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10 Tips to be a Great Long-Term Roommate in a Hostel Dorm

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How to survive as a long-termer in a hostel.

Staying in a hostel dorm and being a roommate in a hostel means doing a 180-degree turn on your habits from back home. You are now sharing everything, from your bedroom to your cutlery with people from all walks of life. For most travellers, it is the most amazing thing about their trip: meeting new people every day, sharing life experiences with people from incredibly various backgrounds, and making unlikely friendship along the way.

However, living in a hostel dorm means having to make a few compromises for the sake of great cohabitation. In this article we have gather 10 tips to keep in mind for smooth long-term hostel stay all across the country. Have a quick browse through them so you are prepared for hostel life at its best!

For more tips, check out What it’s Like to be a Long-Termer in a Hostel.

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1. Choose a hostel that you will enjoy living in

Out of all the hostels in New Zealand, you will have more choice than ever to pick the right one for you. So when picking a hostel to settle in for a few weeks or month, make sure that you dig the vibe, love the place, and have a good feeling about the other long-termers. Otherwise you’ll be a grumpy cat for the length of your stay and neither you or your roommates will have a good time.

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2. Know what type of Backpacker you are

When getting a job and settling for a little while, you are not the same type of backpacker than those that are just passing by. Incredibly excited to make the most of their short time in the area, short-termers will be busy bees from dawn to dusk. Understand them and enable them to enjoy themselves as well.

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3. Don’t make a mess

Rule #1 in hostel dorms: nobody likes the messy one! Keep your belongings in your bag and if possible, your bag under your bed. Share dorms are often busy and if everybody leaves stuff everywhere, it quickly becomes a nightmare. In the same spirit, remember that laundry is a weekly thing and includes your stinky damp towel.

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4. Leave your dorm and the hostel from time to time

Backpackers staying in the hostel every day of the week after work often get the hostel craze. They get annoyed by every single quirk from fellow travellers, they get snappy and act like they own the place, while rolling their eyes at every question. Go out of the hostel, take a walk, drink a pint, watch a movie, discover your surroundings: it will put you in a much better mood.

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5. Be social and friendly

Newcomers’ accept friendly people in hostels and are keen to make new friends. You did too when you were hopping from city to city. So make sure to be friendly and welcoming to your new roommates. You do not have to join each of them to the local pub crawl, but you do not have to ignore them either.

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6. Don’t be too friendly

Jumping on newcomers straight away offering them 20 different activities to join you on is not the best way to make an intro either. You will seem too needy and may end up pushing people away. Let new travellers come to you with their traditional “Hello, where are you from?”

On the same topic, the more long-termers you sleep with, the more drama you’ll cause in the hostel. Try to stick to one or fool around with someone that are leaving soon.

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7. Acknowledge your other roommates

When living in a dorm, you are not alone. Keep in mind your other roommates’ needs and acknowledge them. Have a chat with them from time to time. Friendliness and open-mindedness goes a long way when sharing a room with total strangers for a long time.

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8. Don’t be a hoarder

Humans tend to accumulate stuff. Believe it or not, even during a few weeks’ stay in a hostel you’ll gather quite a bit of stuff, should it be glasses and mugs that you like, swags that you got during a few nights out, a few more clothes that you got out of the lost and found, or even a big batch of food gathered out of the free food shelf. Make sure to keep that side in-check as it will make it much harder to keep your room tidy and livable. Plus, it will be even harder to pack when it will be your time to leave. For tips on how to get rid of your excess stuff, check out 7 Ways to Get Rid of Your Excess Luggage Before You Leave New Zealand.

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9. Share the hostel with others

To all long-termers in every hostel around the world: you do NOT own the place! (So don’t act like you do…). No need to huff and puff if somebody uses your favourite frying pan or cannot remember the WiFi password. Don’t hoard the TV remote. Don’t boss people around like if it was your place. Be helpful but not patronising. Most importantly, remember that an hostel is a shared space.

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10. Don’t stay too long

A lot of stress and grumpiness comes from feeling stuck in a place for too long and trying hard to save money. When settling in a hostel for a few weeks, have a plan out. Keep your expenses and savings in-check. Have a goal and when you reach it, leave! Remember, you do not need that much money to travel and you’ve done it before to get to this hostel, so don’t be scared to move on. Adventure awaits!

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