Search below for answers to queries relating to general travel and advice about our hostels.
What is a hostel?
A hostel is good quality, sustainable accommodation that offers a comfortable night’s sleep in a friendly atmosphere at an affordable price. Hostels 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, lounge or 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.
What are the HI Standards and HI Quality & Sustainability (HI-Q&S)?
The HI 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&S, the HI Quality & sustainability Management System, complements the well-established HI 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&S 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&S logo – look out for it in the hostels you visit.
What type of facilities can I expect to find at a hostel?
Hostels are ideal for meeting new people. They are all different and unique, might find communal facilities such as a common room, self-catering kitchen, bar, restaurant, library, TV room and 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 hostel page.
Who can stay at a hostel? Is there an age limit?
HI hostels welcome everyone, without any discrimination. As long as you are curious and want to experience the world you will find a safe place away from home! There is no age limit and our hostels welcome solo travellers, friends, families, groups and more…
Specific arrangement can be made for you during your stay so always contact the hostel in advance or book as some hostels may have different rules or be full.
However, minors under the age of 18 will need to provide a permission from a legal guardian to stay unaccompanied in a hostel.
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 stay in a private room rather than a shared room.
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.
Can I bring my pet when I stay at a hostel?
Pets are only welcome in some hostels, this is for hygiene reasons and the comfort of all guests. Please check before making a booking by directly contacting the hostel.
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.
What about safety and security?
The safety and security of our guests is extremely important to us. All our hostels comply with their national rules and regulations as well as the HI Standards.
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 to have the adequate travel insurance in place, you can find out more with our partner World Nomards.
Do I need identification?
Yes, most hostels will require you to show a photo identification upon arrival. In doubt you can check with the hostel before your stay.
Do I need travel insurance?
We recommend that you always get adequate travel insurance before you leave on your travels. Our partner World Nomads offers HI members a discount on their insurance.
Where can I get directions to HI hostels?
If you need directions to get to your hostel, please use the information on the hostel page or contact the hostel directly.
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 please check with your hostel directly using the contact details on the hostel’s page.
Do I need a sleeping bag/bedding?
No, it is not permitted to use your own bedding in our hostels, this is for hygiene reasons. Bed linen will always be provided by the hostel and will either be included in the price or will be a small additional cost. This information will be given to you before you book.
Do I need to bring 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 if you are not sure.