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Hostels FAQs

Search below for answers to queries relating to general travel and advice about our hostels.


About Hostelling International

Hostelling International is the brand name of the non-profit International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) and its members National Youth Hostel Associations around the world. Our name is your reassurance of good quality budget accommodation that you can trust. HI Hostels enable you to meet people of different cultures, backgrounds and experiences, and provide a rich resource for learning and for building a better, more peaceful world. HI has been operating for more than 80 years with one mission at heart: “to promote the education of all young people of all nations, but especially young people of limited means, by encouraging in them a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside and an appreciation of the cultural values of towns and cities in all parts of the world, and as an ancillary thereto to provide hostels or other accommodation in which there shall be no distinctions of race, nationality, colour, religion, sex, class or political opinions, and thereby to develop a better understanding of fellow men at home and abroad”.

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What is a hostel?

A hostel is good quality budget accommodation that offers a comfortable night's sleep in a friendly atmosphere at an affordable price. Hostels also provide the perfect way to get to know a country at low cost and meet many like-minded travellers while using the communal facilities such as the bar or lounge, the kitchen. Hostels offer a wide range of accommodation including shared rooms (either single sex or mixed) and private rooms. Private rooms are becoming increasingly popular at our hostels, making hostels open to families and couples as well as individuals and groups.

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What are the HI Assured Standards and HI Quality?

The Assured Standards set out the levels of welcome, comfort, cleanliness, security and privacy you can expect in any HI hostel, anywhere in the world.

HI-Q, the HI Quality Management System complements the well-established HI Assured Standards, and focuses on hostel management and operations. It takes ‘best practice’ from quality systems around the world and tailors them to the specific needs of hostels. HI-Q enables hostels to consistently improve and deliver high standards to ensure you have a great hostel experience. Only those hostels which successfully complete the programme will be certified and able to display the distinctive HI-Q logo – look out for it in the hostels you visit.

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What type of facilities can I expect to find at a hostel?

Hostels are ideal for meeting new people and you will find communal facilities such as a common room, a self-catering kitchen, bar, restaurant, library, TV room, laundry facilities. Hostels also offer many services such as internet access, activity tours, discounts on attractions and shows - and of course the advice of local staff. The specific facilities and services that each hostel provides can be found on the Facilities tab of the hostel page.

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What time can I check in/check out?

Check-in times are displayed for each hostel on the Preview tab of the hostel page. If you are unable to find this information online please contact the hostel directly for assistance as all of our hostels differ. Contact details for the hostels can be found on the Location tab of the hostel page. Specific instructions may be provided on your booking confirmation.

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What are the hostel opening times/hours?

Generally, large city hostels are open 24 hours a day, while others may have shorter opening hours and some may even close for a short period during the day. Most hostels are open all year round; however, some of our hostels are seasonal and are unavailable at certain times during the year. The information regarding the hostel’s opening times and dates are available on the hostel page. If you are unable to find this information, please check with the hostel directly for assistance using the contact details provided on the Location tab of the hostel page.

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Who can stay at a hostel?

Hostelling International welcomes everyone, regardless of age, race, nationality, colour, religion, sex, class or political opinions. Families are welcome to stay at a large number of our hostels, but please check with the hostel directly, as certain conditions may apply, for example, you may need to book a private room. Groups (10+ people) are also welcome in many of our hostels and specially catered for; you can find detailed information on our groups dedicated website.

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Can children stay at hostels?

Children with their family or group leader are welcome to stay at many HI hostels. However, as age limits may apply in certain hostels, we recommend you check that information on the hostel page before booking. Young people under the age of 18 will usually need to provide permission from a legal guardian if they wish to stay unaccompanied in a hostel. Families with young children or groups of minors will usually stay in a private room rather than a shared room. Please contact the hostel or the National Youth Hostel Association directly before booking if you require further information.

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Do age limits exist?

Hostels are open to everyone. However, minimum age limits may apply for children in some places - please check the You should know section on the Preview tab of the hostel page or with the hostel directly. There should be no upper age limit to stay at a hostel.

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Do hostels organise trips and activities?

Our hostels have a wealth of information and knowledge available about the local area and environment. Many hostels organise a wide range of trips and activities themselves. If trips or activities are not organised directly by the hostels, they can provide you with information for you to get the most out of your stay. You can find information about the hostel activities on the Location tab and Noticeboard tab of the hostel page.

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Can I bring my pet when I stay at a hostel?

Pets are welcome at some hostels. Please check with the hostel before making a booking, either on the Preview tab of the hostel page or by contacting directly the hostel. Contact details for the hostel can be found on the Location tab on the hostel page.

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What types of facilities are provided for wheelchair users?

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 for the hostel can be found on the Location tab on the hostel page.

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What about safety and security?

The safety and security of our guests is extremely important to us. The majority of our hostels have lockers or safes in rooms where you can leave your valuables. Some may require you to have your own padlock or hire/purchase one from reception. Those hostels which do not have the locker facilities in the room usually have a reception safe in which they allow guests to leave their valuables. We recommend our customers make sure they have adequate travel insurance before they travel.

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Do I need identification?

Some of our hostels will require you to show identification upon arrival - this is highlighted during the booking process. If you would like to check the types of identification accepted, please contact the hostel directly using the contact details on the hostel’s page.

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Do I need travel insurance?

We recommend that you always obtain adequate travel insurance before you leave on your travels. Hostelling International does not provide travel insurance directly but does work with World Nomads to offer HI customers a discount on their purchase. For more information about World Nomads (same link as the one on the partner ad on the home page).

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What about safety and security?

The safety and security of our guests is extremely important to us. The majority of our hostels have lockers or safes in rooms where you can leave your valuables. Some may require you to have your own padlock or hire/purchase one from reception. Those hostels which do not have the locker facilities in the room usually have a reception safe in which they allow guests to leave their valuables. We always remind our customers to make sure they have adequate travel insurance before they travel.

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Where can I get directions to HI hostels?

If you need directions to get to your hostel, please use the map which can be found in the Location tab on the hostel’s page or the directions on your booking confirmation. If you have any questions about reaching your chosen hostel, please check with the hostel directly using the contact details on the Location tab on the hostel page.

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What about luggage storage?

Many hostels will provide a luggage room or lockers for you to store your luggage. You may be able to leave your luggage before check-in and after check-out. However, for details on this and for information on prices, please check with your hostel directly using the contact details on the hostel’s page.

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Do I need a sleeping bag/bedding?

Sleeping bags are not always permitted at our hostels due to hygiene regulations. Bed linen will usually be provided by the hostel and will either be included in the price or will be an additional cost. This information will be displayed in the product details on the hostel page - please check before travelling.

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Do I need towels?

In most hostels towels will not be included in the price of your booking; this will be shown during the booking process. If they are not included, you will need to take your own towel or hire one from the hostel. Please check with the hostel directly using the contact details on the Location tab on hostel’s page.

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