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Two young travelers in a private room at a HI USA hostel. One sits on the edge of a full-zied bed tying his shoe; the other leans on his shoulder.

What is a Youth Hostel?

So, what is a hostel? A hostel is a type of accommodation that allows you to travel better, cheaper, and for longer, all while meeting new people. With the option of staying in shared dorms or a private room, you can spend or save as much as you want, and there’s always a communal kitchen where you can prepare your own meals, as well as common hangout areas. Hostels also usually offer activities for guests so they get to know each other and the destination they’re visiting a little better, making them good for solo travelers and people planning to visit many spots in one trip.

two young travelers in a hostel dorm room. One is on a top bunk bed and passes a book down to a friend who is sitting on the lower bunk.

At HI USA, the hostel experience is amplified so that travelers leave with a better appreciation of new people, places, and cultures. Through free in-house activities like welcome receptions, neighborhood walking tours, and group dinners, guests have many opportunities to get to know each other on a deeper level while also being immersed in local culture.

What is a HI USA hostel like?

guest dining room at HI San Diego downtown hostel

A portal to the rest of the world

With locations in major cities, small towns, and a couple of National Parks, HI USA hostels attract travelers from far and wide. From locals looking for weekend escapes and summer adventures, to international visitors adventuring their way across the country, there’s a healthy mix of people to meet in the hostel common spaces and during group activities. Unlike when you stay at a hotel, it’s easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger at a hostel. You’ll find that you’re able to shed a layer of your own personal bubble and make meaningful connections with people from different and diverse backgrounds and experiences.

A real taste of the local

a group of three young travelers sitting at a small round table covered with colorful tacos and cocktails

One of the best things about staying at a HI USA hostel is the chance to really experience a destination like a local. Thanks to dedicated staff and passionate volunteers who are always keen to share their off-the-radar secrets, and the organized activities that expose guests to local culture, you’ll feel more like a traveler than a tourist. Whether it’s a walking tour showcasing the hills of San Francisco,a cooking class that immerses you in Chinese culture, or welcome drinks in Manhattan’s largest private green space, you’ll leave with a better understanding of the destination.

A chance to grow

a group of four happy young travelers

HI USA also happens to be a non-profit organization, and our mission is to help create a more inclusive and tolerant world by inviting people to travel more and to travel consciously. Our signature programs give you the chance to do volunteer work,take part in unifying activities, or even travel to new countries, while our sustainability initiatives help make it easier to travel responsibly. We also recognize the importance of giving back to the communities where we’re located, whether it’s by just recommending the local burger spot, or opening our hostels as places for the public to gather. You can go above and beyond on your own travels by joining our programs when you’re in town, or you can even volunteer at a HI USA hostel in your home town so you can share your passion for your city while keeping connected to world travelers.