The Cardinal Sins of Hostel Living

Okay, so I'm not one to rant. At least not to a broad audience. I like to focus on positivity and growth.

But guys. We need to talk. Over the last few years I've stayed in more communal living spaces than I can count on two hands, and have met people from all around the world who are just trying to live their lives and do their thing.

I've also met some people who warrant losing complete faith in humanity.

These are some lovely, non-garbage people I shared a room with in Koh Phanang. If only everyone could be so awesome...

These are some lovely, non-garbage people I shared a room with in Koh Phanang. If only everyone could be so awesome...

Now, I realize that staying in a dorm sacrifices a lot of personal comforts for the sake of frugalness, and there is no accounting for personal human nature, but I do believe we're all doing the best we can to not be shitty humans.

So please, for your dorm mates, your own sake, and mine, here are seven things you should avoid when you're living in a hostel.

1. Peeing on the floor. I'm putting this at number one because it happens more often than you'd think. Seriously, I understand that you're drunk and feeling debaucherous, but you're in a group space. People's stuff is all over the floor. Find the toilet. Or a bush. Or, god, even a house plant is preferable. Once, I was in a hostel in Thailand when I was awoken to--I kid you not--the smell of shit. I sat up abruptly and found a man, ass hanging out, standing over my bed. I managed a, "Dude, what the fuck!" just as he started peeing, and thankfully before he managed to a) do much damage, or worse, b) take an actual shit. I sat awake for the next two hours, during which time, I wish I was making this up, I caught him trying to return to my corner three times. THIS IS NOT THE TOILET. At this point the whole room was awake, and someone yelled, "WE CAN SEE YOU." Your drunkness is not an invisibility cloak.

2. Not wearing headphones. This is seriously one of my biggest pet peeves. I don't want to hear people yelling at each other on your Italian sitcom, nor your angry Swedish rap. Not when I'm trying to work and definitely not past the hour of 11 o'clock. Invest in a pair of headphones. And with that...

This is Tsultrim. Do you see how happy Tsultrim is in his headphones, knowing he's not distracting anyone around him? Tsultrim is a champ. Be like Tsultrim.

This is Tsultrim. Do you see how happy Tsultrim is in his headphones, knowing he's not distracting anyone around him? Tsultrim is a champ. Be like Tsultrim.

3. Talking on the phone while people are sleeping. Especially answering calls at 3 am not wearing headphones. I'm surprised I have to say this. I sleep like I'm dead, usually, but I also stay up really late. The number of inconsiderate people I've seen wake up an entire room of 18 is astounding.

4. Turning the light on when people are sleeping, especially after 2 in the morning. Again, I feel like this one should speak for itself. One time at a hostel in Canada, a girl turned the lights on at 4 am because she had just ordered pizza and didn't want to eat in the dark. There are 12 sleeping people, and you're not even drunk, so really what's your excuse here? Go sit in the hallway.

5. Drastically messing with the room temperature without consulting anyone. I'm generally freezing, so I always make sure to have a sweater on hand in case my dorm mates are fans of the ice box. I've heard horror stories of dorm mates shutting the AC off completely in the middle of the night, only to have everyone wake up a few hours later drenched in sweat. For the most part, we are in tropical weather--take one for the team, or at least chat around to see how people feel about bumping the thermostat up a few degrees. Most hostels will often appease you if you ask for a heavier or second blanket.

See how miserable Brad looks without the AC? Poor Brad.

See how miserable Brad looks without the AC? Poor Brad.

6. Banging in your bunk bed, or in a bathroom with limited options. Look, I'm not trying to cockblock, but if you're in the one bathroom that 16 people are supposed to share, not only can we probably all hear you, but someone probably has to pee. Get more creative in your space options. In terms of the room--look, I get it, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, but at least try to limit the secondhand awkward. And on that note...

This is a real sign, from a real hostel. The struggle is real.

This is a real sign, from a real hostel. The struggle is real.

7. Airing your dirty laundry in communal spaces. While this probably goes as much literally as it does figuratively (cuz, come on, traveler funk is real. Please take a shower. And do your laundry.), I'm talking about having very public, intimate arguments where everyone can hear you. One time I woke up in a hostel in Chiang Mai, where I had been staying in an all girls room, to see a dude in the bed over. One of the harder partying English girls had brought him home from a club. Live and let live, I had already been asleep and whatever they did didn't wake me up. BUT. The next morning, as everyone was shuffling around to start their days, the group suddenly became privy to a half hour of her reaming out her bedmate. I honestly can't tell you why the guy didn't get up and walk out. "Do you even remember my name?!" and, "God, my vag fucking hurts because of you." Cool story bro, but can you save it for somewhere a little more private? I do not want to hear the exact details of your disappointing screw, thanks.

I love hostel living, and it would be even more awesome without the above infractions. In short, use your best judgment, and try not to be an asshole. kthxbye.

What's your hostel horror story? Share in the comments below!