12 Things To Do at a Hostel If You Want Everyone to Hate You

One of the best parts about backpacking is hostel life. The experiences you have and the people you meet can truly shape how you view a city. They offer cheap accommodation, the option of cooking your own food and a great resource into the backpacking community.  When you’re on the road for long enough, hostel living becomes an art form. After a while showering with sandals, living out of a teeny tiny corner, sleeping on a top bunk as a 30+ year old and sharing a bathroom and kitchen with innumerable strangers becomes not only second nature, it becomes normal.  Most people use common sense- but it’s ASTOUNDING to me how many people still do inconsiderate things.

Here is an important backpacking travel tip: a list of things that nobody should have to tell you but you should DEFINITELY do if you want the entire hostel to hate you. 

Press Snooze

Over and over and over. We get it. You’ve gotta be up and the rest of us have to deal; we agreed to sleeping in a room with other people. But I do start to care when it happens 15 times in a row at 7 to nine minute intervals. Get up or give up.  

Leave your dishes in the sink

Do your dishes people. Sometimes hostels have cutesy signs that say “Your mom isn’t here, do your own dishes”, but to be honest- your mom shouldn’t really be doing your dishes either. 

Use the pot / pan to store your leftovers

Who do you think you are?! Other people need to use that! Also the fridge is not infinite. There isn’t enough space for this giant pot in the fridge. Wash the pot and save fridge space you lazy jerk-off.  

Leaving packing until the early morning 

If you’re leaving early just pack the night before. There is no way that it’s easier for you to do it in the morning in the dark. Also, I may strangle you with that plastic bag.  

Hang things on the ladder as the bottom bunker  

That ladder and 75% of the railings belong to the top bunk. I think it’s acceptable for the bottom bunk to have one end or part to hang a towel from, but use your own judgement for this. One of the few benefits of a top bunk is all the space you get. The ladder is 100% off limits. Unless you want me to slip and die or put my feet all over whatever you hang there- please leave the ladder to the top bunk occupant.   

Don’t put your phone on silent

Guess what? We can still hear the phone vibrate. All of us. Every. Single. Time. It’s even potentially more annoying to hear a buzz than an actual noise. When you go to sleep, put that damn thing on silent. 

Don’t use headphones 

Talk on the phone and let everyone hear both sides of the conversation. Or play phone games and watch videos with the background music and the sound effects on. People love listening to that.

Use your outdoor voice  

Read the room. Should you really be speaking at a normal volume at 2 am or 5 am? Probably not.  

Turn off the lights as the first to bed 

Sometimes we’re jet lagged or sometimes were hungover or sometimes we just wanna go to bed really early. And that’s okay! But if it’s 8 pm and you’re the only in there, leave them on so others can navigate. Similarly, if it’s a reasonable hour and the lights are still on, if you’re going to bed, turn the lights off for everyone. 

Groom yourself in the room 

We’re all human. We all have regular grooming that we do (or don’t do- whatever floats your boat). But keep it out of communal space. Dry your hair and cut your nails in the bathroom. This is not your home. You’d think this goes without saying but…. hostel life does make you lost a slight grip on reality after a while and you’d be surprised.  


I know you can’t help it and you deserve to travel on a budget too. There are longstanding debates about this 


This, above all else, should go without saying. Now, while many people are considerate of the expensive stuff, the little stuff matters too. Stealing milk, stealing charging cables, stealing cheese- just don’t do it. It starts this domino effect through the hostel and it’s not okay. 

Marcus Loke on Unsplash

Marcus Loke on Unsplash


For those of you who haven’t stayed in hostels, I imagine this wasn’t  a ringing endorsement. For those that have, I hope I have not triggered you haha. Hostel life IS great. I have spent months at a time living in and out of hostels as a guest and have worked in them as well. Living with constantly rotating roster of tens (sometimes more) of strangers certainly has its downside, but the experiences you often have make it all worthwhile. It’s good to live a little outside your comfort zone. 

I find that when I start to become too sensitive to all of the above and it drives me too crazy that it’s probably time to take a break from hostel life.  

Keep an eye out for my backpacking series and more on other aspects of hostel life coming soon!