August 28, 2014
This ‘House Rules’
Just a few short days ago I found myself trying to list the dos and don’ts of Hostel Life to a guy who had never stayed in or near a hostel his whole life and who’s vision of backpacking was, how should I say this………..A little bit negative.
Now I know at times we backpackers do not get the best press and yes I have known members of the backpacking community who I would not want staying in the same hostel (or country for that matter) as me, never the less there are both written and un-written codes of conduct, that we all should follow when sharing space in a hostel. Most are simply common sense, without these, dare I say rules, the few can bring misery to the many.
The following are my take on the most common what to Do and what not to Do when in a hostel.
Don’t be a slob
I am still amazed when walking around hostels, to find fully grown adults cannot keep a small area clean and tidy, some will dump the whole contents of their backpacks onto the floor, with the net result that they take over the area shared by others and in some of the worse cases, even the bed space of others. Not only is this a pain to all those around them, it becomes a further night mare when they choose to check out as they always seem to leave something behind, normally smelly socks and dirty underwear.
Do Respect other peoples Space and things
This follows on from the above but you should also note that if others are lazing about on their beds it maybe that they have chosen to get away from other people, so give them their space and never, never sit on another person’s bed or touch their belongings without an invitation.
Don’t feed the wild life.
Common areas are for socializing eating and drinking, don’t take food or drink into a dormitory, it is almost guaranteed that crumbs will be dropped or drinks will be spilled and while you may be OK, the people that follow are now sharing their space with all sorts of unwanted creepy crawlies.
Do introduce yourself and join in
Not that easy for some people but hey the person you greet may be even more shy than you, force yourself every day to say hi to two new people, setting your-self a goal is easier than ‘waiting for just the right moment’. Getting to know people and sharing in an adventure is what ‘Backpacking is all about’.
Don’t be too amours in the Dorms
It happens more than you might think and you may believe you have found a way of playing doctors and nurses without making a sound but your wrong, it’s no fun for others sharing a dorm listening to you squelching and slurping away, when all they wanted was a good night’s sleep. Simple guys ‘Get a Room’ even if it’s the cleaning cupboard.
Do adhere to the quiet hours
Hostels do not have quiet hours to stop people enjoying themselves they have them so the majority get what they pay for i.e. a good night’s sleep. Noise is not the only thing to consider, try turning down the brightness on a mobile phone or a tablet as the illumination can be as off putting as you banging away on the key pads until the early hours of the morning.
On the same topic if you are suffering from the dreaded cold or hay fever, while it cannot be termed as fun, others will not be sympathetic if they have to listen to you spluttering all night, do yourself and others a favour get a single room.
There is nothing worse than being woken in the wee wee hours of the morning by someone bumping into you and making a racket as they leave the dorm early, if you intend to leave the hostel early in the morning, pack the day before so you don’t eat into someone else’s dream time.
For those of you that are light sleepers get yourself kitted out with ear plugs and a sleeping eye mask they will prove to be a life saver.
Don’t forget personal hygiene
Do every one a favour if you suffer from smelly feet, while a shower may sort you out, don’t forget that your shoes will still be permeated with the aroma of a ripe Durian,……….leave them outside or put them in a plastic bag and do give them a good bath once in a while.
While it is always a good idea to apply a liberal dosing of sun tan oil and insect repellent apply it out-side of the dormitory no one wants to be asphyxiated in their sleep.
Do leave a review
What-ever your experience staying in a hostel do leave a review via the likes of tripadvisor. Hostel owners and their staff want to know what they are doing right or for that matter wrong and other backpackers get the heads up on what to expect from the hostel.
Don’t put others at risk
The biggest danger in any hostel comes from smoking in the dorms, if you just have to have that last cigarette before you fall off to dream land or that first one in the morning to kick start your lungs, do it out in the common areas if that’s allowed or better still outside the hostel.
I know we did not become backpackers to be told what to do, but as with any place where people gather in large numbers there is a risk of things going horribly wrong, the house rules are there to protect not only you but also the other guests and staff. I have never known a hostel that has put rules in place just to stop its guests from enjoying themselves. There is one golden rule to all this
‘have fun and at the same time stay safe’.