Many travellers who are on a tight budget stay in a backpacker’s hostel or bed-and-breakfast. But saying that, “I’ll stay here so I can save money,” is just half the truth. The other half is that staying in such types of accommodations allows them to interact with fellow travellers. There’s nothing more fun, rewarding, and enriching than having fun and sharing experiences, stories, photos, and tips with people itching to explore the world. Couple that with the backpacker’s usual “chores” of cooking food, drinking beer, or strumming a guitar to entertain friends and you’d have an excellent adventure that you could share to your loved ones and friends when you come back home.
One important thing to remember if you wish to go on this path, however, is to keep in mind that you’ll be staying and dealing with other people. Thus, you need to mind your manners to help make everyone’s hostel experience (including your own) a pleasant, comfortable experience.
- Never use other people’s personal belongings without asking permission first. Just because you share a room with them or you become very close friends does not mean that you have the right to touch everything in it. Remember that most backpackers are a friendly lot, and they’ll gladly share what they have with you; just ask your permission.
- Many backpackers snore, some even louder than a coal-fired train in full speed. Don’t shake them up and nag them to keep it down; that’s just plain rude. It is better to bring along a couple of earplugs to shut the noise out.
- In no way you should sleep half naked or totally in the nude, even if you’re comfortable with it at home. Many backpackers, especially conservative ones, find it offensive. Just think: are you looking forward to see a naked person sharing a room with you?
- If you come in late at night and everyone is asleep, leave the room lights off. It is very annoying to be awakened in the middle of the night due to a sudden, harsh glare. Use your penlight or the illumination from your cellphone to find your way around the room.
- Keep your voice or music down. Take note that backpackers are individuals who want to have a relief from a life full of noise, stress, and headaches. Being noisy doesn’t help them—and you—achieve that bliss and serenity at all. Talk quietly or go to a quiet corner of the establishment if you wish to have a conversation with someone. Use headphones if you wish to listen to music.
- Do not hang your clothes or bag on someone else’s bunk. Rather, fold your clothes neatly and put them on your bed.
- Clean up your mess. Wash your dishes after you finish your meal. Throw away your garbage and cigarette butts in the trash bin. Wipe up water or food spills. Cleaning after yourself shows other backpackers and the owner of the establishment that you respect them.
- Be considerate of others when you use the bathroom, especially if such amenities are to be shared. Shower (or do your thing), towel off, and leave so you others can use the bath.
Lastly, be friendly! Remember that first impressions last, and you want backpackers to point you out and say, “He’s a great guy and traveller.”