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How To Annoy The Hell Out Of Your Hostel Mates

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Shower. Photo courtesy of gagilas.

Hostels are a smart option when traveling. Not only do they help you save money, they allow you take advantage of free and discounted experiences, give you access to useful amenities like game rooms, kitchens and lounge areas, and help you socialize with other travelers. This being said, there are some globetrotters who are unaware of how to be a respectful hostel guest. To give you an idea of what I mean — and to give you some advice on what not to do in a hostel — here is a guide on how to annoy the hell out of your hostelmates.

Not Bathing

I know hygiene isn’t the number one priority of most backpackers when on the road, myself included. That being said, if it’s gotten to the point where you become like a putrid air (un)freshener making the dorm smell like moldy cheese and gym socks, it’s time to rethink what’s important. A simple shower is all you need to turn hostel enemies into hostel friends.

Taking 10 Years In The Shower

On the other end of the spectrum, bathing too much is also annoying. If you want to take an hour-long shower in your own private hotel room that’s fine (although you might want to reconsider that for the environment’s sake); however, when you’re in a hostel and sharing the bathroom with 100 other people this is just plain rude. Are you harvesting the water yourself? Did you fall asleep standing up? Are you masturbating? What exactly is going on in there? I actually had my boyfriend time me once in the shower and I made five minutes (albeit without shaving my legs). Keeping it under 10 minutes is nowhere near impossible.


While I understand people who snore can’t help that they snore, I don’t believe these people aren’t aware they’re doing it (there must have been at least one girlfriend or boyfriend who tried to suffocate them with a pillow at some point in the past!). If that’s the case, either buy some nasal strips or opt for a single or double room over a dorm. By doing so you’ll be allowing your hostelmates a good night’s sleep while still being able to enjoy the social benefits of hostelling.

You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals…Photo courtesy of Ali Arsh.

Having Sex

I’m not saying don’t have sex when nobody else is in the dorm, in the shower or in the laundry room. By all means, get some action if you can. That being said, stumbling home loudly with your love interest for the night when everyone else is sleeping, hopping into bed and jack hammering the night away is extremely inconsiderate. I once had this happen on the bunk above me, and not only did I have to listen to their loud of cries of passion, I actually had a bra land on my face. Let’s just say someone was not well liked by their dorm buddies the next morning. Side note: Make sure to always wear a condom, especially when sleeping with someone you’ve just met.

People Who Play Games On Their Phone/Text With The Sound On

Who does this?! As I’ve seen on my travels, a lot of people. This is annoying enough during the day, but at night when people are relaxing, either sleeping or trying to read a book, hearing Super Mario-esque music or “When The Saint’s Go Marching In” every time someone sends you a message is downright maddening. Play and text all you want, but go to your “Settings” icon, click “Sounds” and put your notifications on silent (some directions just in case you didn’t know how to do it).

If it’s not yours, don’t eat it! Photo courtesy of armigeress.

Stealing Food

There’s nobody I hate more than people who steal my food at a hostel. There’s been so many times I’ve returned from a challenging hike or day packed with sightseeing, starving and looking forward to my leftover pasta bolognese or to cook up some cheeseburgers, only to find someone else had similar plans (despite the fact I always label my food with my name and stay dates). Don’t be that person. Not only are you putting someone else out financially, it’s a burden to then have to go to a supermarket and waste precious time finding something else to eat and then prepare it. Don’t be lazy. Go buy your own dinner.

Crinkling Bags

There are few sounds that are more annoying when you’re trying to sleep than crinkling bags, moving zippers and plastic rubbing together. We all have flights and trains to catch, sometimes at unusual times. If you have to leave at 4am, pack the night before so you’re not rummaging through your luggage in the morning and waking everyone up.

Turning The Lights On When You Come Home

Sprinkling a few wild nights into your trip can be a lot of fun. That being said, arriving back at your hostel at 4 in the morning, throwing on all the lights, rifling through your luggage for your pajamas and loudly opening and closing your locker is a sure way to make your hostelmates hate you. If you’re hitting up the bars, make sure to lay out your clothes and toiletries beforehand, and bring a small flashlight or download the Flashlight App on your smartphone so you don’t have to wake everyone up by turning on the lights. Have you ever had an annoying hostelmate? What was their most irritating habit?

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is a New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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  1. Adrian Mendoza on at 8:48 am

    Lol! These are great advice to annoy your hostel mates. I don’t think it only applies when travelling. You can actually use all of these all the time when you want to annoy your friends/boardmates/housemates.

    • jess2716 on at 11:14 am

      @Adrian: Thanks! Hopefully though you wouldn’t want to be this mean to the people you’re living or staying with 😉 ha

  2. Megan on at 6:38 pm

    These are perfect! Hahah!
    Thankfully I haven’t encountered TOO many people who do these. 1 and 2 day stays help to avoid these people. Though I’ve heard horror stories from friends who had to listen to people having sex while trying to sleep. Glad I haven’t experienced that.

    • jess2716 on at 6:42 pm

      @Megan: I’ve totally encountered the sex problem. No joke, I had a bra land on my head in a hostel in Interlaken. Needless to say I was not a happy camper ha. Lucky you haven’t had to deal with that, as it can be super awkward!

  3. SOtruthGOODpost on at 3:17 pm

    This basically sums it up, even though I am critical of one your points. First a comment on what I agree on, which is almost everything:

    I _hate_ people who use their electronic devices _with_ the sound on, _even_ in the middle of the day. In the dorm people are supposed to relax, be mildly active, pack/unpack/go through their stuff and most of all _sleep_. I _can not_ sleep when I hear a blipping sound every second minute, because I’m waiting for the next one, and when I’ve heard it five times I grunt, and five times after that (if nothing changes) I either tell them to turn it off or punch them in the face.

    There is no _need_ for those sounds, and I’m actually also bugged by people sleeping with headphones on (music loud enough for me to hear anyway) and people should turn off their laptops (tapping, clicking, whatever) when their dorm-mates demonstrate that they are now going to sleep. Or, just go to the common room and continue. Every laptop of today has a webcam also, and I’m not falling asleep for you (hey, creepy guy) to be able to start recording me without my expressed permission).

    Some people just don’t get it though, and that’s almost the worst part, having to instruct people on the basics. Being someone who’s been raised to observe my environment to figure out what’s right/wrong without necessarily asking for information in every situation, meaning, thinking for myself, it is frustrating staying at hostels at times. And I won’t ramble on about how people from certain regions of the world almost always fails to figure things out whereas people from some regions on this planet never need to be instructed (just saying I’d rather go to Tokyo than Rio de Janeiro for my next trip, based on experiences of meeting people at hostels), and I will also not mention the fact that the more you pay for a bed, the more likely it is that not only the facilities are cleaner, but also your dorm-mates.

    But, criticism, yes. It needs to be done, even though I definitely agree on the basics throughout the rest of the post. Snoring is something I am hundred percent aware of that people can not control as soon as they have fallen asleep. That people drink alcohol while backpacking is also a given fact (often too much and too often, also) which leads to even more and loud snoring, and the fact that shared facilities, including cups, cutlery and plates (that people are not expected to boil for killing bacteria) will lead to spread of colds and sometimes even worse infections, which leads to even stronger snoring – all this I understand, which means that if I book a bed in dormitory where up to 28 people will sleep (or at least try to sleep), there _will_ be someone snoring. Most likely someone snoring so loud that the only way for me to get my well-deserved sleep is by putting on earplugs (that I always carry with me while hostelling, everyone should).

    When it happens I’m not mad at the person snoring, because they do not control it, at all. Even if they deliberately got drunk or catched a cold with the intention of guaranteedly keeping all roomies awake, it is still _my_ responsibility to book a private room for myself if I can’t stand people snoring, not _theirs_ just for consideration they don’t have engage in. I snore at times (sometimes not much, sometimes very much, sometimes not at all) and if anyone woke me up in the middle of the night and recommended me to book a private room for myself then I would get that, for free, at the closest prison, and the one bugged by my snoring would get peace and quiet, forever. This has actually happened, which is why I’m using quite harsh words, because that was just not nice or anything I deserved.

    So, the solution is earplugs, and everyone knowing that they sometimes snore much can use products for decreasing (the volume of) their snoring (I use anti-snoring spray in smaller and less soundproofed doorms, especially if I have a cold), and if showering seems like a burden then people can just take off their socks and quarantine them in a plastic bag, shower their feet (5 seconds, is all it takes!) and then shower next morning instead, and please God Owlmighty turn off your gadgets or at least the most disturbing and least needful aspects of them.

    Oh, oh, I can continue. A French (not really relevant but he was) guy used to get in to the dorm late at night (2-3-4) and just put the light on (the main one, in the ceiling) and _leave it on_ while he went to the bathroom and brushed his teeth before nappy-time, while me and 6 other people in the dorm pondered where to dump his body, besides some people who started to get up because they assumed it was now a new day and the breakfast should already be served. That’s not very clever. You use the light seeping in from the hallway through the door if you need to, but mostly, I agree, just have your stuff ready for bed before you leave for a good night out.

    Haha, and having sex in the dorm, I did not ever get a bra in my face, but the sloppy blowjob in the bunk above mine seemed innocent at first, the hugely embarrassing question “do you want me to go down on you to honey” was something that made me giggle, but when the bed started shaking as if I was in Fukushima I just wondered if I booked a mental hospital or a hostel.

    No one has still dared to steal my food though (good for them), and I once, being basically locked up in a town with _no_ open stores at night where I could buy something to eat (not being able to fall asleep without anything in my stomach) I really (really!) eye-balled that lone egg in the fridge that no one seemed to care about. It didn’t have a name, and I didn’t want to name it because I was planning on boiling it and eating it, thus it would be heart-breaking to create a personal relationship with it before it died in my belly. I just couldn’t, not because I wanted to save the egg, I wanted to eat it, but because I’m not a thief.

    Anyway, consider this a complementary and complimentary comment to your post. It’s been a good read, I’m glad there are others who understand me, and I hope you will try to understand my perspective on the snoring matter. See you at the Hostel-Hostel-Not-The-Holiday-Inn!

    • jess2716 on at 5:38 pm

      @SoTruth: I appreciate the very thoughtful commentary. I can see your point about the snoring, and while maybe getting a private room may sound harsh I still think that if I’m spending $50 a night in Europe to sleep in a quad I want to be able to sleep. This person I’m referring to wasn’t using nasal strips or anything, and after three days I was nearly going out of my mind — even with earplugs (I live in NYC, I always sleep with those on ha). To each his own though. It’s just my opinion 🙂

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