It’s no secret that I am a geek for hostels. I talk about them all the time, to anyone who will listen. It’s hard to replicate that same feeling of community in any other transient setting, and lots of them are cute as heck inside. They are my favorite places to stay when I travel, and now I work in one! Inevitably, this means I now see hostels through a different lens, as well as the people who stay in them.
Are you a geek for hostels? Maybe you stay in them all the time and are now writing your thesis on Advanced Hostel Theory, or maybe you’re in the 101 class and about to stay in one for the first time. Either way, you can borrow this geek’s notes for a little review before the final exam, guaranteeing that the next hostel you stay in gives you top marks and remembers you fondly long after you check out.
- …of your fellow travelers. (Lights, noise, not hooking up in your occupied dorm, etc.)
- …of where you’re staying. Pay attention to the cultural and social expectations where you are traveling, like dressing modestly while visiting churches or staying off of the bike paths in Amsterdam. Remember that you are the outsider here and be respectful!
- ….of us, your humble hostel workers. We’re mostly broke travelers like you, and sometimes we may feel down/homesick/hungover. Plz be nice to us! We also LIVE where we work, so just because you see us in the kitchen doesn’t mean we’re “on.” Please don’t be offended if we tell you this when you ask to be taken to the luggage room. (Bonus points if you ask us how our days are going!)
Remember that you are staying in a HOStel and not a HOtel
- There will likely be some noise, especially in the common areas. People are getting to know each other! Bring earplugs if that’s not your thing.
- Read up on what your hostel does and doesn’t provide. Not every hostel has free towels, so please don’t get miffed at us when you don’t do your research.
- Clean up after yourself! Wash and put away your dishes, recycle your empties, make sure your trash makes it to the bin, and you get extra credit if you strip your sheets/duvet when you leave!
- Meeting new and interesting travelers is part of the hostel experience. Obviously, if social interaction makes you anxious, don’t force yourself to go out on the pub crawl. But maybe say hi or smile when you pass people in the common areas; it helps the hostel feel like home.
- Be open-minded–it’s hard to make friends if you’re not receptive to new cultures and ideas. But hopefully one of the reasons you’re traveling is because you want to broaden your horizons.
- Bonus points if you cook something from your homeland and share it, or teach us a weird untranslatable phrase in your language.
Respect the hostel system
- Please don’t steal–from us or from each other! If someone’s name is on the food, it’s not for you. Also, don’t swipe the hostel speakers.
- When checking in, don’t be That Guy who asks “Do you know if other people will be staying in my dorm?” Your dorm?! Ummmm probably dude! If you want a private room you gotta book one.
- Stay in the bed we assigned you, plz and thx. Just because someone isn’t in it doesn’t mean it’s up for grabs–check with us first! It can reeeally mess up our reservation system.
- Sharing is caring–let someone else have a turn at the ping pong table/indoor swing/record player etc.
Now that you’ve studied, you’re sure to blow your hostel hosts out of the water. Essentially, most hostels aim to be a home to all who pass through, so help us make those vibes for everyone else and you’re on your way to an A+.
Got any other favorite hostel-ing tips? Let me know below!