HiHostels Blog

Engaging you, our guests

Summer is in full swing as we continue our journey in the 2017 UN Year of Sustainable Tourism (…and beyond) campaign by looking at various ways of engaging YOU, our guests, in the sustainable progress of our HI Hostels around the world. Last month, we tackled Our Communities – Giving back & building bridges, make sure to read the article to see how HI Hostels help create more sustainable communities in their host destinations.

In August, we look at:

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We believe our hostels are not just about having a place to stay, they are places for travellers to come together and share; not just rooms but also sharing in discovering new cultures as well as themselves. By facilitating intercultural exchange, we believe we open minds and hearts to a more tolerant world, making our hostels and mission more relevant than ever! We embrace the diversity of our guests and our host destinations and we wish you to thrive in a broad-minded world built on mutual understanding.

Furthermore, as a global membership organisation, we recognise our responsibility towards fighting climate change and wish to engage guests in the sustainable progress of our hostels. We do this by providing a wide range of activities, facilities, programmes, educational opportunities and information for you to explore and engage in.

By working on this topic in our global network of Hostels we address the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

SDGs our friends

This month we strive to answer questions such as: what forms of communication work best for engaging our guests in different hostels? What aspects (socio-cultural, environmental or economic) do guests find most important when travelling?  Guests staying at the HI Swiss Youth Hostels have rated sustainability as the third most important reason to select their hostels, what about the other HI Hostels?

How can HI Hostels around the world engage you, our friends? 

Here are a few examples:

bugs for breakfast Read more about the Bugs for breakfast initiative
Bugs for breakfast at Danhostel in Copenhagen

Given the major environmental challenges the world is facing, including climate change and misuse of natural resources, Danhostel has chosen to contribute to a better world  by using insects! Have you ever tried a super muffin with apple-apricot-almond and lesser mealworms?  We challenge you to try them out and let us know your opinion! What defines responsible and sustainable consumption in our day to day life?

Colombia - salsa nights

Read more about Salsa at El Viajero Hostels in Colombia

Salsa every day at El Viajero Hostels in Colombia

How better to experience the Colombian spirit and culture than free salsa classes… every single day? The El Viajero Hostels in Colombia offer this opportunity as a way for their guests to get to know and experience the local culture and meet other travellers. Azucar!

blog collage
Engaging guests at AIG Italy

The Italian HI Hostels offer several activities to engage their guests in cultural, social and environmental experiences when they travel in Italy. From alternative travelling experiences that gives you the opportunity to embark on a solidarity trip, to discover yourself through music and creative workshops, sea turtle recovery, sailing and responsible trekking and harvest of truffles. Are you ready to discover Italy and broaden your horizons together with new friends?


Read more about the Communal dinners

Communal dinners to try the Uruguayan gastronomy

The grill and the “asados” (barbecue) are an important part of the Uruguayan culture and social life. The HI Hostels in Uruguay offer communal dinners almost every night for you to get the authentic experience and meet fellow travellers. Don’t worry about the day or time of your arrival, the asados will be there for you!

Read more about Toda quarta feira
Cultural experience every Wednesday at HI Hostel 7 Goiânia

Wednesdays are special at HI Hostel 7 Goiânia in Brazil because they invite the community to showcase local arts and crafts, music, food & drinks and even tattoo artists for you to discover! Toda quarta feira, a weekly celebration at no cost for you!

This is what we are encouraging our HI Hostels to do:

  • Make sure to communicate your actions to your guests in order to encourage them to contribute to the sustainable progress of your hostel: a Sustainability Policy displayed at the hostel, an events wall, a traveller’s information board, eco-tips and concrete guidelines.
  • Create events and organize workshops that bring guests and locals together where they can meet one another and share skills.
  • Offer a wide range of mission-based events and activities for guests to attend at the hostel (e.g. communal dinners, quiz evenings, poetry reading, cultural evenings, music or movies powered by electrical bicycles, you name it!) Such events bring people together in a cheerful atmosphere and create guest connection.
  • When guests check in, encourage them to take part in the mission-based events happening at the hostel.
  • Advertise local experiences: community events, a local tour guide, the great restaurant at the corner or your favourite spot to watch the sunrise. In this way you will encourage a great relationship between guests and locals and will enhance your guests experience of your destination.
  • Educate guests on local traditions, customs and on appropriate ways to behave and dress in your community or sacred places.


Here are a handful of ways you make a positive difference through travel and staying in HI hostels – so book a hostel, pack your bags and get going:

 1. You help make this world a better place, one step at a time

A concert, a book release, a poetry night, a salsa evening, a communal dinner, a DIY toothpaste workshop or local food market – if you happen to be there just openly join the events and activities. You will not only get a glimpse of the local culture but you’ll meet other travellers, learn new eco-friendly ways of living, break down cultural barriers, engage with people from all over the world and create long lasting memories, guaranteed!

Our global in-hostel event Sleep for Peace takes place every year from the 21st to the 27th of September and helps to break down barriers, raise cultural awareness and get to the core of what unites us. Get ready to Sleep for Peace… and wake up to a better world! Visit the official Sleep for Peace Facebook page and see what events will be happening near you so you can join and celebrate peace and intercultural understanding!


2. You help HI Hostels become more environmentally friendly

Many HI Hostels take steps and initiatives to reduce their footprint through the efficient use of resources, food consumption, transportation, recycling etc. Be aware of the guidelines provided by the hostel and follow them wholeheartedly.

If you want to take a step further, simply donate a tiny amount (as little as £0.10, bargain!) to our HI Sustainability Fund when you book a hostel, and you’ll help HI Hostels reduce their carbon footprint through innovative CO2 emission-saving projects, as well as support high quality community projects in developing countries. 100% of the donations are going towards CO2 emission-saving projects, check out some of the great initiatives going on in the HI network. Through this donation you also help communities in Malawi, China and Peru improve their lifestyle (less indoor smoke, creation of jobs, etc.) through the provision of sustainable cooking equipment.

3. You build bridges through cultural understanding

Just stop for a minute to consider how powerful travel is. The very basic concept of hostelling is that it allows you to gain new perspectives over a shared meal, common area or room. Learning about something new – whether it’s cuisine or geo-political conflict – contributes to the tolerance and open-mindedness the whole world needs right now, in the light of major global conflicts and misunderstanding. 

4. You can give back by volunteering at our hostels around the world

There are dozens of opportunities for you to give back to the destination you are visiting.  Do you have a special talent that you would like to use educating young travellers? Would you like to learn and share in a great multicultural environment? Look for volunteering opportunities available in some of our hostels! Make sure you have the right working permit and offer a few hours of your precious time to contribute to the HI mission of building a more tolerant and inclusive society.

5. You, too, can become a responsible traveller

By staying with HI, an Affiliated Member of UNWTO and receiver of the Ambassador for Peace Award you become part of a global community of responsible travellers.

Keep up with our monthly tips for responsible travelling, the sustainable tourism through hostelling campaign and let us know about your hostelling experiences and sustainable actions your witness in your travels.

You haven’t had a hostelling experience this year? What are you waiting for?EXPLORE and let us know all about it!Hi_generic_banner_828X315_FB

Safe and RESPONSIBLE travels! 

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