Hostels can be a great accommodation option while traveling. They are cheap, generally clean and an awesome way to meet new people! Many hostels have common areas which serve as a wonderful place, outside of your hostel room, to hang out with other travelers. We have found websites and apps such as Trip Advisor and Hostelworld to be useful in reviewing various hostels as well as booking hostel rooms. Furthermore, the staff at hostels can be particularly helpful in planning and organizing various activities. That being said, there are a few unwritten rules to familiarize yourself with before landing your first hostel gig.
1. The hostel room is not your personal bedroom so no, you do not control the thermostat!
Of course, that is if you’re lucky enough to have air conditioning instead of a fan. Brian likes to say I have exactly one degree of comfort when it comes to a room’s temperature and I’m not here to deny it. I guess you could say I’m what you call “temperature sensitive.” I hope there’s a support group or something I can join. In an ideal world, I’m happiest and most comfortable somewhere between 71-72 degrees. Back in Charlotte I was always manipulating our thermostat in our apartment to be in the perfect temperature zone but on the road, I have to resist the urge. If I can refrain from doing it despite my slight problem then there is certainly hope for everyone else!
2. Say goodbye to ziplock bags
You’re probably thinking – what a strange thing to say! Let me explain. Don’t get me wrong, ziplock bags definitely serve a purpose. It’s nice to pack smaller items together in a gallon size zip lock bag to prevent you having to go blindly digging deep into your oversized backpack in the middle of the night for something less than the size of your fist. While it may not seem obvious, the problem with ziplock bags is the tremendous amount of noise they create in a quiet hostel room. Take my word on this one – it sounds like a herd of elephants when you’re unzipping the bags, finagling inside the bag trying to get something out and then zipping them up again. Still don’t believe me? Mention ziplock bags to any person who has stayed in a hostel room with “that” backpacker and they’ll immediately cringe. Don’t do it. You want to make friends not enemies, right?
3. Your snooze button is off limits
While you may need to wake up at 6:30 AM to catch a 7 AM bus heading to your next destination, the person sleeping in the bunk bed a couple feet above you sure doesn’t. In fact, after traveling for 18+ hours the day before he or she had planned on catching up on some zzzz’s that particular morning. Be courteous and get up when your alarm goes off so that snoozing is not necessary. Also, if you really must set an alarm be sure to put it on vibrate or turn the volume down. The entire hostel room doesn’t want to be jamming out to Pitbull and Ke$ha singing “Timber” when your alarm goes off at 6:30 AM either!
4. While it’s a free world and showering isn’t mandatory, hostels are equipped with showers for a reason so please, please use them!
There seems to be a small but special breed of backpackers who don’t agree with this school of thought. I’m just going to leave it at that…
5. Save your drunken fights for outside the hostel room.
When we were in Chang Mai, Brian and I were staying in a hostel room with 10 other people. Ever heard the phrase “10 is a party but 12 is a crowd?” No? Well in Chang Mai this was the case. Two guys who were traveling together had gone out and later that night when they stumbled back to the hostel room they proceeded to get into a boisterous and drunken yelling match from their bunk beds. It woke the entire room up and while listening to it was actually pretty entertaining and it certainly made for a great story to share with them the next day, it’s always best to leave your sweet bedtime stories (or drunken rage) at the door!