If you’ve ever stayed at a hostel you are probably well aware of the many common annoyances in shared-room settings. Most of these annoyances are probably related to noise, bad odours, or a general lack of common courtesy from one or more persons in your room. Perhaps you yourself have been ‘that guy’ on one or two occasions – I know I have. Here are 5 simple things that you can do to stay in the good books with your dorm-mates:

1) Avoid turning on the lights in the middle of the night: It’s three in the morning and you have been out throwing back tequila shots and busting a groove at the most happening bar in town. Some of your roommates (dorm-mates) are already on their third dream and others have an early morning bus to catch. You get back to your room and it’s time to get ready for bed – chances are that the lights are off and your vision is moderately impaired. What should you do?

I have never heard of a study that says bright lights help to promote a good night’s sleep. On the contrary, studies show that LIGHT has the strongest impact on our sleep – hence why we tend to wake when the sun rises and why we make our rooms as dark as possible when we need some quality shut-eye. At times, you may not be able to avoid turning the dorm light on but as I suggested in a previous post, packing a small flashlight or headlamp that can be kept on your bed or carried in your pocket is a good idea. If you don’t have a small light, consider leaving your toothbrush, face-wash, pyjamas, etc., in the bathroom or on your bed so when you return to your room there is no need to go on treasure hunt through your backpack.

Small Flashlight & headlamp

2) Close the door when you leave the room – Remember that not everyone in your room is on the same sleeping schedule. Because you went to bed at 10pm and woke at sunrise doesn’t mean that everyone else wants to hear the roosters crow. Whether it is 11pm or 11am – Noise distracts, annoys and wakes others up. I often find that people forget to pull the door shut when they leave the room, allowing external noise and the light (sleep’s enemy) to enter. There is a very simple remedy to this problem – close the door behind you.

3) Don’t use other beds as your closet or clothes line – Let’s face it, you paid for one bed not two. Just because someone isn’t on the adjacent bed at this very moment doesn’t mean that they won’t be checking in or returning within the hour. No one wants to come back to their bed to find a wet towel or soiled pair of jeans draped over their pillow. Try to keep your stuff on your bed or stowed in the places specifically provided for your clothes and other belongings  (aka towel rods, closets and shelves).

4) Don’t get physical in shared rooms – Yeah sure, everyone needs a little romance sometimes, but seriously, do your dorm-mates really need to share in your romantic encounters? Probably not. The old makeshift privacy screen (aka bed sheets and towels)  doesn’t really work to block out the smooches and other intimate noises. If you are traveling as a couple, consider budgeting for a private room for those nights when you aren’t exhausted from hiking and you want to get your hanky-panky on.

Improvised Privacy Screen

5) Wash your feet or leave your shoes outside – So you’re back from an exhausting city-tour or a trek through the humid rainforest and your hiking boots are steaming from all the action. Maybe you bought the expensive pair with ‘odour eliminating technology’, but chances are, they still don’t smell like when you first took them out of the box. Most dorm rooms that I have stayed in have had pretty poor air circulation and consequently odours were trapped and lingered for a while. After traveling for weeks/months we may get accustomed to our own fragrance, but trust me, others aren’t. Consider leaving your shoes outside the room to air out and if you are planning on hitting the hay without showering, also consider giving your feet a quick wash.


Keep smelly shoes out of the dorm room

Do you have some hostel etiquette recommendations – leave yours as a comment? If you enjoyed this post, please remember to share it with your friends and subscribe to my feeds.