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How not to be a dick while staying in a hostel

I’m three quarters of the way through my backpacking trip in central America, and as I sit here in my pants eating refried beans from the tin, I’m reflecting on my experiences in hostels, which if I really think about it, has been the dominating factor of this trip. Living in different hostels for a long period of time is an odd thing, something that doesn’t really fit into words, it has to be experienced. Sleeping in a room with a possible twelve other strangers, from all over the world, comes with a range of unexplainably excellent situations.

I whizz back down the line and think about the people I’ve met along the way, their funny traits and habits, singing in the shower, sleeping in their clothes, eating bacon raw in a sandwich. Juan from Argentina, who would without fail come to me at 8pm and ask me what I was eating for dinner and then proceed to offer me everything he had in raw ingredients, but say that he hated cooking, then disappear. Within a few hours of being together we had developed a tight routine that lasted a week where he would give me his food and I would cook us dinner. He was in the bunk above me, and said when I was moving around in my sleep he felt like he was dancing the Samba. I suppose we were all desperate for some sort of constant routine, the only constant thing when you’re on the road is change. It’s new beginnings and people every day, your whole life IS transit.

So with the greatest love, and some annoyance, here’s tips on how not to be a dick when staying in a hostel:

  1. Don’t mess around with other peoples shit
    Obvious? Oh, believe me all of these points are obvious to people who have common social sense. Turns out most people don’t. You buy food, put it in the fridge, and the next morning it’s gone. People get VERY angry about this, understandably. If someone asks me for something I will share, but if you steal my stuff and think you’re going to get away with it…
    People are sneaky, just eating HALF of your bowl of left over potatoes etc etc. I heard a brilliant story that sums this one up; a friend of mine was making a salad in a hostel and left half a tomato on the kitchen worktop while she went to get her phone. Two minutes later, gone. No sign.
  2. Don’t leave your stinking rotten food in the fridge
    The hostel fridge is always a clusterfuck of random oddities and it’s close to impossible to find your stuff with the 40% chance it’s been stolen/eaten and the other 20% chance it’s moved or hidden underneath a rotting watermelon someone who left 2 weeks ago didn’t bother to throw out. Donate or throw your stuff before you leave and generally clean up after yourself!
  3. Don’t use a lighter to see around the room when you get back drunk at 5.30am.
    Tom from Denmark, I love you, but that night you nearly killed us all.
  4. Don’t interrupt someone meditating / doing yoga / working out
    Really? Living in hostels can be very unsettling in terms of routine and personal space, and so this 30 mins a day means a lot to the people who take it. I often have people just blatantly set themselves up around me, watching or drinking beer talking over the top of me. If someone is lying on a yoga mat in Sivasana (final resting pose), or in a sitting meditation, it ISN’T a good time to ask if you can have a piece of their Mozzarella you found in the fridge. In fact just fuck off.
    Unless we are in Europe, this shit is expensive, it’s a delicacy – comparable to shaving dinosaur eggs on your pasta when you’re travelling.
  6. If you have a snoring problem, don’t stay in a hostel.
    You’re asleep? Great, no one else is. and no, ear plugs don’t block out what sounds like a silverback having a panic attack.
  7. Keep the guitar / Poi / slack line / ‘I never wear shoes now’ thing to yourself
    No one’s impressed they’re just pretending to be. We’ve seen it all before. You’re not the first person to travel to Thailand.
    If it’s your thing and it makes you happy then great get on with it, watching the Kardashians and smoking in bed makes me happy. PS walking bare feet everywhere is a great idea until you tread on glass and it doesn’t heal for 4 weeks because of the humidity and you end up on antibiotics not able to do anything. Wear shoes.

Really, if all else fails and you can’t stick to these little slices of advice, just be yourself, and at least then people will think your a dick for real, actual reasons.

Happy holidays!



Mother Teresa Dogg, wondering who ate it’s last slice of bread


Listen up assholes

Free food

FREE FOOD! Some people I met were surviving on these shitty boxes. Good job!


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