Hostels. Whether you love them or loathe them, or you’ve yet to experience them, sharing rooms in a hostel or hotel while on a university trip is statutory. Hostels are a perfect base to sleep on budget when traveling, have lots of fun and be part of a brilliant social experience. I’m currently sat on a train on the way back to Birmingham, having spent the past few days in a London hostel while attending the World Travel Market (it was amazing by the way, but I’ll be filling you in about that next week).
I’ve stayed in around 30 hostels so far, some include the best places I’ve ever stayed and some well… not so good. Believe me, two people engaging in an act that could be soundtracked by Marvin Gaye on the bunk above you – at 3am- is not cool!! I know some of you guys are on trips over the next week so here are a few tips to keep in mind about hostel etiquette and be a top dorm mate.
Keep it tidy
Considering the room sizes aren’t particularly big, keeping your stuff tidy is key. Hostels generally provide lockers or cupboards in the dorms, they are there to be used! Don’t hang wet clothes over someone else’s bed to dry, don’t leave suitcases or bags sprawled on the floor, and definitely do not eat crisps or messy foods on a top bunk. After all, dusting away the crumbs and having them fall down onto the bottom bunk bed, or worse directly onto the person below, won’t be met with a happy face…
Don’t be the person who overpacks a tiny cabin case only for it to split at the airport, then pay 15 euros to have it specially wrapped. Then 10 minutes later, have security flag up a random check and make you unwrap the whole thing, leaving you with a mile long ream of cling film to sort out, and attempt to rewrap the bag without the aid of the special twirly machine. Oh wait… I was that person.
Uni trips are usually around 4 days long, and if going abroad, the flights are mostly hand luggage only. The more things you bring, the less room you’ll have to put your things away, meaning the more mess you’ll make. To save space, check out the weather on your phone, read your itinerary of activities and decided whats essential to pack. Girls, instead of packing a pair of curlers or hairdryer each, maybe decide on 1 or 2 people in the room bringing these items? Likewise, when it comes to packing to go home, do it the night before! Sleeping in till 9, when you have to check out at 10, eat, and still pack, is only going to be stressful.
When things go bump, rustle and snore in the night…
Pack earplugs or headphones, just in case. In my dorm in London, my sleep (and ears) were damaged by the worst snorer, I’ve ever come across in my life. Ever.
While it’s great enjoying the nightlife and having a blast, just remember not everyone will want to party, and it’s so important to be respectful towards your friends and room mates. Stumbling into the dorm after a night out (when people are sleeping), switching on the lights, and generally making lots of noise won’t buy you any favours with your dorm mates. Nor will using your buddy on the bottom bed as a stepping stone… Use a phone light, and if you decide to go out, lay out p.js or things you’ll need for bed, ready for when you get in. No one likes to listen to the sound of rustling plastic bags either.
Hygiene is important, but don’t hog the bathrooms
Not every hostel will be the cleanest of places, but it can be made worse by the clientele. I’ve already established how vital it is to be courteous towards everyone in the hostel, and being aware of hygiene and cleanliness is the most important. Make sure you clean up after yourself wherever you are in the hostel, whether its your room, common areas, kitchen and bathroom. The latter of which are almost always shared. That being said, be aware that everyone will need to use the facilities; mirrors, showers, plug sockets etc. so don’t spend forever in there.
Mostly it’s all about common sense, uni trips are a lot of fun and even if you hate the hostel, at least you’ll have your own bed when you get back. I hope this has been helpful to you, and if you’re going on a trip over the next few weeks, I’m sure you will have an awesome time.
You can always tweet me about any questions about dorms, trips and anything else student wise in general –