A hostel is a form of low-cost, short-term shared sociable lodging where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed in a dormitory, with shared use of a lounge and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex and have private or shared bathrooms. Private rooms may also be available, but the property must offer dormitories to be considered a hostel. Hostels are popular forms of lodging for backpackers. They are part of the sharing economy. Benefits of hostels include lower costs and opportunities to meet people from different places, find travel partners, and share travel ideas. Some hostels, such as in India or Hostelling International, cater to a niche market of travelers. For example, one hostel might feature in-house social gatherings such as movie nights or communal dinners, another might feature local tours, one might be known for its parties, and another might have a quieter place to relax in serenity, or be located on the beach. Newer hostels focus on a more trendy design interior, some of which are on par with boutique hotels. Some may cater to older digital nomads, global nomads, and perpetual travelers that prefer slightly more upmarket private rooms or a quieter atmosphere.
Many hostels are locally owned and operated, and are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants than hotels. Hostels may offer long-term lodging to guests for free or at a discount in exchange for work as a receptionist or in housekeeping.
There are approximately 10,000 hostels in Europe and approximately 300 hostels in the United States. The typical guest is between 16 and 34 years old, although it can vary depending on the country.
In addition to shared kitchen facilities, some hostels have a restaurant and/or bar. Washing machines and clothes dryers are often provided for an additional fee. Hostels sometimes have entryways for storing gear. Most hostels offer lockers for safely storing valuables. Some bare-bones hostels do not provide linens. Some hostels may have a curfew and daytime lockouts, and some, albeit few, require occupants to do chores apart from washing and drying after food preparation.
A mobile hostel is a temporary hostel that can take the form of a campsite, bus, van, or a short-term arrangement in a permanent building. They have been used at large festivals or trips where there is a shortage of lodging.
In some cities, hostels reported a higher average income per room than hotels. For example, in Honolulu, Hawaii, upscale hotels reported average daily room rates of $173 in 2006, while hostel rooms brought in as much as $200 per night, for rooms of eight guests paying $25 each. Even during the financial crisis of 2007–2008, many hostels reported increased occupancy numbers at a time when hotel bookings were down.
A 2013 study in Australia showed that youth travel was the fastest-growing travel demographic and that the hostel industry was growing at a faster rate than the hotel industry. It showed that youth travel can lead to higher overall spending due to longer trips than traditional vacations. In New Zealand, backpackers hostels had a 13.5% share of lodging guests/nights in 2007.
Guests are advised to use etiquette due to issues with communal lodging including
In August 1909, Richard Schirrmann, a teacher in Germany, first published his idea of inexpensive accommodation for youth travel after leading a school camping trip that was derailed by a thunderstorm. Schirrmann received considerable support and opened a makeshift hostel for hikers in the school in which he taught.
On June 1, 1912, Schirrmann opened the first hostel in Altena Castle. The original hostel rooms are now a museum.
Schirrmann served in World War I and after observing a Christmas Truce on the Western Front in December 1915, he wondered whether "thoughtful young people of all countries could be provided with suitable meeting places where they could get to know each other". In 1919, he founded the German Youth Hostel Association.
By 1932, Germany had more than 2,000 hostels recording more than 4.5 million overnights annually. The International Youth Hostel Federation (now Hostelling International) was founded in October 1932. It is now an organization composed of more than 90 hostel associations representing over 4,500 hostels in over 80 countries. These hostels cater more to school-aged children, sometimes through school trips, and families with school-aged children.
In 1936, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the honorary president of AYH (now Hostelling International USA). John D. Rockefeller III was a proponent of hostels and was president for several years.
During World War II, many hostels in Europe were temporarily shut down or placed under the control of the Hitler Youth.
In the 1960s and 1970s, hostelling prospered.
The industry declined during the 1970s energy crisis.
Hostels continued to grow during the financial crisis of 2007–2008 in part due to their cost appeal.
After the Great Recession, the industry grew rapidly in New York City, Rome, Buenos Aires, and Miami. However, a 2010 law curbed the growth of hostels in New York City.
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. Facilities provided inside a hotel room may range from a modest-quality mattress in a small room to large suites with bigger, higher-quality beds, a dresser, a refrigerator, and other kitchen facilities, upholstered chairs, a flat-screen television, and en-suite bathrooms. Small, lower-priced hotels may offer only the most basic guest services and facilities. Larger, higher-priced hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, a business center with computers, printers, and other office equipment, childcare, conference and event facilities, tennis or basketball courts, gymnasium, restaurants, day spa, and social function services. Hotel rooms are usually numbered to allow guests to identify their room. Some boutique, high-end hotels have custom decorated rooms. Some hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. In Japan, capsule hotels provide a tiny room suitable only for sleeping and shared bathroom facilities.
Inns are generally establishments or buildings where travelers can seek lodging, and usually, food and drink. Inns are typically located in the country or along a highway; before the advent of motorized transportation they also provided accommodation for horses.
Lodging refers to the use of a short-term dwelling, usually by renting the living space or sometimes through some other arrangement. People who travel and stay away from home for more than a day need lodging for sleep, rest, food, safety, shelter from cold temperatures or rain, storage of luggage and access to common household functions. Lodging is a form of the sharing economy.
Capsule hotel, also known in the Western world as a pod hotel, is a type of hotel developed in Japan that features many small bed-sized rooms known as capsules. Capsule hotels provide cheap, basic overnight accommodation for guests who do not require or who cannot afford larger, more expensive rooms offered by more conventional hotels.
A dormitory is a building primarily providing sleeping and residential quarters for large numbers of people such as boarding school, high school, college or university students. In some countries, it can also refer to a room containing several beds accommodating people.
A boarding house is a house in which lodgers rent one or more rooms on a nightly basis, and sometimes for extended periods of weeks, months, and years. The common parts of the house are maintained, and some services, such as laundry and cleaning, may be supplied. They normally provide "room and board," that is, some meals as well as accommodation.
A ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese inn that typically features tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner. Ryokan have existed since the eighth century A.D. during the Keiun period, which is when the oldest hotel in the world, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, was created in 705 A.D. Another old ryokan called Hōshi Ryokan was founded in 718 A.D. and was also known as the world's second oldest hotel. Such inns also served travelers along Japan's highways.
Green Tortoise Adventure Travel is an American long-distance tour bus company founded by Gardner Kent in mid-1973 and based in San Francisco, California. It provides tours in North America, mostly within the United States. It operates a bus line, and hostels in Seattle and San Francisco. The company caters particularly to backpackers, both from the U.S. and abroad.
Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one's back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often an extended journey, and may involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts, widely found in Europe, are rare. In New Zealand, hiking is called tramping and tents are used alongside a nationwide network of huts. Hill walking is an equivalent in Britain, though backpackers make use of a variety of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Trekking and bushwalking are other words used to describe such multi-day trips.
A flophouse or dosshouse is a place that offers very low-cost lodging, providing space to sleep and minimal amenities.
Hostelling Scotland is part of Hostelling International and provides youth hostel accommodation in Scotland. As of January 2022 the organisation represents 58 hostels: 31 run by Hostelling Scotland and 27 affiliates.
Disney's Beach Club Resort is a beach-themed deluxe resort at the Walt Disney World Resort. It opened on November 19, 1990. The resort is owned and operated by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
A hostal is a type of lodging very common in Spain and Hispanic America. Hostals tend to be cheaper than hotels. They normally have a bar, restaurant or cafeteria where drinks and food are sold to guests and locals alike.
The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, food and drink service, event planning, theme parks, travel and tourism. It includes hotels, tourism agencies, restaurants and bars.
A gîte is, typically, a holiday rental home in France, but there are many interpretations of the term 'gîte'. They range from a gîtes d'etape, a hostel, for walkers and cyclists, to a gîte rural, a holiday home in the country available for rent, often an accessory dwelling unit. The term gîte originally meant quite simply a form of shelter. Gîtes d'etape, which resemble mountain huts, or youth hostel, usually provide meals and have dormitory accommodation. They are found along Grande Randonnée long distance trails. The holiday homes type are fully furnished and equipped for self-catering. Some owners may also provide meals.
In a building or large vehicle, like a ship, a room is any enclosed space within a number of walls to which entry is possible only via a door or other dividing structure that connects it to either a passageway, another room, or the outdoors, that is large enough for several people to move about, and whose size, fixtures, furnishings, and sometimes placement within the building or ship support the activity to be conducted in it.
Jumbo Stay is a hostel/hotel located inside a decommissioned Boeing 747-200 aircraft at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden. It has 33 rooms, 76 beds, and officially opened in January 2009.
YHA Ltd, trading as YHA Australia, is a not-for-profit of members trading corporation providing hostel and other accommodation, travel and associated service in Australia. It is a member organisation of Hostelling International.
The Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI) is an organisation providing youth hostel accommodation in India. It is a member of the Hostelling International federation.
The German Youth Hostel Association or DJH is a not-for-profit, registered association. It was founded in 1919 to create an organized network of affordable and safe accommodation away from home for travelling school and youth groups and individuals all over the country. Today, the 438 youth hostels in the association still cater to school and youth groups but are also open to anyone else looking for an alternative to hotels - families, backpackers, business travellers, etc. Through the state (Bundesland) associations it is the representative of the 438 youth hostels in Germany and thus the largest member of the international youth association, Hostelling International (HI). The headquarters has its seat in Detmold and is divided into 14 state associations and 178 local and county volunteer associations. It has about 2,38 million members.