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Hostel Etiquette: When Everyone is Sleeping

In an ideal travel world, hostels would place guests into rooms based on who is going out drinking, who is going to get up early, and who plans on coming home late. An impossible and unrealistic imagining, I know, but after so many years of being pulled from the depths of a jet-lagged coma by someone coming home at two in the morning or getting up at five, you can’t blame a person for wishing. Until that day, the next best option is an unspoken code of conduct offering guidelines for what to do when everyone else is sleeping and you have to start digging through your bag.

Pack Your Bag the Night Before
It’s not your fault you have a flight out of town at some ungodly hour. It’s usually the price student travelers pay for scoring a cheap flight. If you know you’re going to have to get up at 4:00 in the morning, pack your bag ahead of time. Set what you’ll need for the morning on top of your bag so you don’t have to spend twenty minutes digging around trying to find your favorite shirt.

Grab the Lower Bunk
If you’re in a room with bunk beds, grab a bottom bunk if you can. You’re less likely to cause a disturbance crashing off the side of your bed if you don’t have to climb a ladder to get into it. Also, unless your hostel has sprung the cash for new beds, it’s pretty much impossible to get out of the top bunk without making a ridiculous amount of noise.

Ditch the Plastic Bags
Or at least try not to dig through them between the hours of midnight and 6 AM. It’s kind of amazing how much louder a plastic bag sounds at 2:00 in the morning.

Travel With a Headlamp
Traveling with a small headlamp is a good idea for a wide variety of reasons. They’re small, relatively inexpensive, and completely indispensable. A smartphone can be used in a pinch, but a headlamp alleviates some of the struggle of getting ready in a dark room. Don’t ever be that person who turns on the light when everyone is sleeping. Unless you want to rack up some really bad travel karma.

Silence Your Phone
Your awesome ringtone is less awesome at night. Especially when you can’t find your phone and are obligated to dig through everything you own to unearth and silence it.

Don’t Hit the Snooze Button (at least more than once)
Waking up is hard, but it’s a lot easier than having to face down a dozen sleepy strangers who are tired of listening to your alarm go off for the third time in a row.

Get a Room
One of the wonderful things about staying in hostels is the communal travel experience. However, there are some experiences better left unshared. Your drunken amorous activities definitely fall under that category. Get a room. One that doesn’t have ten other people in it.

By Nikki Hodgson


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