Are hostels clean?
Yes they are: to meet hygiene regulations with so many people around, you have to clean a lot. Certainly, when showers and toilets are shared by many people, they might look a bit messy after a while, but most hostels do a good job of cleaning them on a very frequent basis.
Can I drink alcohol in hostels?
This depends a lot on what country you are in but most hostels won't allow you to drink in your room anyway. Some will have a bar where you can drink (and maybe have even age restrictions, particularly in the US), some won't. As always, it's important to respect others and the habits of the country you are visiting.
Can I have sex in hostels?
Well, if you have booked your private room and you have a partner at hand, there should not be many problems. If you are located in a dorm, it might be more difficult. You might have to be very quiet and discreet. Well, it's up to your fantasy to work out how...
Do hostels welcome gay people and lesbians?
It depends on the level of open-mindedness of the country/city the hostel is in. Some hostels state it clearly in their advertisement, some take it for granted, some don't even concern themselves with the issue.
You can find the list of the gay-friendly hostels in our "Special Places" page.
Can I smoke in a hostel?
Usually not in the room. If you are in the US, probably you won't be able to smoke anywhere. In Germany there will probably be a cigarette vending machine right at the entrance. Again, it depends a lot on the country and its smoking restrictions.
Can I get any privacy in a hostel?
If you are in a shared room, and use common showers, you will have to put away some of your modesty and enjoy the psychological freedom that this allows. After all, it shouldn't be too much of a problem anyway, should it?
Will people steal my stuff if I stay in a shared room?
Certainly not your dirty socks. If you have valuable items, either ask for a locker (which most hostels offer, often free of charge), or be careful and hide them carefully underneath the aforementioned dirty socks. All hostels will be very careful not to admit people that aren't registered guests anyway, so people will be strongly discouraged from stealing, as they can be found easily since their name is in the hostel's register.