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About HI

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For good, not for profit!

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.

Our history gives us authenticity and our status means you can trust us… We really have been doing this for a rather long time.

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).


Our members

Our members, known as National Associations, are not-for profit, non-political organisations that are required to deliver this mission.

They exist to do good - not to generate a profit - and we exist to help and co-ordinate them in their activities.

You can find information about our members, the National Associations, here.

The combined efforts of those National Associations bring you a network of over 3,300 international youth hostels spread across over 89 countries.

Our hostels

We have hostels in all the popular places such as London, Paris, New York, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Bangkok and Rome whilst we also have some more unusual locations like a tree-house hostel in Norway or a castle youth hostel in Scotland.

We work with National Associations to ensure hostels are safe, clean, have good standards and the deliver the right environment to help you discover the world, yourself and some new friends.

Helping you to learn about and understand each other is really key to our role.

Buying your hostel stay on helps our hostels keep costs down and puts funds to work for good, rather than for profit.


We invite you to join your local National Association and show your support for the hostelling movement. Your support might just make the difference and make it easier for young people in years to come to open their eyes to a wider world. You can read about membership or buy a membership using this site. Membership cards also bring discounts and benefits. We like to be inclusive so everyone can become a member, it’s just the funds that membership generates are aimed at helping the young and next generations.

Sustainability & volunteering

We insist our National Associations do good work and are very active in both sustainability and volunteering. You can read more about our work on sustainability and volunteering - it's important to remember that we are not here to make a profit and this is not a gimmick. We can't deliver our mission in the future if the world around us is not sustainable.

Our members do a lot to improve the lives of young people. A couple of examples are the impact of YHA England and Wales on young people and how the HI-USA open minds. We also co-ordinate some global events such as 'Sleep for Peace' which you can read about here.

Many of our National Associations welcome the help of volunteers so get in touch with them using the National Association contact details.

So please show your support by getting involved. We want to ensure that the generations to come can enjoy a peaceful world and you can do your bit by using our website, our hostels, becoming a member, donating to our sustainability fund or getting involved as a volunteer.

Annual reports

Read our annual reports here: