What is a hostel?

Find out about hostels and what it’s like to live in one. Explore opportunities for securing free accommodation by working in renowned hostels across the globe.

While hostels have become widespread across the globe, there are still many people who struggle to provide a concise definition of what a hostel entails, and certain misconceptions persist about this type of lodging. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant surge in solo travelers. Naturally, this trend has generated a greater need for budget-friendly options for individual bookings. In the past, even if you were traveling alone, you often had to pay for a private room, which significantly inflated the cost of solo travel. Hostels were conceived to address this growing demand for economical individual booking alternatives. Today, some hostels are organized in ways that are more efficient and well-structured than many hotels and various other forms of accommodation available.

What is a hostel?

Hostels are accommodations where you share rooms and communal spaces with fellow travelers. The essence of a hostel is that you pay only for your bed and share the remaining room space with unfamiliar people. Because of this shared living arrangement, hostel prices are considerably more budget-friendly. The “do it yourself” hostel culture also fosters a distinct atmosphere, setting it apart from traditional hotels.

Typically, hostels provide amenities like well-equipped communal kitchens, dining areas, laundry facilities, and social lounges. Furthermore, due to the relaxed and collaborative environment, hostels often host gatherings and arrange local tours for their guests. These tours often take you to less touristy, hidden gems known only to the locals.

What’s great about hostels is that even if you’re traveling solo, you have the chance to enjoy a social experience. In a hostel environment, you’ll always be surrounded by like-minded individuals. It’s an environment that encourages the formation of new friendships and the sharing of experiences, resulting in plenty of laughter and good times.

What is hostel life like?

Residing in a hostel is a transformative journey that nurtures personal growth. Your sense of cooperation will flourish as you willingly share food, drinks, stories, and laughter without reservation. You’ll witness the effortless formation of bonds, surpassing your expectations, as you discover commonalities with fellow travelers. Thanks to the constant turnover of hostel guests, you’ll encounter individuals from diverse regions, countries, cultures, and lifestyles. The best part? Each one carries a suitcase full of experiences and stories just waiting to be shared with you. You’ll settle into a rhythm where the days of the week lose their significance, and you may even forget to check the time.

There will be moments exclusively for you, like relaxing in a hammock for hours, getting lost in a book amid the beauty of nature, returning from the beach just half an hour before starting work, and relishing daily sunsets. These are just a few of the experiences that the hustle of a typical 9-5 routine can’t provide.

Why stay in a hostel?

Depending on your origin and mode of transportation, how you arrive at the hostel can vary. Whether you’re flying, driving, or using another form of transport to reach your destination, this question is essential. Its dual purpose is to inform your host of your travel plans, helping them anticipate your arrival, and to reduce travel-related stress by having a well-thought-out plan to reach the hostel. It’s worth noting that some hosts provide pickup services from airports, bus stations, etc., and they may proactively offer this information in their response. Additionally, this is an ideal time to inquire about any general safety recommendations for the area.

Who is recommended to stay in a hostel?

If you’re someone with an open-minded attitude, unfazed by sharing spaces with strangers, and you relish the prospect of meeting new people, uncovering fresh stories, and embracing novel experiences, then choosing to stay in a hostel is a definite must. The ambiance in a hostel is strikingly distinct from that of a traditional hotel. Guests effortlessly form connections, transforming into a tight-knit community. Beyond serving breakfast, hostels typically organize activities that unite all their guests. These can include guided walking and bicycle tours, lively evenings at local bars, and engaging trivia and game nights. Many hostels also offer unique tour services to help you explore your destination further. Similar to hostel activities, these tours often involve an enjoyable mix of staff, volunteers, and fellow guests. .

What’s working in a hostel like?

Working in a hostel doesn’t demand extensive technical expertise. Instead, it calls for essential skills like effective communication, friendliness, and a positive attitude and energy. If you opt for a work exchange, your specific responsibilities and schedule will hinge on the position you’ve applied for, which your host should clarify before you begin your work exchange. The majority of your training will be provided by a hostel staff member or an experienced fellow volunteer. In a reception role, your duties will encompass administrative tasks like handling phone calls, responding to emails, managing reservations, facilitating check-ins and check-outs, and addressing guest inquiries. Hostels vary in their needs, offering positions beyond administrative tasks, including bartenders, party organizers, content creators and social media strategists, photographers and videographers, cleaning staff, and more. The range of opportunities on platforms like Hostelworks is truly diverse, catering to a wide array of interests.

Positive points about working in a hostel

  • You’ll have the chance to meet a multitude of wonderful individuals and forge meaningful friendships.
  • Engaging with diverse people will broaden your perspective, revealing that the world extends far beyond the familiar bubble you’ve known.
  • You’ll be captivated by countless incredible life stories.
  • Your workplace will offer a friendly and laid-back atmosphere, liberating you from the usual pressures of a 9-5 routine. Each day, you’ll wake up with a genuine sense of happiness.
  • You won’t endure lengthy commutes in traffic just to reach your workplace. You’ll gain insight into the daily operations of a hostel and the intricacies of managing this type of establishment.
  • Your relationship with your “boss” will be one of camaraderie, collaboration, and teamwork.
  • Helping others will leave you with a profound sense of fulfillment.
  • If you venture beyond your home country, you’ll have the opportunity to practice, and perhaps even acquire, a new language.
  • Sharing a living space will teach you to be more organized with your belongings and cultivate a heightened consideration for your neighbors.
  • The money you would have spent on accommodation can now be redirected toward enriching experiences.

Negative points about working in a hostel

  • Sharing a room with others may be uncomfortable if you value privacy, which could become an issue over time.
  • You’ll need to adapt to saying goodbye to short-term guests you’ve grown fond of.
  • It can be challenging to disengage from work when you live at your workplace, so finding a work-play balance is crucial.
  • If you’re used to having your own personal space, finding moments of solitude and silence in a hostel may be more complex, but nearby parks or green areas can provide quiet corners for relaxation.