Hostel Dormitory Ettiquette And How To Behave In A Backpackers Inn

If you’ve ever shared a room with anyone, you’ll know that there are certain rules of ettiquette to observe – these relate to personal space, sleeping arrangements, hygiene and noise. It is forgiveable for first time hostellers to make faux pas – but preparation is key and knowing hostel dormitory ettiquette and how to behave in a backpackers inn will be beneficial to your survival on the road.

Here are a few points I’ve compiled based on my experience.

Knock On The Door Before Entering

A simple knock on the door to announce your arrival is just a small way to show your consideration to others who are already inside the room. It shows that you are aware that the room does not just belong to you, but shared with your room mates.

Perhaps someone is getting changed in the room, a simple knock can alert them to call out to you so that you don’t accidentally cast your eyes upon them, in an inadvertent perverse moment.

Greet Your Roommates

Its nice to acknowledge the people with whom you will be sharing the space. In a fleeting moment of hellos and niceties, you can also get a feeling for their well-being. Use this tiny bit of information to judge whether they would be open to further conversation or whether they prefer solace.

Keep Your Belongings Tidy

This goes without saying! The room is a shared space afterall and you should respect that. You may be allocated with a locker, a drawer or just floor space.

The benefits are endless: you know where things are; your belongings are easily accessible; you allow more space for others in the room; you reduce the risk of bed bug infestation; etc…

Lights Out After 9:30PM

No, I’m not saying you have a bedtime or a curfew – but its an average time for travelers to head to bed. Everyone has a different schedule during the day, so don’t make assumptions that people are not tired just because it is early according to the clock!

The Lights Out rule includes moving outside to the common area if you want to continue working on your laptop. The chattering of keys on a keyboard can be a small annoyance that prevents someone from having a good rest. Consider the light from the laptop shining into your eyes!

If you’re having a late night deep and meaningful conversation, move it outside – even whispering can be loud!

Always Use Earphones

I don’t care if I like your music or the tv show you are watching, it is common courtesy to plug in your earphones and keep the noise at a personal level. You might think its cool, but its an invasion of space.

Think of it this way – you may be super tidy and keep all your belongings in one tiny little corner. But as soon as you have your music on, you are taking up the space of the entire room!

Avoid Eating And Drinking

Apart from the smell you may introduce into the room, there’s the chance that the food may attract creepy crawlies. Once insects are in the room, your bed and your bags are at risk of infestation. Good luck with that.

Beware Of Bed Bugs

This is SUPER important. Bed bug infestations can impact you, your roommates and the hostel!

If you have had ever had bed bugs, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Suppose you have a bed bug incident – you will surely move to another room or to another hostel in the least. Your clothes, your bags and everything you carry can potentially be infested. DO NOT bring your bags and belongings into the hostel until you have treated everything and the infestation is clear!

This is the reason that many hostels have a strict policy about keeping bags on the bed. You may be introducing bed bugs unknowingly. Always be careful.

Shoes Stay Outside The Room

Shoes carry a shit ton of bacteria. Bacteria grow and die and the result of this is stanky shoes. If you don’t have shoe powder to counter this, then by all means keep your shoes outside the dorm room!

Hang Your Towel Elsewhere

Your towel does not belong on the ladder. It does not belong on the little barrier on the top bunk. It does not belong anywhere where you are impeding on shared space or someone’s personal space.

You might consider getting a portable clothes line – one that you can hook up above your bed within the confines of your own personal space.


Keep intimacy at the door. Simple.

The dorm room is a shared space, it does not just belong to you and your partner. You may not care that other people are in the room, but others in the room will 100% care that you are acting out your sexual activities. This saying has never been so apt: For fuck’s sake!


I love to party! Don’t get me wrong, have as much fun as you want! But the dorm room is a sleeping space, not a party room! Take the party outside to the common area or better still to a bar or club. your room mates will be thankful for it.

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