Hostel FAQs - Hostel Questions Answered | HI USA

Hostel Frequently Asked Questions

A HI USA hostel is a diverse community of travelers, united by a spirit of discovery. We share a passion for travel, and a desire to come together to learn more about ourselves, and each other, for a more tolerant world.

What is it like in a HI USA hostel?
When you stay at a HI USA hostel you enter a community designed to bring people together. There are shared spaces where you can meet and get to know travelers from all over the world. Comfortable, welcoming common areas to sit, relax and connect, kitchen and dining areas to prepare a meal and eat with new friends, and fun activities and events that bring travelers and the community together to inspire a deeper understanding of the people that you meet and the place that you are visiting.

What are the accommodations like?
There is no ‘typical’ HI USA hostel - each hostel is unique and has its own personality and style. The common theme is the quality of the accommodations for our travelers.
Guests can choose dormitory style accommodation in male, female, or coed rooms, and most hostels have private rooms as well. Beds are typically bunk style and very comfortable, with free secure storage, charging stations and, of course, free WiFi! If you are traveling with friends and want to stay together we can try and make sure that happens. Our hostels often have a variety of different sized dorms, so when you book you can choose the room type that suits you best!

Where are HI USA hostels?
HI USA has over 50 hostels in historic urban buildings, converted mansions, and reinvented lighthouses, all across the country. Our hostels are in major cities like New York, but you will also find hostels in smaller towns, rural areas, points of interest, national parks, along with mountainous regions and coastal shores. A list of all of our hostels can be found here.

HI USA is a non-profit, what does that mean?
As a non-profit, HI USA’s purpose through our travel based experiences and programs is to inspire in our travelers a greater understanding of people, places and cultures for a more tolerant world. All monies made by HI USA are reinvested into providing transformative, travel based experiences and programs for future hostellers. We do not distribute dividends to investors or stockholders.

Are hostels just for young people?
We welcomes visitors of all ages. While the majority of our hostel guests are between 18 and 30 years of age, seniors, families and groups also enjoy using our hostels across the United States and around the world.
A parent, legal guardian or an adult leader of an organized group must accompany all hostel guests under 18 years of age.

What does it cost to stay in a hostel?
HI USA hostels are affordable to allow more people to travel. In a big cities like New York and San Francisco, hostels will usually run $39-$79 per night for a dorm bed. Smaller and medium size hostels can cost $26-$66 per night for a dorm bed. Rates vary by destination and can increase during special events, so please start your travel planning here.

Do I have to be a member to stay at a HI USA hostel?
Yes, you need to be a member of Hostelling International to stay at a HI USA hostel. If you are not a member you have the option of either purchasing a full annual membership, or a daily membership during your stay. A HI membership issued by any HI or YHA association is valid at all HI hostels worldwide, including HI USA hostels.
To ensure that you always have access to the HI global network, along with the membership related discounts and benefits, we suggest that you become a member before you travel.

I’m traveling alone, what can expect?
A lot of our guests are solo travelers, and they choose a HI USA hostel because we have free events and tours designed to not only let you explore the destination, but also meet other guests. Many lifelong friendships start in hostels!

Do I have to make a reservation to stay at a hostel?
Although not required, hostel reservations are always advised to avoid disappointment, particularly during the summer months and holidays. Reservations are always recommended for private rooms and groups.

Do hostels have kitchens?
Yes, HI USA hostels offer kitchens that hostellers are welcome to use. Our kitchens are typically equipped with basic cooking utensils including pots, pans, and dishes, and a place to store your food. Hostel kitchen and dining areas are a great meeting place where you can prepare a meal and eat with new friends, or sit around and talk with fellow travelers comparing travel notes.

Do hostels allow alcohol?
Some HI USA hostels have onsite cafes that serve beer and wine, and some host events where beer and wine is served along with non-alcoholic beverages. You should check with the hostel that you are visiting to see if they serve alcohol.

How can I make a group reservation?
All HI USA hostels can accommodate groups, subject to availability. However, we know from experience that each group is unique and therefore a little extra care and attention may be required when it comes to arranging accommodations and itinerary planning. We can connect you directly with the staff at the destination hostel to ensure that we have all your needs covered. Learn more