What Are Hostels

Hostels provide friendly, inexpensive overnight accommodations for travelers. Hostelling International hostels assure travelers the utmost in quality standards including cleanliness, security and service.

Hostels offer dormitory-style rooms with separate quarters for men and women. Some hostels also have private family and couples rooms. All hostels provide a blanket and pillow. Linens are often included in the price, or available for rental.

Most hostels offer fully equipped self-service kitchens or cafeterias, dining areas, secure storage and common rooms for relaxing and socializing with other travelers. Some hostels have laundry facilities, travel libraries and concierge service. There are a few that even have hot tubs, swimming pools, barbecues and an ocean at its front door. Most urban hostels have secure 24-hour access and are handicapped accessible.

Our mission is "to help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling." The mission is accomplished through our extensive network of hostels offering a wide-range of programs and activities.

Click Here to view the video "What’s a Hostel".


Click here to view the hostel FAQ.

Hostel Guidelines

Each hostel in the HI-USA network follows a set of guidelines for a safe, comfortable experience and enjoyable stay.

  • A Government-issued driver’s license or photo ID is required at check-in.
  • HI membership is required of all guests. Guests without a membership have the option of either purchasing a full annual membership, or a temporary membership for the duration of their stay.
  • For the safety and comfort of their guests, hostels may refuse service to anyone for valid, nondiscriminatory reasons.
  • Neither HI-USA hostels nor hostel managers assume responsibility for theft or loss of personal property on hostel premises.
  • Hostels primarily serve educational and recreational travelers and may uniformly choose not to accept guests who live in the immediate area.
  • Hostels provide an alcohol and smoke-free environment; a designated smoking area may be provided.
  • Animals, excluding service animals, are not permitted. A parent, legal guardian or an adult leader of an organized group, such as a Girl Scout troop, church group or similar such organization, must accompany all hostel guests under 18 years of age.
  • Respect and tolerance for other guests is expected.
  • Criminal offences such as: consumption of illegal drugs, substance abuse, theft/stealing, vandalism/destruction of public property, gambling, fighting, and any other forms of criminal act or behavior not stated here; will be reported to the police.

Quality Standards

Quality Standards

Hostelling International's Assured Quality Standards program means you can rely on a consistent level of services and facilities wherever you stay.

The requirements of the Assured Quality Standards are checked through regular visits to hostels by the HI Standards team. Hostels are not given advance warning of a visit - so our inspectors have exactly the same experience as you! In addition, we conduct regular "mystery shopper" programs with budget travelers - these programs check that quality and customer service standards are met.

  • Welcome - hostels are open to all. You can join if you are not already a member, and you can make advance reservations. Plus you will have access to essential facilities if the hostel closes for a period during the day.
  • Comfort - a good night's sleep including a freshly-laundered linen (some international hostels may charge a small laundry fee along with the overnight charge), and sufficient washing/shower facilities. Some meals are available, along with self-catering facilities and a food store onsite or close by.
  • Cleanliness - the highest standards of hygiene wherever you travel.
  • Security - for you and your possessions, including lockers for luggage and valuables.
  • Privacy - in showers, washing areas and toilets. Most hostels provide single sex dormitories - although if requested, a mixed sex dormitory may be offered to people traveling together. Private rooms are also available at many locations and can be reserved in advance.