The most important hostel etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior for staying in a hostel. Avoid embarrassment and be an ideal guest.

hostel etiquette rules

What hostel etiquette is

Hostel etiquette is the set of rules for staying at a hostel. It includes the appropriate way to book, check-in, check out, and the appropriate behavior.

As a guest, know hostel etiquette rules to avoid any embarrassment.

As a host, hostel etiquette helps you manage your guests’ expectations.

General hostel etiquette principles

Hostel etiquette for guests is based on three main principles.

  • Match our rights as guests with the appropriate expectations and good manners.
  • Respect the hostel staff and property.
  • Respect the other guests. 

Hostel etiquette rules

1) Hostel booking etiquette 

Before the booking, it is perfectly acceptable to send messages to the hostel. A single message is preferable to a long sequence of requests.

Ask for the information that you need to make an informed booking. Such as information about the accommodation, how to reach it, or the area.

However, try not to ask for superfluous information. Such as any information that is already present on the hostel website or listing. Or general information about the destination that is commonly available online.

Hostels usually are very supportive and help with most information requests. However, since they are a low-cost accommodation, they have very limited room for customizations or special requests. 

2) Hostel check-in etiquette

Hostels usually have a reception that will manage your check-in. 

Wait for your turn. Be patient.

During the check-in, feel free to ask the staff for any additional information. If other guests are waiting, keep it short and ask only for necessary information.

Hostels are often fully booked. Thus, to keep your bed, it is best to notify the hostel of any delay. Such as if your plane or train is late. 

3) How to manage your belongings in a hostel

Keep your belongings in an orderly fashion. If you have your room, keep your items there. If you are in a shared room, keep your belongings on your bed, immediately nearby, or in your storage area.

Avoid leaving your items in the common areas of a hostel. 

Store valuable items in a safe. If a safe is not available, leave them at the reception or bring them with you. 

If a valuable item disappears from your room, discreetly complain to the staff at the reception. However, you should do your best to prevent that from happening. 

4) How to dress in a hostel

Hostels are usually very informal. Still, try your best to be presentable. 

Be neat and dress appropriately in your dormitory and the common areas. Do not venture into the hallway barefoot, or in underwear or pajama. 

If you sleep in a mixed dormitory, you might want to undress and change your clothes in the restroom area.

5) Respect the hostel staff and other guests

Respect the hostel rules. 

Be kind to other guests. Respect personal space and privacy. Apply basic etiquette principles in the common areas, such as the kitchen or bathroom. Avoid conflict with other guests. If a conflict arises, do not escalate it. Talk to the hostel staff instead.

Respect the time for breakfast. Do not expect to receive breakfast after the time limit. However, you may ask in advance for an exception. Hostels usually can offer a light breakfast if you need to leave earlier.

Avoid eating and drinking in your room. Go to the common areas. 

Do not smoke in a no-smoking room or hostel.

Respect the curfew hours. Do not switch the lights on in the dormitory when others are already sleeping. Be silent and always shut the door. Limit noise and music at night and early in the morning.

In many hostels, it is forbidden to invite other guests to your room. Before you do so, ask the staff whether it is allowed. 

If you break something during your stay, notify the hostel. Usually, hostels do not charge you for normal wear and tear, such as breaking a drinking glass. 

6) Hostel etiquette for kids

As a general rule, in a hostel, your kids should respect the same rules as if they were at home. 

Some hostels are adults only. Check the hostel rules before booking.

7) Hostel etiquette for pets

Some hostels allow pets on their premises, others do not. 

Check the hostel rules before booking. If pets are not explicitly mentioned, you should ask the hostel before booking.

When pets are allowed, you should follow the hostel rules during your stay. 

If the hostel does not allow pets, do not get upset. Book another accommodation.

8) Hostel check-out etiquette

Respect the time for the check-out. A small delay is acceptable, such as 10 or 20 minutes. Over 30 minutes is rude. 

Leave your bed and storage in order. Throw away any trash. Usually, you should remove the linens from the bed and return them to the reception.

Tips at a hostel are not common. You can tip the staff between 5% and 20% of the booking rate. Alternatively, you can consider leaving them a gift, such as sweets or a bottle of wine. 

Hostel etiquette: the worst mistakes

Avoid the worst hostel etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Not respecting other guests’ privacy.
  • 8/10. Not respecting the curfew.
  • 7/10. Leaving your bed or storage in a mess.
  • 4/10. Eating or drinking in your room.
  • 4/10. Not keeping your belongings in order.


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