The Newbies Guide to Sharing a Dorm

dorm roomIt’s fair to say that backpackers don’t always have a good reputation and after I got back to my bed yesterday to find someone asleep in it (I’m not joking) it’s not difficult to see why. After spending countless nights in various backpacking hostels in various countries I thought I’d put a guide together for anyone unfamiliar with the unwritten rules. If you want to make friends and have a good time, consider the following ten pointers as official law when sharing a dorm:

1. No matter how jetlagged/exhausted/ill or drunk you are, do NOT sleep in someone else’s bed!

2. Accept that when you share a room there will be noise, take ear plugs and don’t complain about it. Also, don’t make too much noise.

3. Keep your stuff reasonably tidy. Backpacks do seem to enjoy spilling their contents everywhere but dorms are often small so keep on top of your belongings. If you don’t, you might find that someone who has moved on while you were out has taken half of your stuff with them.

4. If you need a pee during the night, don’t turn the lights on, waking up your dorm-mates is a fast-track to becoming incredibly unpopular.

5. If you want a little, um, ‘private time’ with someone special, someone new or even just yourself – keep it private. This is non-negotiable.

6. Plan ahead. If you need to check out early to catch a flight then pack your bags the night before. You may be leaving, but that’s no excuse to leave a load of annoyed people behind you.

7. If you need to spray hairspray, deodorant or any other sorts of aerosol, do it outside. Other people may have asthma or more generally speaking, a dislike to waking up to the taste of Lynx.

8. Keep your mobile on silent, especially the tones on your keypad, they are beyond annoying.

9. If your shoes or hiking boots (like the best travelled ones should be), are on the smelly side, leave them outside somewhere tied to a tree or fence.

10. Be nice! Say hello and speak to your room-mates, you’ll be surprised how many friends you’ll make and how many travel tips you can pick up.

The best part about staying in backpacker accommodation is the awesome people you’ll meet, everyone goes home with stories of that amazing guy or girl they shared a dorm with and if you follow these rules, the person who is fondly remembered could be you.