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The Mobile Lawyer -- One Lap, No Jetlag: Hostel/Dorm Etiquette

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hostel/Dorm Etiquette

Have been thinking about basic "don'ts" when staying in hostels and dorms, now that I've got a year under my belt, so here goes a little list.

1 -- Be quiet. Look, this is simple and clearly the most violated rule of dorm rooms. From about midnight to 8 am, give or take, people are actually using the dorm room for sleeping. Try to be respectful of that. Don't have a huge drunken conversation with your best buddy in the middle of the room at 3 a.m., when you get home from an "epic" night at the bar. Don't party in the hallway right outside when people are trying to sleep. Just shut it.

2 -- Keep areas clean -- you Mom isn't there to pick up after you. Common areas, kitchens (especially), and please God, don't eat in the dorm room and leave your frickin' dirty dishes there afterwords.

3 -- No sex in the dorm room. First, yes, we can hear you. This is not an activity that is done in complete silence, at least if you are doing it with any degree of proficency. And look, if you want to do it in public, don't get all pissed off if I pull up a chair and offer play by play critique. FYI -- this particular prohibition includes having sex without a partner. It is never appropriate to hear "Fire one!" in a dorm room.

4 -- The dorm room is not the laundry room. Don't string up a line down the middle of the room to dry your clothes. Even worse, don't spread them out on my bed or hang them off my bed. I really don't need to be that close to your wet socks after you got in from a five day hike.

5 -- I shouldn't have to say this, but don't steal anything. Travel karma is a bitch and more importantly, there is a truly horrible place in hell for any traveler that steals from another.

6 -- Speaking of travel karma, pay your tab with the hostel. A lot of them are cool enough to let you run tabs for staying there. Try not to ruin it for those of us that aren't trying to scam the system and appreciate business people trying to make a living and make a traveler's life a litte easier.

7 -- Be friendly. Introduce yourself around. Hostels are a great way to meet people, especially if you are a solo traveler and for those of us that are mostly travelling solo, a friendly hello and an offer to go get a beer with you and your friends is quite welcomed.

8 -- If you are leaving in the morning. PLEASE pack your stuff up the night before. Having someone pack their backpack at 5:30 a.m. is really, really, really annoying.

9 -- Hostels are not clothing optional -- what is the deal with 20something guys just wandering around all day without shirts on? Yes, I'm sure the girls think you are "all that," but put a damn shirt on and act like a grown up for once.

10 -- On that topic, sleeping naked is not an option, or at least, not an acceptable one. Last thing anyone wants to see when they wake up in the morning after a good night out is you rolled over away from your blanket, letting it all hang out.

11 -- Carry a flashlight or torch when you go out at night. Coming home at 2 am and turning on the overhead light to find your locker and/or bed is completely unacceptable.

12 -- Turn your cell phone ringer off at night. Some guys in my dorm room in Cape Town were getting text messages all night one night. Beep, beep. Beep, beep. Closest I've come to flushing an electronic device down a toliet.

13 -- Hell, just turn the damn cell phone off entirely. You are in Bangkok and your emotional boyfriend wants to check up on your night out and talk about your relationship. You know where it is appropriate to have that conversation?? Not in my bedroom. At least take it to the hall, or better yet, the common area or outside. Check that, just book a flight home -- I'm sure you two are perfect for each other. Start the marriage now.

14 -- Buy your hostel workers a drink every now and again. Most of them are just fellow travlers working there for a free place to stay -- they aren't making any reasonable money. Offer to get them a drink. They deserve it for putting up with the idiots they have to deal with every day.

15 -- Glad you had a great night out. Throwing up in the dorm room is unacceptable. You can make it to the bathroom. Promise. Or at least the hallway.

16 -- You know why the food in the 'fridge has a name written on it? Cause it is not yours. Don't take other people's food.

17 -- I know we are now in the ones that make those of you that have never stayed in a hostel say, "really? People do this?" The answer is yes, they do. Don't borrow other people's things without asking them. That is not a community towel -- I promise. And if I wanted you to watch my DVDs, I'd offer to watch with you. Just buy me some drinks.

18 -- Did I mention to be quiet?

I'll have more when I stop to think about it some more. The things people do out here. . . .


At February 1, 2010 at 5:22 AM , Anonymous Chris - The Aussie Nomad said...

Great tips mate and really its all just common sense. It just seems from what I have read when people get out of their country they leave all of it behind.

At February 1, 2010 at 8:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha -- Hilarious! Half the stuff I wouldn't believe if I hadn't experienced it.

At February 1, 2010 at 11:50 AM , Anonymous Marie Ford-McCartney said...

I also bring a silk sheet, like a tube, to sleep in. Don't know if everything is really clean(bugs). And it keeps me warm. Rolls up into a little duffle. Great for camping too!

At February 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM , Blogger Russ said...

Hey do you think this guy ripped off your post?

Nomadic Matt's "Hostel Etiquette" post showed up in my feed reader about five hours after this did. While it's not total cut and paste plagiarism, what are the odds that Nomad Matt just happened to write a list of hostel etiquette tips including "Be Quiet," "Don’t have sex in the dorms rooms," and "Keep the Lights Off" a few hours after you posted this?

Looks like a gank job to me.

At February 1, 2010 at 1:31 PM , Blogger downtownLB said...

you are old and funny. why I require a decent hotel when I travel, and why you are brave and I am glad you are out there and not me. One night of any of that and I would be in the intercontinental. safe travels.

At February 1, 2010 at 3:19 PM , Blogger SoloTraveler said...

thanks for the comments all -- still looking for more additions though. I KNOW there are more funny stories out there.

Russ -- nah. Matt doesn't swipe. I think he posted on Twitter that he was thinking of making a list earlier this week. He's a good blogger.

At February 1, 2010 at 4:36 PM , Blogger MommaL said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one!! When you get back to AR, and are in LR, I will buy you a drink!

At February 1, 2010 at 4:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darling, you're too old for hostels and dorms.

At February 1, 2010 at 5:48 PM , Blogger SoloTraveler said...

19. Smoking in front of an open window in the dorm room is still. . . smoking inside. Get thee ass to the sidewalk, like everyone else does.

At February 1, 2010 at 8:25 PM , Anonymous Nomadic Matt said...

Why would I rip this off? Why would I be stupid enough to do that and on the same day? As solo traveler said, I tweeted about this days ago. Jan 29th- "nomadicmatt: Backpacker whose afraid of the dark has left my dorm. As has her chatty friend. I think there should be a class on backpacker dorm etiquette" That's when I got my idea.

At February 1, 2010 at 9:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man I think you hit every point I would have thought of.

Another one: If the hostel has a kitchen wash the dishes you used. I hate washing dishes and I certainly don't want to wash the pots you used so I can eat.

If you snore, don't be upset when someone wakes you in the middle of the night to readjust when you are shaking the room with the chainsaw coming from your mouth.

At February 2, 2010 at 12:30 PM , Blogger SoloTraveler said...

Ahhhh Matt -- was wondering where I got the idea to finally put these down and THAT was it exactly!! I remember that Tweet now (and your funny reply to it). Hilarous we both were working on a similiar list. . . of the same one line tweet. Traveling IS a small world. :) Keep up the good work. Hope to see you soon in NZ. Michael

At July 13, 2010 at 6:32 PM , Anonymous Sherry Ott said...

Right on!

Really - you offer play by play critique's?!

At July 13, 2010 at 6:58 PM , Blogger SoloTraveler said...

Haven't been in that position yet, but if I am put in it... perhaps ;)

At July 15, 2010 at 10:49 AM , Blogger craig said...

16 is travel karma too... amazing how it disappears sometimes.

and this list made me smile, it's amazing how many of these 'common sense' items still happen... but now, away from it.. some of them do make me smile, and do tell a good story... but one night is one thing, every night - not cool.

stay adventurous,

At August 19, 2010 at 2:19 PM , Anonymous David said...

Communal showers. Rinse your pubic hairs down the drain. I hate going into a shower and there are curlies all over the wall and floor. If they are on the drain screen, pick them up and throw them away. If you don't thin they are all yours, get a papertowel and pick them up. If there is soap provided, please don't use it directly on your junk. If you do, please get the pubes off before you leave.

At August 23, 2010 at 8:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're sharing a bunk bed with someone and are on the top bunk (or the bottom one, for that matter), try to keep in mind that whenever you move, the bed moves. I had one lady in the bunk above mine who would get dressed and get all her belongings together bright and early every morning ON HER BED. She would wake up, wiggle her way down the ladder (shake shake shake), grab her bag, wiggle her way back up the ladder (more shaking), then get dressed up there, and non too gently! There was no sleeping through it, it felt like an earthquake every time (and she was relatively petite - I can only imagine if it had been a larger man or something!)


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