Hostels FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)One of the main reasons why people contact us is to ask questions. Many ask us the same things, so to help you we have listed answers to these Frequently Asked Questions. Check out the links below - it is probably the quickest way to find the information you need.
- Hostels and who runs them
- Hostel Standards and Quality
- Overnight costs
- Hostel opening times
- Bedrooms and bedding
- Meals and cooking
- Other facilities
Hostels and hostel facilities
Hostels and who runs themWhat is Hostelling International? Hostelling International is the brand name of the non-profit International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) and its member Youth Hostel Associations around the world. Our name is your reassurance of good quality budget accommodation that you can trust - watch out for the blue triangle sign. Hostelling International supports United Nation's "Decade for a Culture of Peace" through its Youth Hostelling for Peace and International Understanding campaign. HI Youth Hostels enable you to encounter people of different cultures, backgrounds and experiences, and provide a rich resource for learning and for building a better, more peaceful world. What is a Youth Hostel? A Youth Hostel is good quality budget accommodation that offers a comfortable night's sleep in friendly surroundings at an affordable price. Youth Hostels provide the perfect way to get to know a country at low cost and meet with many other people who share your attitude towards travelling. Who runs the hostels? Youth Hostels are run by the National Youth Hostel Associations. Each hostel must adhere to the Assured Standards set by Hostelling International, which carries out regular inspections. Read more about Assured Standards and HI Quality here. How do I find out about hostels around the world? Information on hostels, facilities and prices can be found on this website - use the search tool to find the country you wish to visit.
Hostel Standards and QualityWhat is the difference between Assured Standards and HI Quality? The Assured Standards set out the levels of friendliness, safety, comfort, security and privacy you can expect in any HI hostel, anywhere in the world. HI Quality is a management tool. It defines processes and routines to run the hostel efficiently, and enable staff to focus their energies on delivering standards to give you the best possible hostel experience. Why don’t all HI hostels have HI Quality certification? The HI Quality programme is still quite new, and it will take some time to implement this in the huge global HI hostel network. Whether a hostel displays the HI Quality certificate or not, you can be sure that it adheres to the Assured Standards that have been set to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable hostel stay. Are HI Quality certified hostels better than ones that don’t have the certificate? No – all HI hostels are committed to delivering the Assured Standards for welcome, comfort cleanliness, security and privacy. HI Quality is an additional management tool which supports Assured Standards. It enables hostel staff to streamline internal processes and deliver the highest quality hostel.
Overnight costsHow much does it cost to stay overnight in a Youth Hostel? Costs vary from country to country, but always represent excellent value for money. Overnight fees can be found on this site - simply select the country and hostel where you would like to stay. To find out the overnight fee for hostels which cannot be booked on this site, please contact the hostel direct (full contact details are given on the Hostel page).
Hostel opening timesAre hostels open all day? Generally, large city hostels are open 24 hours per day, while others may have shorter opening hours, and some may close for a short period during the day. Most hostels are open all year round, though some smaller hostels may be seasonal. You can normally check in or out between 07:00-10:00 hours and 17:00-22:30 hours.
Bedrooms and beddingWill I have to sleep in a big dormitory? Big dormitories are becoming increasingly rare in the Hostelling International network. Many hostels now offer single, twin and four-bedded rooms - please check when booking. Do I need to bring my own bedding? Bedding is usually provided, although you may need to bring or hire sheets/a sheet sleeping bag in some hostels - please check when booking. Some countries allow you to use a "normal" sleeping bag; however, many do not due to hygiene regulations - please check with the Association in the country you are travelling to (see the Countries section for contact details).
Meals and cookingCan I do my own cooking? Most hostels provide self-catering facilities, though they may not provide all utensils - please enquire when making your booking. Most hostels also provide meals in their own cafeteria and these represent excellent value for money.
SmokingCan I smoke in hostels? Smoking is permitted in some hostels, in selected rooms. It is advisable to check when making your booking (you can find contact details on the Hostel page).
Other facilitiesWhat kind of facilities can I expect in a Youth Hostel? Hostelling International recognizes that consistent standards and service are important to budget travellers. Local customs and practices vary around the world so please browse our website for more details. For detailed information please check the Hostel page. You can also find information about hostel opening times, open dates, facilities and more on the National Association website. Most rooms are fitted with bunk beds, and sleep two or four people - larger dormitory rooms are becoming less common. Bedding is usually provided, though you may need to bring or hire sheets in some hostels. Some hostels have rooms with en-suite facilities, while others have shared facilities located nearby. Many hostels provide self-catering kitchens and most provide meals. You can also expect to find facilities such as a TV room, library, common room, laundry facilities and internet access in many hostels. Do I need to bring my own towels? Towels are not provided, so please remember to bring a towel plus any toiletries you will need. Will I have to help with chores? In the majority of city and other key hostels, the most you will be asked to do is hand in your bed linen when you leave, and ensure that you clear up after using self-catering facilities. Is there somewhere safe I can leave my possessions? The majority of hostels provide lockers for your possessions. You may need to provide your own padlock. Many hostels also offer luggage storage.
ActivitiesAre trips or activities organised at hostels? Many hostels offer a wide range of activities - from city tours to white water-rafting! You will find full details on many of the National Association websites. In addition, the hostel reception often provides valuable local knowledge and tourist information.
Guests and pets
Who uses hostelsWhat kind of people use Youth Hostels? Hostelling International welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds, origins and interests - first-time travellers, seasoned travellers, lone travellers or people in groups all find a warm welcome at a Youth Hostel. Do Age limits exist? Youth Hostels are open to everyone. However age limits may apply for children in some places - check with the Hostel. Young people may be given priority when the hostel is nearly full.
ChildrenCan children stay at Youth Hostels? Children are welcome to stay at HI Hostels worldwide, and should be accompanied by an adult. Unaccompanied children are permitted to stay in some HI Hostels, although age limits apply - and these vary between countries and hostels. Please contact each Hostel or National Youth Hostel Association directly for information. Please be aware that unaccompanied minors are not allowed to stay in dormitories, and can therefore only stay in hostels where a private room is available and booked in advance (please check when booking). For information on children's membership, please contact your National Youth Hostel Association directly.
Guests with disabilitiesWhat kinds of facilities are provided for disabled visitors? Many hostels provide access for wheelchair users, and specially adapted rooms are becoming more common. We recommend you contact the hostel for specific details before making a booking, as many hostels are located in historic buildings which cannot easily be adapted (Contact details can be found on the Hostel page).
PetsCan I bring my pet when I stay at Youth Hostels? Pets are welcome at some hostels - please check with the hostel before making a booking (You can find contact details on the Hostel page).
Other General FAQ
Employment opportunitiesHow can I find out about employment opportunities with Hostelling International? Hostelling International is an administrative office only and vacancies are rare. If you are interested in working in a youth hostel, you should contact the National Youth Hostel Association of the country concerned.
Commercial opportunitiesI'd like to open a hostel or become affiliated to Hostelling International - what do I need to do? If you are in a country that already has a Hostelling International Organisation, please contact them to see if co-operation is possible. If there is no Hostelling International Organisation in your country, please email Hostelling International giving full details.
Further HelpI cannot find the answer to my question - what do I do? Elsewhere on this site - questions about:
- Membership (why and how to join, membership types and costs, lost membership cards, using your membership card overseas, member benefits)
- Bookings & Cancellations
You can email us. We will deal with your query as quickly as possible, but please allow 3-5 working days for a reply.