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Hostels are - in short - community-style accommodations for travel on the cheap.
Expanded Description:
History from Wikipedia

History from Wikipedia: 

"In 1912 in Altena Castle in Germany, Richard Schirrmann created the first permanent Jugendherberge or 'Youth Hostel' (now a trademark of the former International Youth Hostel Federation or IYHF). These first Youth Hostels were an exponent of the ideology of the German Youth Movement to let poor, city youngsters breathe fresh air outdoors. The youths were supposed to manage the hostel themselves as much as possible and do chores to keep the costs down and build character as well as being physically active outdoors. Because of this, many Youth Hostels closed (and still close) during the middle part of the day.

The idea rapidly spread overseas and eventually resulted in Hostelling International (HI), a non-profit organization composed of more than 90 different Youth Hostel associations representing over 4500 Youth Hostels in over 80 countries.

Some HI Youth Hostels cater more to school-aged children (sometimes through school trips) and parents with their children, whereas others are more for travellers intent on learning new cultures. However, while the exploration of different cultures and places is emphasized in many hostels, particularly in cities or popular tourist destinations, there are still many hostels providing accommodation for outdoor pursuits such as hillwalking, climbing, and bicycle touring and these are often small friendly hostels that retain much of the original vision and often provide valuable access to more remote regions.

Despite their name, in most countries membership is not limited to youth."


Although staying at a hostel might not appeal to all travelers, those who do choose a hostel over a hotel might do so for the following reasons:

PRICE - hostels tend to be considerably less expensive than hotels - especially for the single traveler - as they charge by the person

COMMUNITY - hostels are 'community-style' accommodations.   Staying at a hostel means sharing a room and bathroom facilities with other travelers.  Not unlike dormitory living, often there are common areas - kitchen and living - where you can prepare a meal or meet and visit with others staying in the hostel.   Some hostels still require that visitors perform some menial work (cleaning, chores) in exchange for being able to stay at the hostel, although this is now more the exception than the rule. 

CONVENIENCE - many hostels are situated in the heart of a city or town, close to public transportation, since many travelers that travel by foot, bicycle or rail may choose to stay at a hostel rather than a hotel..   Most hostels that are located outside a central area will provide free or low-cost transportation to and from their facility.

AMBIANCE - hostels are very 'social' places to stay.   It's not unusual to see guests sitting in the common room reading, playing board games, strumming a guitar or watching television together. 

In order for a facility to be a hostel it must:

1.  provide short-term accommodations for travelers

2.  provide bed rental in a dormitory-type accommodation

3.  provide shared bath facilities

4.  have 'common areas' such as kitchen and living room that can be used by all guests

5.  have a street address (would not fit in the 'Remote Backcountry Shelters' Category)

Some hostels may also provide private or ensuite accommodations, but they must have dormitory style facilities also in order to be considered.   Hostels may or may not have 'closed' hours (when guests may not be able to access the rooms).   Hostels can be independent or belong to an organization, as long as they do not restrict usage (some may charge more for non-members, but non-members can still stay there).     They can be independent or belong to an organization - as long as they clearly indicate on their signage that they are a 'hostel'.


 The following links are to websites that provide information and booking to hostels around the world.  This list is by no means definitive, but should provide you with a good starting point when looking for nearby establishments.   Be aware that many of the facilities listed are hotels and might not fall into the 'hostel' category.

Instructions for Posting a Hostels Waymark:
In order to waymark a hostel, please provide originally obtained coordinates and photographs.
- One photograph must be an outside image of the building (with the name and/or address clearly showing) in the photo. The additional photo has to have the name or sign if not visible on the building photo.
- Additional photographs (suggested) of inside the facilities would be helpful to other Waymarkers but, due to privacy concerns might not be possible.
Hostels usually have an open door policy (except during 'closed' hours) and would more than likely welcome you to go in and take a look around. Please try to give other WMers a good idea of what they might encounter when staying at this hostel. (dormitory, private rooms, common areas, kitchen facilities, etc.)
Instructions for Visiting a Waymark in this Category:
Please post your original photograph of the hostel, as well as any additional information you can provide that might help future Waymarkers and/or travelers. If you stayed overnight at this hostel, tell us about your visit, people you met, events surrounding your stay and your personal 'review' of the facility.
Category Settings:
  • Waymarks can be added to this category
  • New waymarks of this category are reviewed by the category group prior to being published
  • Category is visible in the directory
  • Address
  • Website (if any)
  • Age Restriction
  • Membership Restriction (reduced rate for members)
  • Work/chores required to stay here
  • Family rooms available
  • Single rooms
  • Amenities
  • Linens provided
  • Please rate this hostel for safety (1 = least safe, 5 = very safe)
  • Please rate this hostel for cleanliness (1 = dirty, 5 = very clean)
  • Price
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