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Camino Etiquette – The Unwritten Rules!

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Panic set in as I received the weekly forum roundup email from Ivar on the Camino forum. One of the topics was about an angry Albergue Warden who threw someone's pack on the floor and shouted, “leave, leave”.

It was 7.30am, and all pilgrims needed to leave by 8am, so she was “shooing” people out of the door.   As the thread progressed I noted that it was a well-known pilgrim understanding that you should not leave your packs on the bunks, beds or chairs.  Well-known???  I didn't know this, so it got me thinking about other “untold” rules.  What else didn't I know about?

So I asked my good friend Google.  Here were my findings.

Number 1 – Prepare things the night before

Apparently there is nothing more annoying than someone packing up in the morning whilst others are still trying to sleep.  This is good advice for me as I am an early bird and we will probably be on the move around 6.30am, so I will certainly pack up before bedtime. I am also not taking carrier bags as the rustling can also be very annoying to fellow pilgrims.  All the packing lists online tell you to take a headtorch, but these can also make people grumpy in the morning.  If you are taking a headtorch, then make sure you have one with a red light and white light.  Use the red light settings in the morning so that you are not lighting up the room at 5am!

Number 2 – Don't put your rucksacks on the beds/bunks or chairs

As mentioned, this post was the catalyst for this blog article.  It had not dawned on me that this was the easiest way to transfer bed bugs from one Albergue to another.  Noted!

Number 3 – No alarm clocks that others can hear

I am lucky with this one as my watch just taps me on the wrist when it is time to wake up, but I thought it would be worth a mention.  I have found endless people on various forums complaining about alarm clocks.

Number 4- When you arrive at an Albergue, you claim your bed by putting your sleeping bag on the bed.

Not all Albergues wash their sheets on a regular basis apparently, so make sure you do not put your boots or wet socks on the bed.  I intend to put my bedbug sheet on straight away!

Number 5 – Keep your valuables on you at all times

Keep things such as your phone, passport, wallet etc with you at all times, even if you go to the shower.  Just pop them into a waterproof pouch.

Number 6- Don't wash your dirty clothes in the bathroom

Use the washing area even if its crude. Washing laundry in the bathroom sink takes up space, gets it dirtier than it already is and spreads water all over the bathroom which is already an issue in most Albergues.

Number 7 – Don't wait for the volunteer to ask for your credentials.

Have your Camino passport in hand when you enter. And smile! The volunteer will appreciate it and it will help you to remember that having a gratitude attitude is part of the spirit of the Camino!

Number 8 – Don't hog the power sockets!

Everyone has phone chargers, kindles, and endless other stuff to charge.  Both Rachel and I have travel plugs which have four USB adapters – so we have eight ports between us, only using two sockets.  I am hoping this will win us a few friends 🙂

Number 9 – Don't leave toilet roll on “The Way”

My friend Jane did mention to me that there were places along The Way, that were littered with discarded toilet roll.  I have a small roll of dog poo bags, so if I do need to go to the loo (number 1, not a number 2!), then I will put the used loo roll in the bag and put it in the bin at the next convenient spot.

Number 10 – A short and amusing list below from a fellow Pilgrim.

I will leave you with this mini list below (which is copied from one of the forum threads – thanks to Falcon269).

  • Do it yourself!Leave the place cleaner than when you arrived.
  • Leave the place cleaner than when you arrived.
  • Take short showers to save a little water for later arrivals.
  • Use just one bunk. The surrounding bunks are not your clothes line.
  • The chair is there for everyone to sit on. It is not yours for pack storage just because you got there first.
  • The space under the bunk generally is shared by both occupants. Save half for the other guy.
  • No maid will wash your dishes, pans, or cutlery. YOU do it.
  • Wear earplugs so the unavoidable disturbances by others will not drive you to distraction.
  • Don't steal the toilet paper.
  • Trailside tissues are not biodegradable at a speed that will prevent them from being an eyesore (not an albergue rule)
  • If you have a cold, go to a private room in a hostel for a few days. No one will be happy sleeping in a dorm with typhoid Mary.

The “don't steal the toilet paper” did make me laugh – do people really do that on the Camino?

When I reflect on this list, there are a few things that pop into my mind.  Use your common sense and be a good human being.  All of the above should really not have to be pointed out (especially the list in number 10).  I think generally people are courteous and friendly, but if I do come across rude, unhygienic or bad snorers, then I will simply put that down to the Camino experience!

If you have any comments or lists of things that you would like to add to the above then please share.  I am sure I will be adding a few myself when we return!

I am so excited! – less than 3 weeks to go now!

Beun Camino!

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  1. Jane on May 8, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    So agree with alarms, really annoying especially if someone has it set for 6.30 then someone else has 6.40 and so on. You shouldn’t need lights at 6.30 when you go as it will be light enough. I prefer it if someone uses a light on their mobile as it is a moving light that is irritating. If you only want to wash one thing do it in the shower whilst you are showering.



  2. Julia Doherty on May 9, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Yep – we all have torches on our phones now, so I don’t see the point of taking a headlight, unless you are walking at 5am! Did you take a headtorch Jane?



  3. Tony on June 5, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Love this blog -well written and well done (from downunder Australia)
    A head torch is reasonable to take as we did occasionally start early about 7 and we were there before and during when clocks went back and as we are not the steadiest on our feet, the torch was very important to see the path and the arrows.
    iPhone torch was good at night to go to the loo and shading it in our hands but the head torch and the red light was good. Torch use does chew up the battery.
    Also if caught out later in dark areas it would be a godsend.