Courtney Carmody

15. Oops, I drank too much and got sick on the dorm room floor. Accidents happen.

Photo Credit: Craig Allen

16. Have an early morning flight. Be sure to turn on the overhead light and make lots of noise while packing to leave.

Photo Credit: Travis Warren

17. It’s early in the morning and you and your new buddy need to make plans for the day. The best way to do that is finish packing your bags while talking to each other loudly.

Photo Credit: Joe Goldberg

18. During your morning routine, enter and leave the door several times. Make sure it slams behind you each time.

Photo Credit: russellstreet

19. Ring! Ring! It’s Mom calling. Answer your phone while you finish packing.

Photo Credit: Jason Devaun

20. Don’t want to put your clean clothes on the floor while packing. The bunk next to yours is the perfect place to lay your things out.

Photo Credit: Kara

**Please note: this piece is sarcastic. Please do not follow these steps in a hostel. These are all common situations that occur in hostels and should be avoided.

Don’t be afraid to share these steps with known hostel etiquette violators. Have you ever broken any hostel etiquette?

Feature Photo Credit: Ofer Deshe

44 thoughts on “How to violate hostel etiquette in 20 easy steps”

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    haha, this post was fun to read! The sex part is surely true but there are a lot of embarrassing stories out there about this topic.
    I was wondering if you have ever heard of the new 5 Star Hostels? I figured you might like them!

    Will follow you now on Instagram, like the photos you put there! 🙂

    Cheers, Matt

  2. Hilarious and bringing back some traumatic memories at the same time! Can I add one? 21. When the hostel kitchen is CRAZY busy, take 2 friends and stand around in the middle of the kitchen talking to your ONE other friend who is actually doing the cooking. Make sure to get in the way of everyone else as much as possible.

    1. Yes, you can. I love this comment and totally agree with this. I loved it so much, I had to update this post and included it.

  3. Ha! I love staying in hostels but yeah there is always someone violating one of these! I was recently in a dorm in Basel and a Chinese couple decided 4am was a great time to get up and have a shower. Turning the light on, rummaging through plastic bags with clothes in them and then sitting on the floor at 5am on a laptop. Use the common room for gods sake!!

  4. HAHAHAHA! I was laughing while reading this. I’ve lived in hostel for a year straight (back at the time I was volunteering and didn’t have any money) so I can really relate! More often than not, it pisses me off when this happens but it’s actually funny now that we are talking about it.

  5. I hope no one really needed your clarification that this post is sarcastic! haha 🙂 We have stayed in our fair share of hostel dorm rooms over the years, but as we get older the appeal to save those few extra dollars has waned and we mostly opt for double rooms now. If anyone is going to fart in our room we want it to be us!

    1. One never knows. After some of the things I have seen in hostels, I could see someone using this as a guide. Love the line about farting.

  6. People destroying the internet just drives me insane!!! Plus people who think their mum will just drop by to clean their dirty dishes for them. Don’t be a slob and clean up after yourself!!!! You hit on some of the BIGGEST dooche bag hostel moves here.

    1. I know. I can’t believe people who stream over hostel internet. The dishes thing is just annoying. It’s mostly the gap year spending daddies money who are the issue there.

  7. Very funny post! And all the reasons above and more are why I try to avoid hostels, and instead freecamp or head for campgrounds. After 23 years of travel, and seeing the same dumb things happen over and over again, it all wears a bit thin! 😀

    1. Yea, and I have had so many issues in campgrounds as well. It does wear but I do like revenge. I did enjoy coming in one afternoon and finding the person who turned the lights on in the middle of the night asleep. My travel buddy and I procced to turn the light on and have a loud pointless conversation in the room. They weren’t happy with us. Even less after they complained and said we were returning the favor.

  8. I can feel my blood pressure rising just reading this. Why are people so inconsiderate? This is why I no longer stay in hostels.i guess I’ve lost my ability to laugh it off.

    1. I can laugh off some things like the giggly drunk. Or the drunk who think they are being quiet while getting into bed but aren’t actually. Most of this list annoys the tar out of me.

  9. Hi! This made me laugh. I have been in hostels for the past 2 months and I have to say that you ARE RIGHT with so many points. The mess in the kitchen…some people cant was even their own glass and plate after using…grr. I wonder how their home loos like.

    1. You should stay a hostel at least once. They are for the most part great places to stay. I try not to let the bad eggs ruin them.

    1. Yea it is. I sleep like a rock for the most part so a little bit of noise doesn’t bother me but the turning on the lights does. I have had a great desire to strangle some people for being rude.

    1. This makes me sad. It wasn’t meant to scare you off from a hostel. They are for the most part a great place to stay while traveling. I have met a ton of people who I still talk to and met up with when I get the chance. There are the handful of bad eggs who hurt the experience but they don’t negate the great things.

  10. This is too funny and entertaining but true. Really people should know about this. I like the way you wrote it ! Those who answer they’re phones at wee hours of the night and they forget they are in a bedsharing room

    1. Yea, I know. I have yelled at several people over the phone issue. They acted like I was the one being rude. It was 4 am. Why the heck are you sitting on your bed in the dorm on your phone. There are 9 other people trying to sleep. Walk out the door and talk in the hallway.

  11. Unfortunately, there are people who violate all the rules as above mentioned 🙂 But I guess you got all sorts of people everywhere…

  12. Hey Jennifer,

    simply great reading, and so true! Luckily many hostels now this and help to avoid these things e.g. private lights for each bunk, private lockers, and so on. All the 5 Star Hostels have those extra-things, and are more the premium hostels people love to stay at.

    Keep on going the great work,

    1. I have still had the lights turn on in the middle of the night even when they have private lights in the bunks. Some things don’t change no matter what extra are provided.

  13. Ugh, these are the worst! I especially hate when people turn on the light in the middle of the night. I’ve actually had friends tried to justify it by saying they needed it to get something done, and I was so embarrassed!

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