During our summer backpacking trip around Europe we stayed mainly in Hostels, with either a shared room or a shared bathroom. This is a great way to meet people and also they are a lot cheaper than B&B's or hotels.
Whilst we were there we picked up on things that people did, good and bad things. So we thought we would compile a list of what we think is good etiquette when you are staying in shared accommodation.
1. Bring a Torch. If you plan on going out partying until the early hours then when you return do not turn on the main light to the room and wake the other travellers who might have an early flight or train to catch. I had the unfortunate experience of being on the top bunk underneath the main light which someone turned on at 3am when they returned. If you bring a torch it means you can easily find your bed and get in without disturbing anyone else.
2. Clean the bathroom after use. It was not uncommon to enter a bathroom after someone else to find the floor soaking wet, hair in the shower or a dirty toilet. Be considerate of others and clean up after you have used the facilities it makes for a better experience for everyone. Also to add to this take a cheap pair of flip flops to wear in the bathroom, this combats any foot problems you might pick up otherwise.
3. Be approachable. It's good to be friendly when you share a room with other people, it can make you feel more at ease and you can also make good friends from all over the world. A simple Hello on arrival is enough to break the awkward silence when you meet your room mates for the first time. Most people are out all day exploring so it may be rare you even see your room mates
4. Be mindful of others. We had to share two showers between at least 20 people in one of our hostels, this means that choosing your time to shower was vital and also how long you took even more so. We learned to not shower first thing in the morning or after 6pm as this is when the showers were in the most demand. Also take your pj's in so once you have done in the shower you can quickly exit for someone else to have their turn. Don't get fully dressed in there as it would take far too long.
5. Share. If you over hear someone is going to where you have been don't be afraid to share any information you know, whilst in Italy we shared a flat with a lovely Canadian couple who were planning on going to the Vatican city on the day of the Pope's appearance. We warned them against going during this time as the queue the day before was extremely long and that was just a normal day. Just little tips to help out others go along way in the travelling community.
Hostels are not all doom and gloom though, we stayed in the heart of many capitals for a budget friendly price meaning that we ate out more, drank more and did more. Losing a few creature comforts like a clean shower or a night of unbroken sleep were totally worth it for the experience we had.
What have your experiences been like in shared accommodation?