'Owning' The Dorm Room

When you’re in a hostel, you will find that sometimes people seem to ‘own’ a dorm room. They seem to always become the more dominant person in there, have somehow managed to snag the best bed and locker. To be honest, more times than not they are a complete asshole. They’re the kind of people who will literally move all your stuff to a different bed if you’ve already grabbed the best one, or will steal your complimentary towel at the hostel forcing you to use the beach towel you lug around at the bottom of your backpack, last used in Brazil 4 months prior. They’re also the ones who seem to control the lights and are never in sync with you, either wanting them off at 9pm when you're getting ready to go out or on until 4am before your 6am flight.

So how can you overcome this? How can you make sure they definitely won’t want your bed or, in the rare case of an exceptional asshole, stop them stealing your phone charger!

Roll Around in That Bed Like Woman of Questionable Morals

One sure way to stop them stealing your bed is to make it look highly used. Roll around on it, scrunch up the sheets and then lay them back over the bed again like it’s been slept on a few nights. If you’ve got thick hair like me, get really gross and pull a few out then leave them on the pillow - trust me not many people will want to steal your bed now!

Get A Combination Padlock

A combo padlock is your best option to hold a locker! If you shove your valuables in and lock it as soon as you get in, there’s no way that someone else can move all your stuff to another one. I’ve also found that in the past, if I’ve bought a key lock padlock from the hostel a lot of the keys work multiple padlocks so you can open someone else’s locker with your key. A combination is the best for someone who loses things easily, the keys are really tiny and I’ve had to have hostel staff break into my locker before by breaking the padlock which is really embarrassing at 5am when you’ve got to grab a bus and everyone is trying to sleep...

Become ‘BFFs’ with Everyone in the Room

Generally, the person who is a dick won’t have many friends and tends to back down a little if you’re suddenly the most popular gal or guy in the room. Power in numbers does work but, at the same time, you don’t want to become the asshole by being intimidating so play nice in the playground kids. Sometimes you just have to say something, and I know there are many backpackers out there who won’t take any shit from others! It sounds hilarious but there really is a backpackers etiquette / unwritten rules to keep in mind. It’s pretty chilled out, but there are just some things you don’t do even though pretty much anything goes! If you’re a little shy and aren’t always sure on how to start the conversation, maybe check out my post about making friends on the road!

Positioning of Your Bed

Choose your bed wisely! It’s not always that the best things in a room are all next to bed one though so don't be fooled. If you’re a fan of sleeping away from the door as the noise of it opening and shutting all night keeps you up, obviously pick one far away. However, generally the aircon controlls are near the door so if you like it cool when you sleep, maybe pick the bed where you can turn the temperature up or down. Don’t be a complete dick with this though and check with the rest of the room first. The list could go on, but you get the idea - pick a bed with the best amenity to suit your needs. Unfortunately, not all hostels have this free for all ideal, and with some they will assign you a bed - tough luck!

If All Else Fails, Don’t Spend Too Long in Your Dorm


If everything fails, and somehow this particular person just isn’t giving up, back out gracefully. You’re never going to get on with everyone in life, and this is the same when backpacking. The way hostels are designed means that there are loads of common areas to meet new people and there is a whole world out there for you to go and see. If you’re staying in a certain destination and have travelled hours to get there, it obviously means you want to see something here so go, explore it, live it and don’t spend too long in your room.