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How does the sleeping arangements work in hostels please?

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1. Posted by ian_w (Budding Member 44 posts) 10y

Hi, I know this may sounds like a strange question but how do the sleeping arangements work in hostels?

What I mean is what if you want to go to sleep early one night (for an early bus/flight etc) or wake up early, do you get people coming in and out at all hours waking you up or if I come back late and other people are asleep do you just have to tip toe around in the dark? Do you just have to put up with it all or are there general rules different to each hostel. Obviously I would respect anyone else and try to be as quiet as possible anyway.

Just wondering what sort of experiences other people have had in hostels. I am not being a boring moan, I am quite happy to go alone with it all whatever happens it is just all part of the experience I think, but just wanted to be prepared!

Thanks in advance


2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4817 posts) 10y

"It depends." As in, it depends on the people and the location and the atmosphere of the hostel.
Generally speaking, you prepare your bed (putting on sheets and the like - assuming that hasn't been done by the hostel) when you first check in, so that when you go to bed you can do so swiftly. You don't turn on the light if someone's already lying in bed. You're quiet if someone's already lying in bed. (It can be hard to see if it's dark of course, so generally speaking you'd not turn on the light after 23:00 or thereabouts (perhaps later in big cities, and earlier in small villages).) If you have to leave before 06:00 or thereabouts, you do so quietly. Have your bags prepared the day before so you can pick them up and walk out in one motion. Tip toeing through the dark is very common, and you quickly become an expert at it. :)

In practise... maybe 80-90% of backpackers are that corteous / experienced. Day trippers and locals are much more likely to not do these things, not really realizing the effect they have on the others also there.

There are no rules; it's all unwritten. So yes, sometimes you get people coming and going at all hours, and I've had experiences where people would turn on the light coming in at 03:00 and start to make their beds and lenghtily discuss the previous evening with their mates, and I've had local guys in their 50s, out for a weekend fishing, shouting through the room at 05:00, and I've had some guy waking up at 04:00, and packing his bag for an obvious departure, complete with crinkling plastic bags, and going on for four hours before finally managing to leave.
Consider it part of the experiencce. :) (But also, don't be afraid of very politely saying something about it.) These things are definitely not the norm though, luckily, and most people are very considerate of everyone else, as we're all in the same boat. Cities without a big international airport definitely provide a better hosteling experience than those with, but even there, you should as a rule be able to sleep undisturbed when you want to.

Oh, but that said: I've often found it very worthwhile to splurge on a single room on my first day in or out after a long flight, when I knew I needed the rest. Gives you the certainty of undisturbed sleep, and it's still much cheaper than a hotel.

[ Edit: Edited at May 21, 2006 1:57 PM by Sander ]

3. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 10y

Basically, yes, one of the biggest downsides of hostels is all the tiptoing around....

If you are getting up early in the morning you need to be as ready as possible the night before. If you come in late you need to tiptoe around. If you have to go to bed early you can expect to be woken up.

I remember being in a hostel in Darwin and I'd had a few drinks and was trying to get ready for bed without turning the light on. I couldnt find my toothbrush, and then the low-battery bleep on my phone started going, and one really bitchy girl had a go at me, even though I hadn't made much noise...But then the next morning she woke the whole room at about 6am shouting and swearing at her friend in german. What a cow.

The thing I've never figured out, is do you turn the light on?

4. Posted by mtlgal (Full Member 1179 posts) 10y

No, you shouldn't turn the light on when there are people sleeping in the room. Bring a little pen light and, most importantly, ear plugs.

You will most definitely bump into inconsiderate people in hostels. Fortunately, vast majority of the people are nice and do try to disturb others as little as possible.

5. Posted by Clanger (Respected Member 202 posts) 10y

The basic rule of thumb is be as quiet as possible. Set your phone to wake you up by buzzing under your pillow. Keep a torch handy if its dark, dont fiddle with your bags in the dorm, if necessary pack the night before and drag your kit out into a common area to pack the rest. Try not to rustle plastic bags.

You will however find that other people are completely oblivious to what are simple common courtesy rules in dorms, and will march in at all times of the night, lights on, talk loudly, and in some instances will even have sex on the bed above you.

Best advice is take eye mask & earplugs.

And if you get horrendously disturbed one night the best revenge is a horrendously early wake up call for them in the morning, where you - let your alarm go off for ages, turn on the light, rummage through plastic bags, come in and out the door letting it bang a few times, and generally being as noisy as possible. Believe me its the best therapy and a good way to let it go....before you move to the next place.

6. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

I can only agree with everyone above. And emphasize: EARPLUGS EARPLUGS EARPLUGS

No matter how considerate people are (and they aren't always considerate...) just the quiet act of going to bed is likely to generate sounds, and if you're a light sleeper you'll be disturbed. And do I even have to mention snoring?!??! I always use earplugs, try to pack the night before and if I have to leave early I finish the last of my packing outside the room just before leaving.


7. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 10y

It works both ways too,

If I need to go to sleep unusually early in a hostel, I don't turn the light off. It would be selfish to stop everyone else using the room properly if its still so early.

Unless its ridiculously late, if I'm first to bed and know the others in the dorm will be going to bed soon, I leave the light on so they can get to bed, or even read for a bit etc.

One thing I hate is dorms without proper windows, or with blackout curtains. Its better if there is enough light in the morning or enough moonlight/streetlight at night to be able to see properly.

You learn to sleep through anything when you've been travelling a while! Come to think of it, you learn to sleep through anything if you live next door to students!