Dorm Etiquette For Frequent Backpackers

Many of my friends are wary of checking into hostels because they fear a lot of things – nasty roommates, sleepless nights (thanks to incessant snorers), dirty rooms, dirtier bathrooms, theft… and the list goes on. Today, I’m not going to tell you how to find a fool-proof hostel, but how to be a good roommate. If you travel frequently and don’t want to be hated by all your hostel-mates, follow my etiquette guide for staying in dormitories and shared rooms:-

#1: Don’t Be Judgemental

In Prague - before my roommates arrived.

In Prague – before my roommates arrived.

You may have heard scary stories about sharing a room with strangers, but trust me, your roommates are just as wary as you are. Do not heed preconceived notions about people you haven’t even spoken to. This also means you shouldn’t close yourself up and only expect others to talk to you first. Be the friendly roomie who says hello and makes the others in the dorm comfortable.

#2: Don’t Act Like You Own All The Space

Luggage rooms are where your giant bags (which you won't need immediately) should go!

Luggage rooms are where your giant bags (which you won’t need immediately) should go!

Most hostel rooms are cosy spaces where bunk beds and lockers occupy most of the area. If you are backpacking, you are expected to travel light. But we all know how some of us think we need to change 5 outfits in a day, and we carry huge suitcases to supplement our rucksacks. If you are a culprit of overpacking, make sure you don’t take up unreasonable space (to the point of inconveniencing others) in the room. Arrange for your extra bags to be stored in the hostel’s luggage room.

#3: Get Your Snoring Problem Under Control

Be mindful of how you treat your roomies! (My dorm in Warsaw)

Be mindful of how you treat your roomies! (My dorm in Warsaw)

The only one who gets sound sleep in a dorm is the one snoring. If you have a snoring problem, your roomies will most likely have a sleeping problem! Be a good roommate and use an anti-snoring mouthpiece to have a peaceful night (for you and everyone else). Use my promo code – OINDRILADE to get $10 off on VitalSleep’s anti-snoring mouthpiece. This device is easy to carry and comes in its own cute case – perfect travel accompaniment! VitalSleep is FDA-cleared for the treatment of snoring and opens up your airway by controlling the position of your lower jaw. When you sleep better, you’ll also wake up happier and be a friendlier roommate! 😉

#4: Leave The Bathroom Clean

The shared bathrooms are not only yours! Leave things dry after you're done.

The shared bathrooms are not only yours! Leave things dry after you’re done.

We all like our toilets clean and dry. Unfortunately, when you have a careless roommate, your bathroom looks like a crime scene straight out of a horror movie. It doesn’t take too much effort to clean up after yourself. Be sure to leave the restroom just as you found it, if not better. I’d also like to highlight the point of carrying your own products into the bathroom and bringing those back with you (so you don’t hog the limited rack space).

#5: Keep The Noise Down

Are you guilty of slamming doors?

Are you guilty of slamming doors?

Your hostel room is meant for you to relax after a tiring day of exploring the city. You are not generally supposed to stay in all day. Whether you feel like having a quiet time or not, your roommates do. So, don’t play those random Insta-stories on full volume! Use earphones for personal entertainment, and if you need to call somebody, use the common rooms or kitchens for the jabber. If your roomies are sleeping, you should be extra careful. Try not to turn the lights on. Use your phone’s flashlight instead. Don’t slam doors or walk noisily. Nobody likes to be woken up from deep sleep.

#6: Do Your Laundry – Don’t Stink!

Wash your clothes so you don't stink through your stay!

Wash your clothes so you don’t stink through your stay!

Most backpackers are notorious for their poor hygiene. Some bathe only once a week, some never change their clothes throughout their stay, and some do both! Don’t be that painful roommate who smells like a rotten onion, making it hard for others in the room to breathe. Many hostels have washing machines you can use for a small fee. If yours doesn’t, use a public laundromat to ensure you have clean and nice smelling clothes to wear every day.

#7: Use Locks – Know When Not To Trust Strangers

Don't blame others for your stolen stuff if you forget to secure your lockers!

Don’t blame others for your stolen stuff if you forget to secure your lockers!

When you live with strangers in a dorm with multiple beds, you cannot be foolish enough to think everyone is going to be honest. It is always your responsibility to take care of your belongings. Use the locker in your room to store your money and bags (that fit) if you’re not taking them with you. If you ever lose anything due to your own oversight, it is useless to blame your roomies.

#8: Remember That Your Bed Is Not A Dining Room

Hostels have common kitchens so you won't have to dirty your bed.

Hostels have common kitchens so you won’t have to dirty your bed.

How often have we met people who carry their kitchen with them and start eating wherever they sit! Your bed sure is not a place to eat that sandwich you just made! Hostels have rules for a reason. You wouldn’t want rodents sharing your blanket with you in the middle of the night, would you? Also, your roommates don’t exactly want to smell the beef stroganoff when they’re getting dressed to go out. Carry your food to the common kitchen or dining room, and eat as much as you like.

You are a brand ambassador for your country when you go abroad.

You are a brand ambassador for your country when you go abroad.

We all need to realize that we represent our country when we stay at a multi-ethnic hostel half-way across the world. Everyone is going to judge your countryfolks based on how you behave. You cannot just think you’re a stranger who no one will remember (and continue to be a brat). You have many places to go. Be the roommate who makes others want to visit your country!

Have you come across roommates who’re nightmares?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

Write your comments below! 🙂

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14 thoughts on “Dorm Etiquette For Frequent Backpackers

  1. Well said. Especially about talking softly and not talking loud phone calls inside. I know loud travellers and they are very annoying…

  2. Yes, I agree with you Oindrila…. I say the external world is the reflection of our inner world. So, it is important to see our inner world and perceptions we harbour. Sakti Singh Das

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