Tag Archives: hostel

Hostel Etiquette: A Guide

8 Mar

After spending the last seven weeks in dorm rooms I feel it’s necessary for me to write this post. It seems some veteran travelers already have this down and some newbies know the unspoken rules instinctively, but the others, well … the others give hostels a bad name and can ruin everyone’s experience.

Rule #1: Be aware of when people are sleeping.

If it’s before 8 a.m. and people are still asleep, take your conversation outside. If you have to talk, whisper. You don’t need to tip toe around but staying conscious of how much noise you’re making goes a long way.

Rule #2: Prepare before you leave the hostel. 

If you know you won’t head back until well after everyone else is asleep, lay your pajamas and toothbrush out on your bed before you leave. Instead of having to rummage through your bag in the dark (waking everyone up as you do so) all your things will be waiting for you.

The same applies if you plan on having an early morning. Prepare your bag the night before and lay out a change of clothes. It will save you time and you’ll be less likely to receive death glares once you return.

Rule #3: Don’t have sex in the dorm room. 

I know it’s tempting and I know you think everyone is asleep, but they’re not or they won’t be for much longer. Your innocent romp will end up making everyone else in the room feel extremely uncomfortable. Keep in mind that not everyone is as sexually open as you are and you could be traumatizing someone.

I had a friend who was about to get to up to pee in the middle of the night when two people starting going at. She felt so awkward about the situation that she decided to lie in bed until they finished and then couldn’t get back to sleep after the whole ordeal was over.

Get creative and take it outside or head to the bathroom. It’s just as exciting.

Rule #4: Keep your space clean.

Don’t unpack your whole bag or leave your stuff everywhere like a bomb went off. Remember: this is isn’t only your room and people on the top bunks need floor space too. You’re not entitled to more just because you have more things.

Rule #5: Don’t spend all your time in the hostel. 

This isn’t so much a rule as it is a suggestion. Don’t have every meal at your hostel or spend all day sitting at the computers. Get out there! See some things! Make some friends and discover the ‘real’ culture of a place. You didn’t travel this whole way to do the same things you can do back home, did you?

Writer’s Guilt and Traveling

5 Mar

I feel like a bad journalist. Today marks my eighth week of traveling through Southeast Asia and I have yet to write one blog post. Every time I have a pang of guilt over this I rationalize it by telling myself I’m living in the moment. And I am.

But today it stops. Sort of. I’m in Battambang, Cambodia right now – a quaint little town with colonial storefronts, a smaller tourist circuit and a slower pace of life. I decided to splurge on a $16 a night hotel room with a desk, air conditioning and a giant window that lights up the room, just so I could put an end to this and start documenting my trip. (And, honestly I was dying for some alone time and some privacy. You can read my traveler’s guide to hostels, hotels and couchsurfing, here.)

I leave for Saigon, Vietnam by bus tomorrow morning and while it’s still fresh in my mind I’d like to share what I think about Thailand and Cambodia. It’s been 56 days since I left California and began my love affair with Asia, but it feels like my trip has only just begun. It’s funny how relative time becomes when you feel like all you’ve got is time.

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