How to Find Work in Hostels (Working and Travelling Abroad)

Have you ever wanted to travel around the world while saving money, picking up new skills, and meeting new people?

Look no further, because we’ve put together all the information you need to find out exactly how to snag one of the many hostel jobs out there to fulfill your vagabond dreams. 


What Is a Hostel?

A hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation, usually offering both dormitory-style rooms as well as private rooms.

Hostels are a cheap option that mainly caters to youngsters, travelers, and backpackers that are on a budget, and looking to meet new people. 

Why Should You Get a Hostel Job?

A hostel job comes with many benefits when you’re a world traveler. 

Firstly, working at a hostel keeps you on your toes by offering you an exciting and chilled-out work environment with a relaxed pace.

Secondly, each day is an unexpected opportunity to meet inspiring, like-minded travelers who share your love for adventure.  

Lastly, a hostel job in exchange for free accommodation is a great way to cut down on costs during your world travel plans. 

Different Hostel Jobs

A hostel employee can hold a variety of jobs.

These are the most common jobs you can expect to hold when working in a hostel:

1. Bartending & Serving 

2. Event Planner

3. Tour Guide

4. Cleaner

5. Cook

6. Receptionist


How to Get a Hostel Job

Getting a job at a hostel is fairly easy, provided you’re looking at the right places and networking regularly. 

The three main ways to get a hostel job are: 

1. Go in person and have a word with the manager.

2. Find out about new openings and opportunities through word of mouth.

3. Search for openings through online platforms that post about job opportunities. 

Applying in Person

In the digital age, it may seem counterproductive and a waste of time to physically step into a hostel and inquire about any available positions. 

However, this strategy is pretty likely to find you a job in the hostel and backpacker lifestyle. 

Most hostels are well accustomed to having a constantly-rotating stream of backpackers stopping in to look for jobs.

Furthermore, doing so will show the hostel staff that you have an outgoing personality with leadership qualities. 

Asking Around and Word of Mouth

If you are a seasoned traveler, chances are that you’ve stayed in plenty of hostels and are used to the travel lifestyle. 

The next time you are a hostel guest, use your sociable personality to your advantage.

Ask your roommates or the front desk receptionist whether they know of any good hostels where you may find a job. 

You’d be pleasantly surprised at how well-connected the hostel community is, and how easy it is to get an opportunity by meeting new people and asking around. 

Applying Through Online Platforms

You may also use online sites that post about hostel job openings such as Worldpackers, HelpX, or Workaway.

These platforms are online services that show you all the available hostel jobs in the country or region you’ll be visiting.

They then let you upload a resume which allows you to reach out directly to hostels with available jobs. 

Worldpackers seems to be the quickest, easiest, and safest platform to use as it comes with insurance- which tends to be a rare feature.

What Qualifications Do You Need?

Even if you do not have any previous experience working a hostel job, many skills that you may have acquired from previous jobs will be relevant in making you an ideal employee.

If you have worked in hospitality or customer service, you are most likely able to interact with others in a friendly manner. 

At the end of the day, your personality speaks volumes when applying for a hostel job. 

Hence, it’s a good idea to show that you have a good-natured and fun attitude, yet you are reliable and have a responsible attitude as well. 

Looking for An Alternative To Staying in a Hostel?

Don’t think your cut out for staying in a hostel? If you prefer a little more peace and quite you might want to look for some alternatives to hostels. When I travel I like to use house sitting for free accommodation.

Not only is it waaaay cheaper than hostels, you get to look after incredible homes. One week it could be a penthouse in NYC and the next a beachfront home in Mexico.

Are Hostel Jobs Available Everywhere? 

You are likely to find hostel jobs anywhere, particularly in places that appeal to backpackers and budget travelers.

Availability usually goes hand-in-hand with the weather and the season.

Europe during summer time and December to April in Central and South America will be busy seasons for backpackers, and hot spots for finding hostel jobs.

If you are interested in traveling to Southeast Asia, the peak season is the best time for finding work.

That said, picking out a location and going there at the start of the “peak” season will probably allow you to have the first pick for jobs before the rest of the crowd shows up.


How Much Do Hostels Pay?

Hostels usually offer free accommodation in exchange for employment, and sometimes even free or discounted alcohol. 

It is possible to make a commission from promoting and selling tickets to tours, excursions, and other events but it’s best not to count on it! 

Hostel jobs are mainly for someone wanting to extend their stay in a place that they love, or looking for a minimal cost of living while abroad.

Tips for Working at a Hostel

Here are some tips for what to expect when working hostel jobs: 


Similar to hospitality jobs, you’ll be rostered and expected to work a certain shift for a specified amount of time.

This can be daily or weekly shifts.   

Having Time off to Explore

Despite scheduled shifts, working at a hostel is a pretty laid-back gig.

Don’t worry about not being able to explore or dive into the culture of the city.

Chances are you’ll get a couple of days off in a row to explore your host city or check out a neighboring one.

Meeting Loads of New People

You can expect to make lifelong friends and have wild experiences with fellow travelers when working at a hostel. 

This is also the most bittersweet aspect of the job.

You may find that the hardest part about working in a hostel is saying goodbye to those same people. 

Is Working at a Hostel for You?

Though working at a hostel may sound like a lot of fun at first, this lifestyle is not for everybody.

Considering whether you have the following personality traits will be a good way to determine if you should pursue working at a hostel: 

1. An Outgoing Personality 

With most hostel jobs, you will most definitely have to be social and friendly the majority of the time.

If you love to start conversations, understand customer service, have social skills, and are always up for a new activity, then working at a hostel will be a great fit for you.

However, if you’re more of an introvert and tend to feel drained by constantly being around people, then a hostel job may not be for you.

2. A Calm Attitude 

Being relatively laid back and not easily stressed is one of the key personality traits to thriving in a hostel environment.

Every day is a new adventure in a hostel, plans can switch on a dime and you may even encounter unruly guests every now and then.

Being calm and not sweating the small stuff is key, as you may have to deal with unexpected situations and guests every now and then.

3. Needing Little Personal Space 

If you’re someone who needs a lot of personal space, then the hostel lifestyle is probably not for you.

It is likely that you will not have a lot of room to yourself.

You’ll probably be sleeping in a dorm, being part of every social activity, and sharing a bathroom and kitchen space with other staff and guests. 

Traveling to another country and working at a hostel can sound overwhelming and daunting at first. 

However, it can also be a wonderful experience if the hostel lifestyle is for you. 

By taking into consideration your personality traits and what to expect when working in a hostel abroad, be rest assured that you will thrive in a hostel setting during your travel plans. 

Author: Britt

I am Britt. I have been house-sitting and pet-sitting for the past 7 years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats 1 turtle, and 1 rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.

The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been extraordinary.

Through house-sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters and Trusted House Sitters, I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters. This unique way of living has allowed me to save money on accommodation, explore new cultures and meet new people.

Being a member of these platforms has broadened my horizons and opened doors to short- and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well-maintained.

I get many questions about how to start as a housesitter, so if you have any questions, please reach out! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Jay and me here!

Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house-sitting community on Facebook.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Me (Britt) House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence, France

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