There Are Things You Should Never Do While Staying At A Hostel
I love hostels, I really do.
Last February marked my first ever hostel stay when I spent the weekend in Montreal. From that point forward, I was addicted. The cheap prices, free wi-fi, kitchen to cook your own meals in and the chance to meet other travelers were all attractive to me. Staying next at a hostel in Cinque Terre, Italy, I found friends to hike, drink and eat meals with. It was great!
Yet, we all know that staying at a hostel has it’s downside and things can happen which make your stay less fun. After staying a hostel in Barcelona this past weekend, I felt compelled to write this post “Five Things You Should Never Do While Staying At A Hostel.” I have so many more to add that I’m thinking about making it a three part series.
So what are these things you never do? Let me tell you …
1) Eat smelly food and leave the garbage lying around the room.
Hostel rooms are usually tiny. In such an enclosed space, when things smell they really really smell.
So while you may think it’s a good idea to scarf back your Big Mac and french fries before heading out to the club, your roommates are most likely not on the same page. They probably won’t appreciate you bringing back the food and chowing down at 3 AM either.
- Eat in the common area or kitchen.
- Don’t eat in the hostel at all. Dine elsewhere.
- If you absolutely need to eat something, ensure your food isn’t messy or smelly like an egg salad sandwich. A bag of trail mix, some cookies or an apple? No big deal but be prepared to share!
Not disposing your food is another no-no. Imagine how a half-eaten greasy hamburger smells after a few hours? It’s not pleasant. Two of my roommates were awesome enough to leave their Burger King left-overs in the room Thursday night when they checked out. I couldn’t have asked for a better parting gift.
2) Use another person’s bed as a place to store your things.
When staying at a hostel and sharing a room with complete strangers, your tiny little bunk bed is your only personal space, a sanctuary if you will. It’s here you sleep, lay and read, use your computer and do whatever.
You expect that when you leave the room, you won’t come back to find it piled with another person’s belongings. On Saturday afternoon, I came back to my room to find a pair of glasses and smelly wet socks and on Sunday afternoon, it was a bag of cookies and a bottle of Coke.
While it was super sweet of my roommate to leave these things for me, I sure didn’t want them. I actually had to ask her to stop leaving stuff on my bed and wasn’t too happy at having been forced into that awkward moment.
It was weird that she used my bed in the first place, especially since the bunk below hers was completely unoccupied. Rather unbelievably, things got stranger the second night when the same girl put her bag on the bunk below her when someone actually was sleeping in it. While getting ready to go to sleep, she placed her cosmetics bag on the other girl’s bunk causing her to wake up, shout and kick the bag roughly to the floor.
Use common sense.
- Don’t use any bed other than your own to store things. Use your locker, shelf or nook.
- Don’t leave wet and/or smelly things on another person’s bed. This is gross.
- Don’t place things on another person’s bed while it’s occupied. It may provoke an angry response.
3) Take a shower, flood the bathroom floor and not clean up afterwards.
There’s nothing better than waking up, walking to the bathroom and taking a tumble into a large puddle of water that one of your “oh-so-kind” roommates left behind. This was how I started my day last Saturday.
Better yet? This flooding took place on a regular schedule. Oh yes! Every morning and every night, I could be rest assured that the entire bottom of our small shared bathroom was full of water.
Good thing I learned my lesson on the first day. Each subsequent time I entered the bathroom, I’d walk slowly and carefully, resentfully grab some toilet paper and clean up their mess.
A few suggestions.
- Take a shower and make sure the doors are closed tightly or the curtain is drawn across the entire way.
- Keep a towel close by so you can avoid taking a wet walk across a slippery floor.
- Dry off in the shower stall.
If somehow you still can’t avoid flooding the bathroom floor, clean up after yourself. Not doing so endangers yourself and others.
4) Drunkenly pack your bags in the middle of the night.
I arrived at my hostel late last Thursday night. Tired from my flight, I went to bed around 1 AM only to be awoken at 3:00 AM by two very drunk girls.
Smelling like bottles of alcohol, they turned on all of the lights and loudly began packing their bags for their early morning flight. Laughing, throwing things, spraying perfume and tripping over themselves more than once, they kept me fully “entertained.” Despite another woman sleeping above me, they regaled me with tales about how they had their wallets stolen that day. I nodded in sympathy and whispered “That really sucks. Are you able to get home OK?” Meanwhile, I was desperately praying to God they could because all I wanted them to do was leave.
Leave they did but a long hour later. They also left us with their Burger King left-overs and empty bottles of cava. You just know those two items pair well together!
I think it’s obvious but I’ll say it anyway.
- If you have an early morning flight, pack before you go out so you don’t have to drunkenly (or soberly) do in the middle of your night.
- When you do wake up, get ready as quickly and quietly as possible.
- Refrain from spraying vast amounts of perfume in a small poorly ventilated room. Remember some people have allergies.
- Turn on as few lights as possible. If you have a head lamp, make use of the handy contraption!
5) Perform ninja moves to reach your top bunk.
Let me break the news to you gently.
You are not Neo and you do not live in the Matrix. You are not part of a beautifully depicted martial arts sequence in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Things don’t happen in slow motion and there is no way for you to defy gravity.
You know the girl who liked to leave me presents on my bunk? Apparently, she was also not capable of climbing a ladder to get to her bed.
I watched in disbelief as she attempted to perform a ninja-like move to reach the top bunk. She grabbed the railings of the top bunks on each side of her, put a foot on each of the bottom beds and somehow flung her body towards the top, loudly crashing into the bed frame until she finally just hung there. She then somehow pulled herself up on to her bed.
Of course, she put her gymnastic skills to use in the middle of the night when 3 of us were trying to sleep. Remarkably no one said anything to her. Maybe it was because we were in complete and utter shock?
Remember this if you remember anything.
- You’re human and not a super hero or a member of Cirque du Soliel.
- The ladder is there for a reason. Use it!
- If ladders are challenging for you, ask the hostel staff to assign you to a bottom bunk.
- Do not use other people’s beds to gain access to your bunk.
So there you have it, my first installment of “Five Things You Should Never Do While Staying At A Hostel.” And despite my recent experience, I plan to continue staying at hostels. I’ve learned to be patient and go with the flow as being able to tell these stories on my blog is half the fun!
Be Included In Later Installments. Do you have any points you would like to add to my list? Let me know by leaving a comment and I may include it in one of my next installments. I’ll even list your name and web site if you have one.