5 Things to Consider Before Working in a Hostel

5 Things to Consider Before Working in a Hostel

5 Things to Consider Before Working in a Hostel

When traveling the world on a budget, oftentimes the most expensive necessities of any trip are lodging and transportation. While there are many ways to save money on getting around (like taking the bus or using travel rewards miles for cheaper flights), most people are clueless on how to save money in the lodging category. Aside from sketchy hotels and sleeping on a stranger’s couch, working in a hostel is a great way to drop your lodging costs to zero and even make some travel money while you’re at it!

Before you jump in and book your own hostel working experience, make sure you have a solid understanding of what to expect. Here are 5 things you should consider before working in a hostel:


#1- Location

As the old real estate saying goes, it’s all about location, location, location. The same is true for hostels and choosing where to work. Do you prefer a hostel that is smack-dab in the middle of the action (like a city center) or somewhere far-off the beaten path? If you’re looking to see and experience as much of the local sights as possible, you’d be better off working in a hostel that is in a central location where it’s easy to get around. However, if you prefer a more relaxing and laid-back pace, look for hostels that take a bit longer to get to from the touristy areas.


#2- What’s in your contract?

More often than not you’ll have to sign a contract when you agree to work in a hostel in exchange for free room and board. Knowing what the fine print is before you sign is paramount to ensuring you’ll have the best possible experience. One of the big terms to watch out for is if there is a required length of stay. If you only planned out your budget for two weeks in Rio but your contract requires a minimum stay of two months, you might want to look elsewhere.


#3- It’s not all fun and games

When you agree to work in a hostel, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing- working. While some places might ask for a few hours of your time sitting behind the reception desk checking in backpackers, most hostels will put you to work. This can include changing bedsheets, cooking meals, grounds-keeping and any number of less-than-glamorous jobs. In addition, you’ll be tied down to that location for the duration of your stay, which can be quite upsetting when you’ve just met a beautiful traveler that wants you to join him or her on their next adventure- but you have to stay behind.


#4- Small vs. big

There are certainly advantages (and disadvantages) to working in both small hostels and larger ones. Smaller hostels tend to be less noisy and have fewer people coming in and out of them throughout all hours of the night, but tend to lack in amenities like stable WiFi or breakfast services. Larger hostels often have more fun activities to partake in (beer pong, anyone?) and better facilities, but can be much noisier and more people equals more work. No matter what size hostel you choose to work in, find the one that works with your personal travel goals.


#5- Privacy, please!

When you work and stay at a hostel, you’re often exchanging privacy for saving money. Anyone that has stayed in a hostel before will tell you that their biggest complaint is the lack of privacy, but it’s widely understood that if you want to stay somewhere for $6 a night, you might have to shack up with 12 of your new best friends in a room the size of a closet. Some hostels have single rooms available for a little more money but if you’re working there, you might have to settle for a dorm bed unless you negotiate it beforehand.

Working in a hostel is a fantastic means for anyone that wants to save some money and help out where they can. By keeping these 5 things to consider before working in a hostel fresh in your mind, you’ll ensure that you have a great experience and who knows- you might even have some fun while you’re at it!