Hostel Kitchen Etiquette

There is nothing more frustrating when you go to use the kitchen in a hostel and the fridge is overflowing with leftovers and rotting food, the pots and pans are old, dirty, and encrusted with someone’s leftover pasta, and there isn’t a clean dish, plate, glass or spoon to be found. If you plan on staying in hostels and cooking in the kitchen, please follow these few basic hostel kitchen etiquette rules outlined below:


1. Don’t Eat Other People’s Food

Yes, this one really does happen and items from food bags go missing. Sometimes it’s an accident and someone thought your milk or eggs were theirs. To ensure this won’t happen, make sure to label your bags and food very clearly so no one can make this mistake. Even with labels, sometimes things still end up mysteriously disappearing. Everyone is itrying to save money while traveling, so be a decent person and don’t steal from someone’s food bag.

2. Don’t Take Up all the Space in the Fridge

Often there are a lot of people sharing one small kitchen and there isn’t always enough fridge space for everyone’s food. If you can take out items and use dry storage for them, please do. And please don’t put your case of beer or box of goon in the fridge when it’s already full, they really don’t need to be refrigerated at the expense of someone’s milk spoiling.

3. Clean Your Pots, Pans and Dishes as Soon as you Can

At 6 pm, there are many people coming back after a day of sightseeing all hungry and wanting to make supper. Once you’ve finished cooking your food, try to clean up your pots and pans quickly so someone else can use them right away to prepare their own food. Many hostels don’t have multiple sets of cooking ware to use.

4. Don’t take up Every Burner on the Stove

I get it, sometimes you want to make yourself a really lovely meal when you’re traveling because let’s face it, pasta every day just doesn’t cut it after a solid month of nothing but. But no matter what you’re cooking, try to use only one or two burners on the stove. Just like in point 3, many people will be wanting to use the space as well and it’s respectful to not take over the entire stove top so no one else can cook.

5. Wipe the Counter Down When You’re Done With the Space

Hostel kitchens can get dirty very quickly and I know the staff tries hard to keep it clean, but sometimes it’s not so easy. Be a kind person and make sure you wipe up the counters or stovetop when you’re done using them. Leave everything as you wish to find it – it’s pretty simple.

6. Don’t Cook in the Kitchen at 3am if There are Rooms Nearby

I know, I know, it’s 3am, you’re just stumbling in from the bar and you are starving, but please be polite and think about the people who may be sleeping near to the kitchen that you might be disturbing. If you really must quash your craving, find a late-night food vendor. I guarantee it will be tastier than anything you were going to make and is well worth the extra couple bucks you have to spend for it.

7. Be Mindful of People Who May Have Serious Allergies

I know you don’t know if someone has an allergy or not, after all they’re strangers who just happen to be in the same hostel as you, but please keep in mind that some people may be allergic to the nuts you spilled all over the counter or the fish you’re frying up. I’m not saying you should refrain from eating any of these foods, but try to keep them sealed up if at all possible when not eating them. Most people with serious allergies are hyper-aware in kitchens but it doesn’t hurt for you to keep it in mind as well.

If you follow these basic rules and are respectful of everyone else in the kitchen you will fully enjoy your experience of eating in a hostel while traveling. Take advantage of this space as you’ll be saving money, eating well and most likely meeting other interesting travelers you can swap tales with over your steaming bowl of ramen noodles (with veggies of course).

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