A Traveler’s Guide to Hostel Etiquette

Backpack, trave, traveller, hostels, Nicaragua, guide

Hostel Etiquette

Hostels are great way to meet people, exchange ideas, swap travel tips, and save money. While searching for house, I stayed in hostels to save money. It is essential for everyone that you do your part by being respectful. In this post, I am focusing on a few things that I find most important.

Personal Items

First of all, What’s mine is mine, What’s yours, is yours. It should go without saying, but stealing is a big no-no. I am always leery of friends that I just met. I am always aware of my things and my surroundings. I expect the leftovers from last night’s dinner to be in the fridge in the morning-for breakfast. The water bottle I put in the freezer, is for the hike I’m taking tomorrow. I often share my food, beer, or ginger tea with new friends I’ve met. It is not okay to help yourself to what ever is in the fridge.

Some hostels offer or require you to label and date your items, otherwise they will be discarded by the staff. Fridge space can be sparse, so buy what you will use that day only. Do not stock up on produce and beer for the full term of your stay.


It sucks, but make sure you lock your pack. You may want to use a locker or the safe behind the reception desk. Most places are happy to store personal items (i.e. Passport, cash). Personally, I am never comfortable being without my passport. I keep my passport and some cash in a money belt. I also keep two photo copies in different areas of my pack, one copy at home where someone can get access to it if needed, and I also keep a snapshot of it on my phone’s camera roll.


Communal living can take some getting used to if you haven’t done so before. Sharing dorm rooms, bathrooms, showers, the kitchen, and eating areas doesn’t leave a lot of ‘alone’ time. If, you want total privacy book a room at a hotel or private room at the hostel, many offer at least one or two private rooms. Of course, it is always cheaper to opt for a dorm. I’ve slept in rooms as small as four beds and others with twenty or more. Accommodations vary from place to place. Sometimes rooms and bathrooms are reserved for men and women, but many are coed, including the showers. Be respectful.


Personal Space

Use headphones when listening to music or watching movies on your device. Just because you are sitting together at breakfast, doesn’t mean your roomies want to have a conversation. Don’t hog the bathroom or shower, everyone wants to use it. And don’t leave you personal items on the sink. Bring what you need and take it when you’re done. If you use the kitchen, clean up after yourself, your mother doesn’t work here.


If you like to stay out late, be courteous of others when you return. (Check the house rules, some hostels have curfews.) Don’t make a lot of noise. Don’t turn on the lights in your dorm when the others are asleep, use the flashlight app on your phone.  If you are leaving early to catch a bus or flight be mindful and pack the night before. It is amazing how loud a zipper on your sack can be at 4:00 am.

I realize that this post could have been much longer. I have tried to highlight what I feel are the most important. Keep in mind that everyone is trying to have a good time and learn and experience the world in what often is a trip of a lifetime.

What was your experience like? Have any tips.

Viva León, Jodido!

One Comment on “A Traveler’s Guide to Hostel Etiquette

  1. Pingback: Tips for a Pleasant Stay in a Hostel | Hey Chelito!

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