The very worst things that happen in a hostel. And how to avoid them.

You know what you’re getting when your nightly accommodation budget wouldn’t even buy you a sandwich in Sydney.

When you make the decision to choose a hostel over a hotel, you acknowledge that the experience will come without some things –  things like fresh, monogrammed bath robes and consistent heating – and with some others – questionable stains and even more questionable bunk mates.

For example, once upon a time in a six-person dorm in Edinburgh, I awoke to a sight that will forever be burned into my retinas.

It was a middle-aged woman who’d had a few too many cordials the night before and fallen into bed in nothing but her birthday suit — fitting, as it was her birthday she was celebrating.

Evidently, she didn’t feel the need for a sheet or doona as she slept through that warm morning, either.

She clearly didn’t get the memo that there are a few ground rules that hostel-sleepers should abide by, like that clothes aren’t an optional extra.

You might call these common sense or you know, human decency, but if my travelling experience is enough to go on, it seems a lot of people need a refresher on the basics.

Some sort of “sleep clothing” is essential.

I’m certainly not abdicating for strict pyjama top and bottom guidelines; I merely request that men wear more than pair of tightey-whiteys to bed. Too many mornings I was forced to cop an eyeful of erection.

Don’t treat a shared dorm like your bedroom at home.

I mean, I don’t leave skid-marked undies on the middle of my bedroom floor, but each to their own when in the privacy of their own home. A shared dormitory, however, is not the space for such displays. Refrain from spreading your shit, literally, across the shared space.

No barfing.

Whether it’s Delhi-belly or something self-inflicted, take it to the bathroom or the bushes.

No bonking.

Sex in a hostel is often a full 4-D experience for those lucky enough to be in the vicinity.


It’s not just the visual of two (or more) people attempting to awkwardly navigate a single-mattress for the prime humping position. Bunk beds also provide excellent acoustics, and that feeling of being right there in the action thanks to the sustained rocking.

Much like the 4-D roller coaster rides of our youth, you might also expect to be splashed with a foreign substance. So how ever hot and heavy you might be feeling, keep it in your pants and out of the dorm room. Please and thank you.

Check who is in the room before slamming doors and turning lights on.

It’s generally understood that most people staying in hostels will be having a few late nights out on the town. But four in the morning is not the time to practice your percussion skills with a door. Nor is it the moment to add light technician to your resume with some strobe-level illumination work.

Your phone has a torch function for a reason.

But on the flip side….

Don’t expect others to walk on eggshells while you’re having a midday nap.

And if you’ve got an early morning flight to catch?

Pack. The. Night. Before.

What’s your worst hostel experience?

These are MM’s dream travel destinations for 2016, where do you want to go?