Unspoken rules and etiquette in Hostels

Mon, 2015-03-09 06:47

Hostels are awesome. Whenever I'm traveling, I stay in hostels quite a lot. There are many advantages of them compared traditional hostels:

  • They are usually cheaper.
  • Located nearby the attractions and activities.
  • You get to meet a lot of fellow travelers.
  • Game rooms, kitchens, facilities to wash you cloths for free or cheap.
  • and many more.

However, I'm not going to write everything about hostels in a single post. I have met awesome characters in hostels and have a lot of pleasant memories. There is a very good chance that you will meet people from different parts of the world, speaking different languages, and coming from different cultures. But you are all equal in a hostel dorm room, and try to follow these unspoken rules and etiquette in hostels.

Go ahead and talk to others

Unlike 5-star hotels that the business people usually visit, Hostels tend to attract travelers who are solely there to experience the country. That includes meeting new people along the way. Don't talk loud inside the dorm room, but if the hostel has a kitchen, a lobby or some setting area, go ahead and talk to others. you will never know how awesome they are until you talk with them and get to know them.

I have met many great people that I both idolize and are still friends with. Vietnamese, Chinese, Taiwanese, British, American, Egyptian, you name it.

If you are a group of people, don't just go out in groups and always talk inside the group. Let others come to you, and always look for a chance to at least say hello to others.


This is from a cheap hostel in Kuala Lampur. Girl in the middle and I ended up staying adjust beds, and we both were traveling solo (and bored as hell). Since I had plans to visit China in two days, I started a small chat her, but we went far and even the hostel staff asked go out of the dorm room if we want to talk loud. We did. The other girl, also Chinese, had some issues with her booking and joined us for "the" chat.

Be silent as possible inside dorm rooms

After a lot of sightseeing and activities in the day time, many people go to sleep early. Others go out to see what the city has for nightlife. When you are back, do not disturb others. Do not even switch on the lights if they are switched off.

- If you snore, consider taking a private room for you.
- If you brought your guitar, expecting to be popular, keep in mind that playing it inside the dorm room usually backfires and you are suddenly friend of nobody.

Use hotel property carefully and sparingly

Charging points are meant to be shared among others. Chairs, tables, and everything are meant to be shared. Keep your belongings with you, and do not be hesitant if someone wants to sit right next to you.

Feel free to go out with the friends you just-met.

If they are local, listen to their recommendations. That is a knowledge you can't get from guiding books.


This is in Beijing. It was almost midnight, and this guy suggested to try out a massage place he saw in the street. It turned out to be a great deal - cheap prices and a very good massage.

Taking care of lights and door

If you are sleeping next to the switches of the lights or near the door, please be a good gentleman/lady and handle them with responsibly.

If it's past 9PM and everyone is asleep and nobody is reading a book or something, ask everyone if it's OK to turn off the lights. If someone comes in the midnight, and if you are awake, get up and open the door for them.
If you go out of the room and forgot to bring your key with you or somehow you are locked outside, don't just knock the door until someone comes and opens the door. Go to the staff and ask them to open the door for you.

Take off your shoes if necessary


Many hostels try their best to keep the place clean. If there is a sigh that says to take off your shoes, do it. I can remember some hostels that are very clean and calm thanks to this rule. When you enter, check the signs on the doors and front desk for such notices.

If you didn't brought it or have no permission from the owner, you can't use it

Slippers, Sandals, toothpaste tubes, hair brushes, etc. It's not a hotel room. Always, always ask the owner if you want to borrow some toothpaste or want to use their slippers to go to the washroom.

In summary, just use your best judgement and be as friendly as possible and respect others as much as possible. Enjoy your stay in hostels!