Hostel Dorm Room Etiquette - The Top 10 Tips
Sharing a dorm on the road is an essential part of what makes backpacking fun. It can be the basis of a life long friendship, but it can also be a cause of all kinds of trouble - from soprano snorers disturbing a good night's rest to the order of entry in for the en-suite bathroom in the morning. To help you steer clear of any potential stress spots, here are our top ten tips to getting the most out of your dorm experience.
- Say Hello
It only takes a second to say hi to the people you're going to be sleeping with and something as simple as an introduction, can have a lot of happy knock on effects. You might even meet the love of your life! Also, breaking the ice at the get go, will make it that much easier when you need to roll over a snorer - at 4am!
- Space is Sacred
Remember as a kid when your brother or sister would borrow something or dump some junk on your bed? Remember how annoying that was? Well the same principle applies to bunk beds in dorm rooms. If you're hanging your towel up to dry, hang it from the end - not the side of your bed - blocking access for the bottom bunkee. Also if you keep you clutter in the under bed locker, you're less likely to send someone flying during a nighttime bathroom run.
- Respect the Bathroom Queue
It's a very British thing to queue and in a dog eat dog world, it might not always be an option. In a dorm room however, it's essential. Barging to the front when your bunk buddy has been crossing their legs and rocking back and forth for ten-minutes, just isn't cricket. If you're in an en-suite room, wait your turn and if you can't - make use of the extra facilities on the same floor.
- Making Love Makes War
People hook up on the backpacker trail. It's an undeniable fact and for many, a highlight of being away from home. Here's a tip though. If you're sharing a 22-bed dormitory, don't consummate your newly found lust in a bunk bed, in front of an audience. Statistically speaking, one or more of you roommates will object to involuntary voyeurism - so if you're going to go for it, find somewhere discreet.
- Keep The Kebab Fumes To Yourself
We all get the munchies after a night out and when bar snacks don't cut it, the delights of processed meat slathered in sauce and served in crispy carbs - can be irresistible. It isn't however everyone's cup of tea so if you do turn into a kebab gremlin after midnight, don't bring the meaty good times back to your dorm for consumption. Smelly foods fall into the fart category - if you can do it outside the room and spare your fellow travellers, you should.
- All Snorers Present Say Aye
It might sound like an over share, but if you know yourself to be a tonsil rattler in the wee early hours of the morning, it's best to hold your hand up and say so. The majority of complaints about shared rooms come down to travellers who snore like troopers. Declaring your affliction takes the edge of the late night surprise and when there are extra rooms available, this information can help out with switching rooms - in advance.
- Pick Your Preference
St Christopher's Inns offer all sorts of beds to suit all sorts of people. From female only floors and private en-suite shelters, to bargain 22-bed mixed dorms and unique international art rooms, there really is something for everyone. If you do have a preference, take the time to check out the facilities listed online - before you book your bed.
- The Online Addiction
Cheap data roaming and free WiFi at the hostel mean that it's easier than ever to feed our addictions to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the rest, but if you're doing this in a dorm after lights out, it's going to be annoying to anyone who's trying to sleep. If you have a pod bed with a privacy curtain, go for it. If you don't, show some respect and imagine how annoying this distraction would be if you were trying to drop off.
- Keep Track of Your Tech
Smart phones, tablets and laptops are commonplace in the modern backpacker's backpack. It can however be tough to tell one iPhone from another, especially when they're clustered around international adapters at the shared plug sockets, in a dorm. In that situation it's easy to pick up a piece of tech that's not yours, so check that your wallpaper and pin code match - before you run off to another country with someone else's toy.
- Share What You've Got
Making friends is easy but keeping them can be hard, so when it comes to new dorm room bunk buddies, why not leave them with something to remember you by? It could be a book that you're done with, an Instagram shot - shared and tagged on Facebook, a T-shirt that you're keen to swap for memento's sake or something as simple as a phone number. Any which way, give it a go and stay in touch with your newfound friends.
– Rob Savage
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