thou shalt | hostel edition


After nearly three hard testing interesting months of hostel life during my OE in 2012, it was no surprise that some of the rules of thumb came flooding back from the deep, dark corners of my memory during my stay in Paris.

The noisy room-mates, hostel bars (/the scarily low cost of the drinks), pre-planned movements, cages, and thin privacy curtains – all make up the communal learning curve hostels help educate you on.

In my experience (and opinion!), as a hostel style traveller – or even just a decent, respectful human being – … thou shalt;

1) Be open to making friends with other hostel go’ers – regardless of gender, age, ethnicity – sometimes this could prove to be a mistake but mostly they’re like-minded people who are generally interested in the same things as you are – hostels are a great way to make random new friends from all corners of the world

2) Share knowledge, experience and tips of exploring the city you’re in along with other previously explored destinations with your roomies – it is seriously the best way to learn first hand tips and tricks that you can then pass on – it’s like an inner clique of knowledge, which to me is the beauty of the travelling network and society

3) Wear jandals in the shower – I don’t want to know about the foot fungi that could be caught in those delightful bathrooms…but I’m confident that it could easily happen – my skin crawls just at the thought of it

4) Take your key everywhere – being locked out is no fun and makes you look pretty amateur in the travel department to roommates and fellow hostel stayers

5) Prepare every step in advance i.e. the shower – remember your towel, remember your clean clothes/pyjamas, a bag for the dirty ones and anything &everything you may need that is usually just there at home or in a hotel – if you don’t, you’ll be exposing far more than you probably would like to to the rest of the hostel

6) Have your phone on silent when in your room – no one wants to hear all your Facebook notifcations, texts beeps, keyboard clicks or tinder swipes constantly going off

7) If you enter the room after hours and the light is off, leave it off – seriously, don’t just come in at midnight, turn the light on, grab your lipstick and leave with the light on?

8) Remember – and use! – a padlock for the cage provided under your bed or in the locker – unfortunately you can’t trust anyone everyone – after all, you are sharing with complete strangers in rooms costing a pretty cheap nightly rate

9) Be courteous of fellow travellers when it comes to sound, try to turn off an obnoxiously loud alarm once it has gone off and you have snoozed it once or twice…you don’t want to be that person who sleeps through their own alarm leaving your room mates top be re-woken every nine minutes – and I also don’t suggest blasting Nicky Minaj while everyone is sleeping at 5am on a Monday morning (or ever really?)

10) Don’t get your hopes up on the free breakfast – some are fantastic (perhaps even pack away a few bread rolls or croissants for later…not that I’m suggesting it…) but some are downright awful and leave you hungrier than when you arrived

I’m a great believer that everyone is different and carry the ‘each to their own’ mentality, in saying that, that’s is exactly why the above 10 values are so important. And really, I don’t think the they are too much to ask – the common denominator is respect – standard practise right?
Alas, wrong! It is truly surprising as to how many of these ideals and values are not even close to abided by by particular characters in Hostel life…oh the stories that could be told about many of the above being ignored…the tales of a traveller – an entirely new section of anythingthatglitters perhaps?

Any additions to the list? Always interested in travelling insights. After all, number two on the list doesn’t have to be practised while confined in the walls of a hostel by any means!

Sarah x


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