In Germany in 1909, schoolteacher Richard Schirrmann had the idea to create a network of budget accommodation options across the country to be used by school groups or older, independent travellers. The first permanent youth hostel, Altena Castle, was established in a medieval castle in western Germany in 1912 and still operates today. The International Youth Hostel Federation, known today as Hostelling International (HI), was established in 1939.
Hostels are increasingly going boutique, with wifi, movie theaters, pizza nights, private rooms and swimming pools.
- Web Reservations International (WRI) has a virtual monopoly over online hostel booking. They own Hostelworld.com, Hostels.com and purchased HostelBookers.com in 2013. WRI is owned by private equity firm, Hellman and Friedman. The best advice may be to book directly with the hostel involved.
- Hostelling International - formerly known as International Youth Hostel Federation, Hostelling International is the federation of more than 70 National Youth Hostel Associations in more than 80 countries which have over 4,000 affiliated hostels around the world.
Working in a Hostel
For nomads low on cash, working at a hostel can be a great way to save some money. Focus on small, local places. The bigger the hostel, especially if part of hostel chains, the more likely it is that they'll want to go through a more traditional hiring process and require the required visas. A few sites actually specialize in connecting people with short term jobs in hostels worldwide.
Booking a Hostel Bed
Large hostel Booking Sites
Smaller Independent Booking Sites
- Hostels Club -
- Go Mio - More than 5.000 hostels and budget accommodation.
- Wotif was launched in 2010. It sells accommodation, flights and packages online in more than 69 countries.
- Budget Places -
- Late Rooms -
- Generator Hostels - Primarily European.
- St. Christopher's Hostels - Primarily UK based, but increasingly in Western Europe.
- Nomads Hostels - Offers hostels and tours for backpackers primarily in Australia and New Zealand but also several other countries.
- Loki Hostels - Based in Peru and several other South American countries.
- Vendanta Wakeup = Based in India.
- Base Backpackers = Hostels in New Zealand and Australia.