Jump to: navigation, search

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, and purchased 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

Hostel Groups