I am a one-way ticket free spirit, who is on a mission to spread positive vibes and live life to the fullest! I hope to inspire others to do the same!
First of all, let’s review what a hostel is, since some people hear the word “hostel” and think of the horror movie!:
A hostel is a type of budget-friendly accommodation, which usually offers both dormitory style as well as private rooms. Hostels are cheap options which cater specifically to young people and travelers looking for an affordable place to stay.
Depending on the place, hostels will usually offer different events, parties, excursions, family-style dinners and other social activities to their guests! You can easily meet new, like-minded travelers in the common areas, and will most likely make new friends from all around the world!
Hostels offer a great vibe and are an amazing option for accommodation if you are on a budget!
SO, now that you understand what a hostel is- let’s review how we can define a “hostel employee”. Well, a hostel employee is someone who works at a hostel, and who can hold one of a variety of jobs. A hostel employee may hold one primary role, or could be in charge of a combination of responsibilities.
I have worked at hostels all around the world, and my positions have included 1 or more of the following responsibilities:
-RECEPTION: handling check-ins/check-outs, welcoming guests, organizing sleeping arrangements and reservations, providing info on tours/things to do/places to eat/etc.
-CLEANING: tidying rooms, laundry, cleaning up after meals and events
-SERVICE: bartending, service and occasional help in the kitchen
-EVENTS: promotion, planning parties, leading bar crawls, leading booze cruises, mingling with guests and creating a social atmosphere for everyone
BASICALLY, you can assume that a hostel will need the same types of employees that can be found at a hotel, but will also need people to run the social side of things as well!
Although you won’t make a killing of a wage during your time as a hostel employee, you can expect to:
-minimize your cost of living
-make amazing new friends from all around the globe
-live in a prime location for free
-expect an amazing work environment with many fun times to be had!
Where I HAVE Worked
I have personally worked at hostels in Croatia, Portugal, Peru and Argentina.
Split, Croatia at the Adriatic Hostel
Brac, Croatia at the Funky Donkey Hostel
positions held: bar crawl leader, receptionist, promoting activities and excursions, recruiting guests from ferry port
Lagos, Portugal at the …ha…Rising Cock Hostel…haha
positions held: reception, promoting/planning/executing parties, bbqs, bar crawls, booze cruises
Mancora, Peru at the Loki del Mar Hostel
positions held: Bartender, assistance with event/party planning
Iguazu Falls, Hostel Inn
positions held: Event Coordinator/Party planner
Where in the World does this Job Exist?
You can find hostels jobs pretty much anywhere, particularly in places which appeal to backpackers and budget travelers!
Europe destinations during the summer time is a very busy season for backpackers, and December-April in Central and South America will also be hot-spots for finding work!
I have not traveled to SE Asia yet, but I imagine that you would be able to find hostel jobs there as well, especially during the peak seasons of each country or region! Simply google the peak travel season per your desired location, in order to get some insight as to when you expect a more likely demand for hostel employment!
There are obviously more hostels in bigger cities, or cities that are popular for young travelers. For example, there are hundreds of hostel jobs in a city such as Barcelona, but if Barcelona isn’t your scene, then what is the point of going for a job in that location?
I have always sorted out a LOCATION in which I wanted to live, and that was the deciding factor as to how I went about hunting for a job!
Try to pick a place you’d like to stay in for a while, and THEN begin the job search!
The above photo is the Funky Donkey Hostel, where I worked on the island of Brac, in Croatia! Although Brac is a tiny island with presumably few hostels, I was still easily able to sort out work. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
How to Get the Job
SO, you’ve decided that you want to work in a hostel- live the good life, make amazing friends, wake up every day to a fun work environment- sounds like a grand old time!
The key to success with finding work is to NETWORK and PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE!
The first thing that I advise you to do, is to figure out where you would like to go, and GO! This is not the sort of job that you need to research online, forward your professional CV and follow up with a fancy pants interview in business casual. This is the type of job that requires you to have a social, likable personality. It will help you tremendously if you “apply” and look for jobs in person! For a job which is so personality-dependent, it is better to show up in person, see the hostel, feel the vibe and charm the pants of the staff!
Despite this, you don’t necessarily HAVE to wing it completely; maybe you can send an email or book a place and mention that you would love to be a staff member if they are looking, in order to show your interest. Once you arrive, in person, that’s when you can seal the deal!
It will help you to get a job if you get to know the hostel staff and locals of the town you are staying in! If you demonstrate that you are a chill, responsible and easy-going fellow traveler in need of work, you will have any easier time securing a position. Try to prove that your personality will mesh with the guests and workers, and that you will be a good fit!
You can use the sites www.hostelworld.com and www.hostelbookers.com to search for hostels in a given city. Through these sites, you will find contact info, directions and links to websites for each hostel, so that when you are ready to begin your job search. Also, you can get an idea of each hostel’s character through the info and reviews on these sites. Is it a party place? Is it a quiet and cozy kind of place? Make sure that you are going for hostels that match the type of environment you’d like to work in!
Last but not least, although I have talked about the importance of finding a job in person…it is possible to sort one out beforehand with http://www.hostelmanagement.com/hostels. This is a search engine for hostel jobs, which allows you to find hostels which are looking to hire per searched location! I think that this is a good tool for people who are intimidated by my “wing-it” approach, but keep in mind that you will be living and working at this place, and you want to make sure that it suits what you’re looking for!
Even if you have not had any hostel job experience, many of the skills that you have learned from previous jobs are 100% relevant in making you an ideal employee.
If you have good people skills, you are ahead of the game! If you have worked in hospitality, restaurants/bars, anything relating to customer service- you most likely are able to interact with other people with a friendly, can-do sort of attitude! If you have had experience with reception, cash registers, cleaning or other directly related experience, make sure to mention that as well!
At the end of the day, your personality is the most important thing to show off while applying for hostel jobs; the duties themselves are fairly simple to learn, but in regards to your character, you will have to be the right fit to get the job. Show that you are happy, good-natured and fun, yet responsible and reliable as well.
Availability & Pay
I would say that in most places, hostel job availability goes hand in hand with the weather and the high/low seasons of each place. If you have a particular location in mind, look online to find out the peak season months. If you go there at the start of the season, or just before the start, you will probably have first pick for jobs, before the rest of the crowd shows up! If you show up during the middle of the peak season, you might have a hard time finding work, since all of the positions will most likely be filled at that point. Lastly, if you try to find work during the low season: 1. There may not be a demand for hostel employees, as the number of guests will drop dramatically in comparison to the peak travel season. 2. You may not want to spend time in a location during its low season, as it might be boring for you, or you might have to do with poor weather conditions.
Usually hostels offer employment in the form of accommodation, and free or discounted food/alcohol. Sometimes it is possible for an employee to get a wage, but don’t count on it. It is also sometimes possible to make commission from promoting/selling tickets to tours, excursions and other events, and tips if you are a bartender.
This is not the type of job to go for if you will need a legitimate wage- this is for someone who is:
-looking to extend their stay in a place that they love
-looking for a minimal cost of living while abroad
-looking to prioritize good times with fun people over a large paycheck
When you work in a hostel, you eliminate most of the expenses of traveling (accomodation, transportation, food)- so you are able to have a base for a bit, and have all of the benefits of staying in a hostel, without having to pay for it!
Also, you will likely get discounts at local bars, restaurants and shops. As a bar crawl leader, I was never paying for drinks for example!
Although I made basically no money during my experiences as a hostel employee, the value of receiving a free place to live, and to have the opportunity to work in this sort of environment was priceless! I had some of the most fun times of my life thanks to my hostel jobs!