The Necessary Hostel Etiquette to Help Travelers

Posted by Jessie Hamilton in Global Family, Traveling, Volunteering 29 Jul 2016

Jonah Jacobson shares the best tips for hostel etiquette.  Jonah volunteered at Room2Board for 5 months and can tell you a lot of stories about what makes a good and bad hostel guest.

JonahHostels are the absolute best place for backpackers and budgeted travelers to stay. You can end up sleeping in some pretty amazing places; Tree houses, hostels literally on the water, mouton villas, or remote tents in the jungle. You can meet some amazing, colorful people too. People that become friends, party comrades, and travel buddies.Hostels are a place where people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and beliefs all come together to mingle. Sometimes they’re more interesting than the actual place you’ve come to check out!

KBK_2200You can usually get a feel for what kind of hostel you’re in within a few minutes. A good way understand the vibe ahead of time is to do your research at or Trip Advisor. There are reviews on just about any hostel in the world from guests that have stayed there, with insight on to the vibe and culture of the hostel. (But just a request – please book your hostel on their website whenever possible – hostelworld takes a 15% commission from the hostel).

Pool Fun at Room2BoardAnother key piece of staying in a hostel is putting yourself out there and feeling a little vulnerable. Some people are lone rangers the are content being solo. That’s cool. You do not have to mingle if you do not want to, but to make your experience top-notch, try to make friends. The best way to do this is to put yourself out there and meet new people from all over the world! An easy suggestion to meeting new people is to spend time in the social areas of the hostel. Become a part of the conversation and make small talk. Ask people about their travel plans. Buy them a drink, ask them to explore with you. If you feel lonely and notice people aren’t approaching you, go up and approach them. They best conversation started is asking where they are from and what their travel plans are. They are bound to answer that and start a dialogue.

Nighttime at Room2BoardAnother key hostel etiquette tip is to respect your dorm mates. Understand that your room will probably be your only private space and that needs to be respected. No romantic nights in your room, or loud obscene conversations while other guests are in there trying to relax. Hygiene is also a big one. Yes, you’re a traveler and your hygiene will not be what is was back home, it’s inevitable. People understand this and need to be respectful of it. The biggest hygiene tip is to wash your body and not smell. If you smell you will create an uncomfortable dorm situation where people won’t want to be with you and that could manifest into a larger struggle meeting and befriending new people. Be aware of your stench.

Surfing Costa Rica

Surfing Costa Rica

Lastly, don’t forget that hostels are hostels, not hotels. They are meant for budgeted travelers, not prissy posh people. There should not be a high expectation for nice amenities. So don’t complain if the showers are cold, or your bed is uncomfortable, the floors creak when you walk, or the overall structure isn’t beautiful. It’s all part of the experience. It’s character-building and will make you appreciate life just a little bit more. BE ACCEPTING AND UNDERSTANDING 🙂

Obviously, if something is dangerous then you need to say something. And if you feel uncomfortable, let the staff know. They are there to help you and provide the best customer service available. We can fix problems when they are addressed but there is no way to fix it, if nothing is said. Hostels are amazing, and will make you a better human over all! Come stay at Room2Board and enjoy the true pura vida!

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