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What is hosteling?

What is hosteling?  

Your budget may be limited, but the quality of Hostelling International accommodation is not! Wherever you stay, we aim to make your visit as enjoyable as possible while offering excellent value for money. We take hostel standards and quality very seriously.

Hosteling is a special type of traveling. It is exciting and with full energy and great positive atmosphere, which makes travelling becomes like an adventure.

All hostel have their own atmosphere, but common for all is that hostels are social meeting point for people travelling, like yourself seeking new experiences and loves to interact with different kind of people with different background, culture and religion.

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What are hostels?   

Hostels are ideal places for individual travelers, families with kids and all kinds of groups (school, sports, organizations etc.) It is often a type of accommodation used by backpackers or young people who travel by impulse - going where they want, when they want taking advantage of the opportunities that comes their way, making their budget last as long as it is possible.

Hostels are less formal than other means of accommodations. The atmosphere is relaxed and you find facilities that guest may find friendships from all parts of the world. These facilities are guest kitchen, lounges, TV-rooms, laundry service room, bar etc.

The staff are local experts and gives useful tips to their guests. Sometimes they also arrange activities at the hostel or within the destination. As a guest, you have the choice to book at bed sharing room with other travelers or you may book your own private room.  

It is also common for hostels to have Information boards. These boards often show tips for what you could do at your destination, you may sign up for different activities, read about a staff favorite restaurant/pub or maybe post yourself at note asking for a travelling companion?

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Hostelling Internationals Assured Standards

Being part of Hostelling International as a member country our hostels are obliged to meet the internationally agreed Assured Standards for comfort in the hostel.

Hostelling International's well-established Assured Standards means you can rely on a consistent level of services and facilities wherever you stay.

All hostels connected to the HI national organizations are required to have in place regular inspection programs. In addition, the requirements of the Assured Standards Scheme are checked through visits to hostels by the HI Standards team.

We also conduct regular "mystery shopper" programs with budget travelers - these programs check that customer service standards are met.

Welcome - hostels are open to all. You can join if you are not already a member and you can make advance reservations. In addition, you will have access to essential facilities if the hostel closes for a period during the day.

Comfort - a good night's sleep (including the hire of freshly laundered linen if it is not included in the overnight charge), and sufficient washing/shower facilities. Meals are generally available, along with self-catering facilities and a food store nearby.

Cleanliness - the highest standards of hygiene wherever you travel.

Security - for you and your possessions, including lockers for luggage and valuables.

Privacy - in showers, washing areas and toilets. Most hostels provide single sex dormitories - although if requested, a mixed sex dormitory may be offered to people travelling together.

Youth Hostel Associations also take great care to operate hostels in ways sympathetic to the environment.

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HI-Q, the HI Quality Management System

HI-Q®, the HI Quality™ Management System focuses on hostel management and operations to improve your hostel experience. Hostel guests also help monitor hostel standards through mystery shopper exercises, and by rating their hostel stay.

You, our customers and global travelling community, are more important than anything. Because of this, we have developed a unique, systematic way of making your stay at our hostels the highest quality experience it can be.  We have put a unique framework of example process standards in place, so that hostels and associations can tailor them to their needs. This sets high standards throughout our services and products, ensuring that we have well trained staff, work with well-established strategies and benchmarks, with various methods of checking your satisfaction and continuously improving. We call this system HI-Q. It is the HI Quality method.

How it works

Our quality management starts with establishing your needs and wishes, and turning them into your ideal network of hostels with an excellent service delivery throughout. We also focus on finding the right ways to improve our measurement of your satisfaction. We start with the planning stage - helping you to find the perfect trip for you and ensuring that the reservation process is clear and simple. Following through to your stay - your experience of our welcome at reception, your impression of our hostel facilities, the cleanliness and maintenance of our kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and how you enjoy taking part in our hostel activities and meeting people.

Within HI-Q certified hostels and Associations, everyone has a direct involvement in your happiness. An amazing hosteling experience for you is a success for us.

Certification Levels

  • HI-Q light certification has been designed for smaller hostels.
  • Level 1 and Level 2 are for midsized and bigger hostels
  • Our Office module has been created to ensure delivery of all resources is undertaken with quality and efficiency.

HI-Q is a long-term program, which is now used in nearly 50 associations and in more than 500 hostels worldwide. Only those hostels, which successfully complete and meet the HI-Q requirements will be certified every 3 years, and are able to display the distinctive HI-Q logo:

Look out for HI-Q hostels when booking your next trip.


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HI-Q & S - HI's Quality & Sustainability Certified Hostels

HI-Q&S (Hostelling International Quality & Sustainability) stands for a commitment to provide an experience of high quality, with a positive effect on local economy, communities and the environment. The accreditation is based on assessment criteria aiming to: demonstrate effective sustainable management; maximize social and economic benefits to the local community, cultural heritage and environment and minimize negative impacts; conserve biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes. The HI-Q&S standards engage hostellers in a viable, equitable and bearable way of travelling that supports HI’s mission. The HI-Q&S standards are also recognized by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council).

See the audit list for this label.

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Customer ratings, comments and travel tips

After a hostel stay, each guest is invited to give feedback on their experience – and their comments/ratings are published directly on the relevant hostel page of Along with ratings, we also ask customers to share their tips about things to see and do around the hostel. Help other travelers – remember to rate your stay whenever you visit an HI hostel!

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