11 ways that hostels give back

Last modified on July 20th, 2021 at 11:01 am

November 09, 2015

It’s always nice to know you’re doing something good by doing your favourite thing – exploring the world. Here are just a few of many ways that hostelling helps you make a valuable contribution to the places you visit, learn about different cultures, support community development and take care of the environment.

Phewph. It’s all in a few nights’ stay:

1.    Help to support local farms

You don’t just wake up and smell the coffee in Colombia’s Mi Mónaco hostel, you can take a short walk around the local coffee plantations for an affordable price, and learn about the bean’s culture and history whilst supporting local industry. If you’re after home-grown produce, many hostels grow their own herbs and vegetables to offer guests food for thought, and if you’re a Hostelling International member, you get a 15% discount to see how the best knitwear is made in Slovenia – through quality, soft Slovenian sheep wool.


2.    Boost projects to improve community vision

One of the projects HI supports is Bolivia’s Glasses for All initiative, which helps the half of the population who live rurally to access glasses – giving the visually impaired a whole new lease of life in the most undeveloped parts of the country. Book a night’s stay at a hostel on hihostels.com, and you contribute!

Happy with their new lenses: Glasses for all, Bolivia

Happy with their new lenses: Glasses for all, Bolivia

3.    Turn travellers into mentors for young people


San Fermin hostel

Travelling is all about pushing your own boundaries and connecting with those you wouldn’t otherwise have met, right? Stay in San Fermín Hostel in Madrid, Spain and you can get involved in their social centre activities – encouraging social integration of minority groups, discussing gender and supporting local youth.

You can make your trip to Norway a fulfilling one by becoming a social volunteer at a hostel, organising outdoor activities to stimulate a social environment for guests.

4.    Let everyone, regardless of means, see the world for less

img54641-Melbourne-Metro-YHA---Rooftop-Party FI

Melbourne Metro YHA

Hostels certainly do a good job of offering up opportunities to budget conscious travellers – and HI has got a few treats in the pipeline. Take part in our Busbuds Christmas Markets competition to get yourself on a trip round Europe for ten days for FREE.

If that doesn’t persuade you, the proof is in the impact report: take a look at what YHA England & Wales is doing to transform the lives of young people through hostelling here.

Hostelling International are now offering you the chance to buy eMembership without needing to book a night’s stay to do so – so you can enjoy 10% discount on accommodation and loads of other local offers and deals at a click, and wherever your curiosity takes you next.

5.    Create bonds between different cultures

Aside from the communal spaces working to spark up conversation, HI USA runs Cultural Kitchen, a meaningful education programme which allows young people to learn about a culture in their chosen destination, and work together to cook a traditional meal from their country of choice to share with people from all over the world.


If you’re interested in learning more about Korean culture and making new friends – see you next summer for the 2016 World Youth Rally in Korea, a global exchange initiative.

6.    Promote peace

Sleep for Peace 2014

Global Hostelling International project Sleep for Peace created a giant worldwide sleepover for hundreds of hostels in dozens of countries, holding collaborative art and crafts projects, documentary screenings, communal dinners and a bunch of other fun activities to promote peace through hostelling. *Aww*

7.    Start love stories

Why bother joining the latest dating website when you can go to a hostel and meet the love of your life? It might sound far fetched, but Sian and Marcus met at Australia‘s YHA Sydney Harbour and have now tied the knot – whilst Allison and Julian fell for each other at HI Point Reyes, California and now live together in Germany. You never know who you might bunk up with this season!

8.    Transform lonely wanderers into wonderful friends

It’s simultaneously one of the greatest, and for some most awkward moments. You sidle up to someone sitting on a beanbag/ cooking in the kitchen/ struggling with their backpack in the dorm room – and say hello. Wonderful things can happen from here, as you transform from socially reluctant strangers into fully fledged best mates.

9.    Act as eco warriors


Germany’s Youth Hostelling Association DJH has been lobbying for an environmentally conscious world for over a good 25 years. A great example of many ways hostels help the world through recycling, carbon reduction, educational projects, and creating an eco-legacy, read more about what DJH have done through the years here.

10.    Offer travellers a second home over the festive period

The festive season is considered a time for families and togetherness – and if you’re solo on the road, this could be a lonely time: enter a homely hostel ready to welcome you.

Rowardennan Lodge, on the banks of Scotland’s beautiful Loch Lomond, is opening its doors to play host for a Christmas to remember – inviting friends, families and individuals to come and share the festive spirit together for a relaxing break. Enjoy comprehensive packages of two or three nights from 24th December, by enquiring by email on making your booking. Both options include accommodation, breakfast and dinner as well as some fun bonuses during your stay.

11.  Think about the future of travel, now


Hostels won’t wait around for the world’s resources to shrivel up and travel to die out. They’re doing their bit to preserve the world, and you can do your bit too by voting in the HI Sustainability Fund competition – a handful of hostel associations going head-to-head in the hope of winning a cash prize to fund their own innovative green project.

Go ahead and cast your vote to save the world.

There you go – hostels help you to become superheroes just in time for the season of giving!

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2 Comments. Leave new

I am really interested to participate in social service and make people to aware of eco friendly atmosphere every part of the world.

This article is simply fabulous. It is very interesting to know about the fabulous services provided by hostels. Hostels are not mere places of student accommodation but a lot more valuable indeed!
Leong Siew

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