So this weekend I’m all set to stay in a dorm room, as I visit the Generator hostel in London for the very first time (review to follow next week).

As much as I love dorm rooms, I already know what parts of the dorm experience I might not enjoy, and what type of fellow dorm goers I might not appreciate. But whilst I have written all about the negative aspects of hostel life and how very easy it is to annoy other people in dorm rooms, it dawned on me that I have never written about how to be a good dorm buddy.

So here it is, a list of good behaviours for when staying in dorms.  A lot of the below is common sense, but you’d be amazed at how quite often dorm rooms and common sense just don’t seem to work for whatever reason, but they should and to that end I shall be trying very hard to follow the below list this weekend Wish me luck!


1. Say Hello

Hostels aren’t just cheap(er) places to lay your head at night, they’re also social spaces, so be social and say hi to new people and make new friends.

I’ve made some great friends through staying in hostels, and those friendships all starter with a hi/hey/yo/waddup … OK maybe not ‘waddup’, but you get the idea.

2. Keep your stuff in your allotted space

So you’ve made some friends, now to keep them!

A significant step towards doing so is to keep your stuff within your area of the dorm.  Don’t go spreading your crap all over the place and effectively commandeering the place.  This totally includes leaving your dirty washing anywhere outside of your bed area or locker.  Gross!

Such behaviour will make your dorm mates uncomfortable and a little bit resentful towards you.  Respect their space and the limits to your own.  Everyone has paid to be in the room, so everyone should get equal share.

3. Respect people visiting the land of nod

If your dorm mates are catching 40 winks, please just leave them to it.

Now this sounds like common sense after 10pm or whatever, but I would even extend this to the daytime.  Granted it’s usually night time where you’d expect people to hit the sack, but what about those people who have just travelled for 24 straight hours and just need to crash.  We’ve all been there right?  Sometimes you just have to crash and that may well need to be during the middle of the day.

After dark of course booze and other substances often come into play.  Now I like a beer as much as the next guy, but I also know how not to be a dorm d*ck i.e. when I go back to my dorm and climb into bed, I do it without making loads of noise and without turning on all the lights and waking everyone up.

Yes you may have had a great night, but trust me, no one wants to hear about it at 3am.  Wait until the morning to divulge the details.

4. If you are a LOUD sleeper, take precautions

For light sleepers like me, snorers are a real pain.

I love my sleep, but I need total darkness and total silence.  I know people can’t help it, but snorers really do kill me when staying in hostels.

… or can they help it?

I know it might not be full proof, but if you do struggling with snoring or breathing difficulties at night, it might be an idea to invest in some nasal strips or a bottle of snoreeze.  Your dorm mates will certainly thank you for it, and you yourself might get a better nights sleep too.

5. If you are a crazy sleeper, let your dorm mates know in advance

Sleep walker?  Talk in your sleep?

I know this might be a tad embarrassing to admit to others, but rather than frighten the life out of your dorm buddies in the middle of the night with harrowing screams or by standing over them and looking like something out of a horror film, maybe tell them in advance so they know that it might be coming.

A guy I met at surf camp in Fuertaventura did exactly this, and I certainly appreciated him telling me advance so I knew what might occur during the nights we shared a dorm.  In this case he didn’t sleep walk or suffer any night terrors thankfully, but apparently it’s quite dangerous to wake sleep walkers, so I’m glad I knew in advance.

6. Do not let your wet towel dip/touch anyone else’s belongings

Now this one is a bit tougher than some of the others, as hostels are notoriously difficult places to get items to dry, especially towels.

That said, there is no excuse for your wet towel dripping on or touching another persons stuff, that’s just wrong.

7. If you cause a bad smell, do something about it!

If your shoes smell, get some Odor Eaters.

If you eat smelly food in the dorm (don’t do that in the first place), open a window.

If your sheets smell, wash them.

If you smell, take a shower.

Don’t be the one stinking out the room, and leaving others to suffer your stench.

8. Charging sockets are for EVERYBODY!

I get it, your iPhone battery doesn’t last much longer than a couple of hours, but nor does anyone else’s.  Unless each bed in the dorm has its own socket, don’t be hogging all the juice, and especially when you’r not in the room.

9. Pre-packing FTW!


Right, if you know that you need to scarper at 5am in the morning to catch your bus, flights, train or whatever, please please please pre pack your bag.  Don’t be that guy/girl who faffs around in the morning with plastic bags and then has to turn the light on because you can’t find your shi*t.  That’s really bad form!  Do yourself a favour and pre pack!  For 1 it’ll allow you to sleep for a little longer, and 2 you’ll leave your dorm mates on good terms.

10. Keep it in your pants!

Keep it in ya pants and keep it classy, don’t no one in your room wanna be seeing you doing the no pants dance and hearing all the noises that go with it.  Good for you it you’ve getting some, but go get it elsewhere and leave everyone else to sleep in peace.