Hostel Manners

Since the theme of this week seems to be Hostels I wanted to touch on something I thought a lot about during my most recent hostel stay – the inconsiderate hostel roommate. Nothing is worse than someone who seems to have no understanding that they are sharing a small space with many other people. In no particular order here are the worst people I’ve had to room with:

1. The Caller
This ‘lady’ was in my hostel in Amsterdam and ended up having the bunk next to mine in a 16 person room. I noticed her when she checked in because she didn’t really fit in with the normal crowd. She was older, wearing a dress/heals and pulling a giant suitcase which she managed to bang on every chair on her way in. When she wasn’t sleeping, she spent the entire time sitting alone at a table and smoking moodily. At one point I was talking to some people and I leaned against another chair at her table and she pulled the chair away saying it was taken.

But, her weird attitude aside this woman seemed to have no consideration for her fellow roommates. She let her phone ring at all hours of the night. One evening it rang continuously for about 15 min while she slept. Finally one of the other girls (we were all wide awake at that point) got up and shut the phone off.  When she did pick up the phone she seemed to have no problem holding loud conversations at 2, 3 am in the morning while everyone else tried to sleep. She also placed several phone calls at odd hours of the night. The phone calls often involved coordination in meeting up with someone and she would then switch on the overhead lights (again middle of the night with everyone sleeping) to loudly pack or unpack her bags before leaving and slamming the doors.

Moral of this story, take phone calls outside or in the hallways, never turn the lights on if other people are sleeping (I like to carry a small flashlight if I need to find thing or navigate into my bed), and if you must pack and unpack your bags do it as quietly as possible. Its understandable that sometimes you will need to enter and exit the room while others are sleeping – but its always obvious and appreciated when someone is trying to be quite versus someone who just doesn’t care.

2. The Nudest
In a hostel in Jerusalem, my friend and I stayed in a windowless room without any kind of AC. All we had to ward off the 100+ degree weather was one sad rotating fan to share amongst 5 people. So yes it was hot. But one fellow roomate (who happened to also be of a more advanced age) helped to mitigate this by sleeping completly in the nude. Keep in mind this was a mixed gender room. Now, she was nice enough and her offense isn’t really that bad so I will give her a pass, but I wanted to inlcude this to point out that when you are sharing a room with others, you can not treat it as YOUR room. This means you might need to change in the bathroom, and you should try to stay within the normal standards of modesty.

3. The Lifer
At another hostel in Amsterdam, I was in a bunk accross from another guy who was basicly living in the hostel. He had set up a little tent around his bed and had stung up his laundry to dry between to other beds. He had also filled up all the avialable free space around his bed with his items, leaving nowhere for his bunk mate to store their things. I understand he had been there for a while, but the lesson here is to confine your personal things to a reasonable area and make sure other people don’t feel uncomfortable like they are intruding on your private room.

4.The Cuddlers
I have actually had this occur in several hostels. Couples find that they just can’t be put off by the 5-10 other people in the room with them and feel the need to share a single bed and “cuddle” the night away. Not only is this against hostel policy (stay in your bed!) but it makes for a very awkward night for everyone else.

5. The Sleeper
This last one isn’t such an obvious violoation of hostels manners, but it is something that can sometimes lead to resentment from your other hostelers. Some people seem to sleep the day away, every day. It may seem innocent, but it will often prevent polite roomates form going about their business, socializing, showering, etc. They feel like they will disrupt the sleeper and feel awkward being in the room. Its fine to sleep, sometimes its necessary, but you have to understand that you can’t give anyone a hard time for talking, packing, whatever – outside of the normal appropriate “sleeping times” (usually when its dark outside or before check-out time).  Of course if your roomate is a sleeper, it is always nice to be considerate when possible, but its also okay to get done the things you need to do.

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2 Responses to Hostel Manners

  1. Tom K says:

    The price for most obnoxious people I’ve ever met in a hostel goes to some teenage girls that stayed in the same 12-person room as we did, on a short trip to London.

    They thought it was a good idea to wash and blow-dry their hair, making a ton of noise and waking the other 6 or 7 people who were trying to sleep, at 4 am…

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Ugh that’s the worst. I’ve had situations where I’ve been sleeping and people have carried on conversations the beds next to me. No amount of tossing and turning seems to get the point across that it would be nice if we could all go to bed now.

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