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Who we are

Butterflu in hands

Hostelling International (HI) is the organisation set up in 1932 to co-ordinate Youth Hostel Associations around the world.

We are one of the world’s largest international membership organisations with more than 3.7 million members and offer many benefits in addition to staying in HI hostels.

When you want to stay in a hostel, we try to make sure you get the best experience possible. For us it’s not just about having a place to stay, it’s about you experiencing all that hostelling has to offer - whether that’s learning about new cultures, meeting new people or discovering yourself.

We try to achieve this by working with the Youth Hostel Associations to ensure that hostelling is open to everyone, is affordable and that no matter which HI hostel you visit, you’ll get a great night’s sleep in a safe environment.

HI hostels can be found in some of the most inspiring and unusual places in the world. Fancy a stay in a jumbo jet in Stockholm? A lighthouse in California? Or maybe a boat in Budapest?

In offering you these unique experiences we hope that you will create amazing memories and discover the real hostel experience.

The history of youth hostelling
1909 German school teacher Richard Schirrmann sees the need for overnight accommodation for school children so that they have a place to stay during class trips. Schools are then used during the holidays, with classrooms being temporarily converted to accommodate beds.
1912 Schirrmann sets up the first youth hostel in his own school in Altena, Westphalia. Soon after this is replaced by a permanent hostel in Altena Castle.
1919 The idea of hostelling spreads across Germany and Schirrmann founds the German Youth Hostel Association.
1932 The youth hostel movement quickly spreads worldwide so the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) is founded. Richard Schirrmann is appointed president.
1936 Schirrmann is forced to resign by the German government.
2006 The International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) operates as Hostelling International (HI).