Dorm Room Do’s & Don’ts

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The Do's & Don’ts of Staying in A Dorm Room Whilst Travelling

 
Any would-be budget traveller is wise to familiarise themselves with the subtle art of dorm room living. Whether you like it or not, dorms are an integral part of the hostel hopping approach to international travel, so it makes sense to acquaint yourself with the unspoken rules of close-proximity accommodation if you’re planning a cut-price jaunt.
 
Can a room of, say, ten people - most of whom don’t know each other - collectively achieve an atmosphere of silent, soporific calm in the early hours of the morning? Let’s be honest, it’s a big ask. Chances are someone’s going to be snoring, a couple of mates will be engaged in a loudly whispered chat. There’s usually at least one restless fidgeter and a crashing 4AM entrance is almost guaranteed.
 
Budget travel has evolved in recent years and privacy is usually an option (Generator properties always offer a choice of private or shared accommodation) but the cheapest digs typically involve shared spaces. So, if you want to keep your costs down, it pays to gem up on your dorm room etiquette.
 

Lights out!

Lights out rules may seem trivial and a tad authoritarian, but if you’re sharing a room it really is basic good manners to observe them. However drunk you are, stumbling into a dorm room late at night and slamming on the lights is a sure fire way to infuriate your roommates, some of whom may be depending on a good night’s sleep ahead of an early start.
 
Navigating your way to your bed in a pitch-black room can be challenging but you’re better off using the torch function on your phone than turning on the lights and waking everyone. 
 
If you aren’t sure what the lights out rules are where you’re staying, assume 11PM to 8AM.
 

Pack some earplugs

You may never have considered earplugs before, but they can come into their own when you’re sleeping in a dorm room. Nocturnal noises are an unavoidable reality – even if you’re sharing with a perfectly considerate bunch of roomies – so it makes sense to pack some earplugs, just in case.
 

Late night visitors  

Ruling out a romantic dalliance in your dorm may seem unreasonable but trust us, there are better places to pursue such encounters than a narrow bunkbed in a room full of strangers, most of whom will be acutely aware of what’s going down.
 

Communication never hurts

As with any social situation it’s never a bad idea to make polite contact with your fellow travellers and do your best to foster a convivial atmosphere. Your dorm room experience will almost certainly be better if you communicate with your roommates, so give them a heads up if you’re likely to be or getting in late or plan on getting up super early – people are generally far more forgiving when they’re given fair warning.
 

Keep your phone on silent

Most of us are already firmly committed to insistent but mercifully silent vibration-only phone alerts, which makes extra sense in a shared dorm room. If your phone usually blares out Marimba at full volume it’s a good idea to switch to silent while you’re sharing a room, especially if the time difference means your mum’s liable to call at 4AM.
 

Exhibitionism isn’t always appreciated

You may have no problem strolling around in your birthday suit but being a respectful roomie is all about considering the possibility that your dormmates may think differently. Plenty of people are comfortable with nudity but many aren’t, so don’t assume everyone’s going to be aright with an eyeful of your nether regions.
 

Keep your room ship shape

You’re not in the army and no one expects a military operation but try not to be a total slob. Dorm rooms are shared spaces and it’s unreasonable to inflict your mess on others. Keep your belongings tidily contained within your space - no one wants to find a roommate’s stray sock on their pillow when they climb into bed a night.
 

Don’t neglect your personal hygiene

It’s easy to relax your personal hygiene standards a little when you’re travelling, especially when there’s a queue for the shower, but there’s no excuse for inflicting BO on your roommates, even if your idea of travelling involves ‘getting back to nature’.
 

Snoozers are losers

The snooze alarm is a dangerous thing. If you’re struggling to wake up it’s quite possible to hit the snooze button every 8 minutes for at least an hour but bear in mind that your roommates are going to find it incredibly annoying. Alarms are often necessary, even in a shared room, but try to keep the noise intrusion to a minimum.