1. You’ll be surrounded by people: one moment everything is quiet and the next you are being eaten up by a crowd. There is usually always someone around at all times in the day or night, so it’s hard to be completely alone. Having a nice place where you can go to, near the hostel, might help, such as a cafe, library or a strip club.
  2. You’ll have to deal with those people: everyone staying in a hostel is aware that they are sharing their home with people who may come from a completely different culture and background, so most people try to be accommodating of others and do their best not to step on anyone’s toes. But, as in any household, drama is always around the corner and sooner than later you will have to come up with ways to deal with those who drive you mad. No matter how annoying or disrespectful they might be, always remember that this is a face that you’ll have to see everyday, at least until they check out of the hostel (or until you kill them), so do your best to try to diffuse the situation or come to an agreement. If this is someone that is leaving soon, just ignore them and move on!
  3. Get along with the staff: this applies to pretty much everything in your life, but it matters even more if you’re living in a hostel. After all, these are the people that are there to help you when you have a problem, so being on their good side is always wise. I’m not saying that you need to be best friends with them, but just try to show some appreciation every now and then if you wish to stand out. They are the ones cleaning after you and making sure that you are having a good stay, so they deserve some recognition. And no, they are not paid nearly enough for some of the crap they have to put with. So be nice to them and they will always be there for you when you need them.
  4. Be respectful of your roommates: again, this should always apply at any point in your life, but when you’re sleeping in a room full of people, and usually it’s not a very large room, you should always try to be as respectful as possible. This includes avoiding noise at night or when there is someone sleeping, not starring at women who are changing clothes (no they aren’t asking for it, they’re just doing the same that guys do without judgment), try to shower as often as you need to insure that you’re not smelly (there are other noses in the room, you know?), silence your phone at night whenever possible, not snooze your alarm clock every fifteen minutes for two hours (if you’re waking up every time so are your roommates), dry your hair outside the room if there are people sleeping, and generally try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Also, avoid hanging out in the room chatting with your friends, especially if there’s someone sleeping, even if it’s during the day. That’s what communal areas are for. Of course, no one is perfect and we might sometimes disturb others without realising, which leads me to the next point:
  1. Be tolerant: you will be disturbed once in a while and that’s ok. Part of living in a hostel is learning how to put up with many different people. Some of them might just be having a bad day, others might not notice that they are disturbing you, and there’s always assholes. You’ll have to learn to ignore people walking into the room in the middle of the night, loud eaters, people who spray themselves with industrial quantities of perfume, drunk people, and so on. Soon, you’ll end up learning which transgressions are harmless, and which deserve a warning before you smother them in their sleep with your pillow.
  2. Respect the rules: they are there for a reason. Make sure to always clean your dishes and your cooking utensils in the kitchen, so that the next person is free to use them. Only smoke in designated areas, and no, smoking out of the window of your room doesn’t count as “outside”. This is just to prevent spreading cancer, so it’s kind of a biggie. If the hostel asks you to be quiet after a certain hour, do so. Other people are trying to sleep, and talking in the halls can sometimes be heard in the rooms. Do your best not to check out late. Some places may charge you but, even so, it’s a pain in the ass for the cleaners who have to clean everything until check in time and end up being delayed because of you.
  3. Talk to others: you have no idea how much you may learn if you do so. How many amazing things you might just find out. We’ve had a guest who made special effects for films, a scientist that works with lasers and babies (I like to think she is developing an army of laser babies), musicians, actors, chefs, writers, travellers who’ve been in amazing places, and the list goes on and on… Trust me, you will rarely be disappointed.
  4. Don’t be petty: be ready to share! Hostels tend to create a sort of a community, where people often share things, cook for each other and provide their own skills free of charge. Money itself becomes obsolete and is replaced with favours (or, often, with beer).I’m not saying you should allow others to take advantage of you, but if you’re willing to share something with someone, odds are that when you need a favour they’ll be there for you too.
  5. You’ll be partying too much: if you’re living long-term in a hostel, you probably have a job and a fairly normal life. But most people that are staying there are on holiday and to them every night is Friday night, which means that there are constantly people enjoying all sorts of vices all the freaking time, while you are trying to be a responsible adult who doesn’t want to die at the age of 40. Almost every night there are people drinking, smoking, having sex, and going out to party. It can be hard for those with jobs and bills to pay, to say no to hanging out with people they enjoy being with, but you eventually start to learn when to have fun and when to cry yourself to sleep. But it sometimes takes a lot of self-control and, if you’re not careful, you’ll end up broke, liverless and cancerful.
  6. Enjoy: Living in a hostel is very unique. It gives you the opportunity of constantly discovering new corners of the world through the people that pass by you. A very important thing to remember when living in a hostel is that everything is fleeting. Most of the people you meet will soon leave, so it’s important to really appreciate every moment you get to spend with them. And life sorts of feels like you are always on holiday, which is like having the cake and eating it too. So, enjoy!