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Etiquette for Order of Arrival @ Albergue


New Member
Past OR future Camino
Fisterre (2017), Norte(2018), Ingles (2019)
Hi All,
Is there an accepted etiquette for order of arrival at the albergues? For example, if we arrive at 2pm and the door doesn't open until 4, and it's a small one with only 10 or 20 beds, should we sit there and wait in a line? I heard lining up packs is usually OK so you can wander off for a drink and food. What's the best way of handling a situation like this?
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Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
Line up the pack and chill out is all I have ever done and it seemed to be the norm.
I would say not wander off if it looks like they about to open, and you might not be there. One albergue two younger male pilgrims did that, came back after the queue had started and at least half had gone past their unattended packs. They tried to insist on cutting ahead instead of just getting to the back and there were some ugly words here and there, but they capitulated, ha ha.
If it is a busy day on the Camino in that town, stay with your packs and make checking in a priority. You can always drink a cold one and have food later. :)


Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances June 2015
VDLP May 2017
del Norte Sept 2018
I would concur that a person is not in line unless the person is in line. If one chooses not to wait there, they should take their place at the end of the line when they are ready to wait there. (But that's a general 'life' opinion...dont know if it is the norm opinion on the camino) Of course, having another line sitter hold ones' spot seems reasonable for a quick pee or food break....


Veteran Member
Lining up packs is generally an accepted practice, but definitely don't stray too far and be back in plenty of time to queue up for the opening. You won't want to wander off too far or too long, otherwise you would run into a situation like above where a bunch of people show up and an issue arises.

If you are walking the Camino Frances, it would be rare to find an alberque that doesn't open until 4. Most open around 2 anyway, so I don't think you'd find the situation very often where you'd have to wait hours for an alberque to open. On other routes, it may be different.
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Past OR future Camino
Trying to upload a photo without success. Evidence of a couple of pleasant hours in Burgos in May of 2015, waiting for the big albergue to open. There was a looong line of backpacks along the wall of the albergue and a cafe right across the street with outdoor tables so we could see our bags and still have a snack or drink.
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RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
I very much agree with what has already been said. It seems pointless to keep people needlessly waiting in line when you could be doing something more valuable like as @Waka suggests having a beer in the bar opposite :).

But this comes with the proviso that you know when then albergue will open and are there before the line starts moving, after that all bets are off as far as I'm concerned. It's also a big incentive to make friends so you can take turns guarding bags.


New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2010, 2015)
Camino Norte (2011)
Rue de la Plata (2018/9)
Probably depends on the other pilgrims and the situation. Surely people use a bag to hold their place, but it is by no means a guarantee. Especially if you wander off while other people are standing there.
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Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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I met someone last night who had quened up his pack in Laredo, he didn’t wander far and thought he had clear view up the stairs to the albergue. When he saw people starting to enter the albergue, he went up the stairs to find his back gone.


Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
A Brasilian woman took my bunk which had only a hat on it because everything else was wet. Her rule "if your sleeping bag is not rolled out, it is not your bed."

She moved.

Not everyone has the same "rules.":)
I had a similar experience a few years ago on the Frances.
I got to the albergue, got a bunk, put my pack next to it and showered etc. That albergue had blankets available on a shelf, so I got one, laid it over the bunk, and put my guidebook on the pillow and off I went to get something to eat. When I got back an hour or so I saw that my guidebook was on the floor and a set of dirty, dusty bicycle panniers was on the bunk, on the blanket. I then removed the panniers, placed them on the floor some distance away, shook off the blanket and laid down and took a nap. The bicycle pilgrim never made an issue of it, and would just stare at me. There were other bunks available as well as blankets. I have no idea why the bunk I chose was more appealing to him. Oh well.
True, not everyone was taught the golden rule. I pity them.

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