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How to find a hostel job

How to find a hostel job

Hostel Jobs

Hostel jobs are some of the most sought after traveler jobs because they are flexible, informal, offer a consistent place to sleep, and are most importantly fun.  You will have the opportunity to meet people from around the world, and get the chance to learn more about a city or region by remaining for a longer period of time. Securing a good hostel job is not impossible it just takes a little determination, effort,  and sometimes a grassroot approach.

Before I begin, I have compiled a list of the most desirable skills that I can come up with for finding a hostel job.

Good Skills to have before a job search

On a CV:

  • Speaking Additional Languages – No you do not have to be fluent in 3-4 languages, but have a strong, preferably usable, second language and/or maybe be able to get by with some others.  It is a good skill to have in this business because travelers come from everywhere.  Communication is key.
  • Relevant work experience – Relevent work experience is very helpful when you are trying to get a hostel job.  Anything that can stand you apart from others by showing that you can handle general responsibilites and handle money.
  • Well-Traveled – This skill is helpful, but not essential.  It demonstrates to the hostel manager that you know how to deal effectively with other cultures with ease by making them feel welcome and comfortable.

Desirable Personality Traits:

  • Outgoing
  • Hospitable
  • Open-minded
  • Flexible
  • Communication
  • Good Work Ethic

In my experience these skills, both personality traits and more tangible job skills are extremely beneficial in attaining a job at a hostel.  If you possess any combination of these skills then there is a good chance that you can find a hostel job with some ease.  Now, I will offer my 4 Step approach to finding a hostel job.

4 Step approach to find a hostel job

Step 1: Make a CV.  In order to get hired in the rest of the world, people use CV, or Curriculum Vitaes, to demonstrate their skills sets, work, and education experience.  To Americans, a CV is similar to a résumé except the format and length are slightly different.  Find a good template in Microsoft Word or on the internet, combine your skills list, and write it out.  A well-written CV will help greatly with finding a job.

Step 2: Check websites that are known for listing both formal and informal jobs.  Websites like Craigslist,, loquo, or others.  Most importantly check or, both have tons of listings and openings.  Although be advised that the competition is more fierce.  HelpX is also a good site that usually has many opportunities, but generally they are all work-exchanges, which means no pay for your work.

Step 3: If you have no success with these sites, you are going to have to be a little innovative.  My advice, take out a piece of paper. Then, go to either or type in the city name(s) that you would like to work in.  Next, write down all of the hostel names that look like places that you would be interested in working at.  Once you have finished, type each name into an internet search engine, go to their personal website, and get their hostel email address.  When you get a comprehensive list together, create an email template.  Be sure to be formal, inclusive, and precise in what you are asking them for.  Basically just ask if they are hiring or foresee any job openings.

Step 4: Wait.  I know that is kind of lame, but sometimes it takes a little time for hostels to get back to you.  Some deals offered may be better than others, so if you have multiple options compare.  Treat it as you would with a normal job.

I would hope that if you are determined and dedicated, you will easily find at least a work exchange position to aid in your travels.

Additional Thoughts on Job Searching

My strongest three tips for anyone looking for a hostel job are:

  1. Start Early
  2. Be Flexible
  3. Persevere

Do not expect to show up at a busy beach town in the middle of the summer and find something.  It could happen, but is not likely.  If you want to head to Europe for example, then the best times are in April and May.  Most good jobs are taken up by June and July.  A good rule of thumb is to go to the place you want in middle to late spring locally.  Also, be sure to be open to the idea of working in a different town or area if you cannot find something exactly where you want.  Lastly, stick with it.  It is a bit difficult and time consuming, but the experience will pay off.

Two additional considerations for the event if you have trouble finding a hostel job are:

  1. Take a volunteer, or work-exchange, position first, and then keep looking for a better opportunity.  At least this way your budget will not get eaten alive by constantly paying for accommodation elsewhere.
  2. The more local the hostel, the better. Chain hostels, like big businesses, often have a chain of command,  interview and hiring process, that prohibit them from hiring people on the spot.  You will need to jump through a few hoops to work with a chain hostel.  Your best bet is to stick with smaller, or at least more unique hostels.

On a side note as I conclude, be aware that by seeking employment abroad you are going to be subject to local laws.  Although many people find employment in the grey area of work-exchange and volunteer positions, many positions, even volunteers may at times need proper documents.  Do your homework and you should be fine.

Hopefully, you found this article interesting and useful.  Please feel free to read my other articles if you like.

Additional Articles

Choosing a Hostel

Traveling through Spain



  1. Colby Martin via Facebook

    You’ve worked in one before?

  2. There are a lot of opportunities to work in hostels. Mostly volunteer, but you can live for free!

  3. Hey Andy, working for your keep is a great way to get around work visa issues. A lot of hostels list their work exchange requirements on their websites but even if they don’t that doesn’t mean they aren’t receptive to the idea. Often just staying a few nights as a paying customer and getting your face known is the best way to land these types of jobs. And, as you suggest in your post, a paid job can sometimes result from volunteering.

    We’ve put together a list of 300 or so hostels (not yet published but it will be on our The Working Traveller blog on April 18) around the world that accept volunteers. From our research Lisbon, Istanbul and Talinn (lots of party hostels) are good cities to try while the BBH network lists loads of jobs across New Zealand on their site. I would also recommend and Staydu alongside your suggestion of HelpX.

  4. There is another new alternative which holds a list of farm and hostel exchanges, that are based in Ireland.

  5. Any non-paid membership sites in there besides hostelmanagement?

  6. Thanks for your reply!

    workaway is fee based membership, hosteljobs is somehow connected to hostelmanagement(I’m using both) loquo is for spain and gumtree for wht i see for uk. I found a website that seems to be new it is free and they match volunteer proposals to your profile. I am looking for work exchange opportunities in Brazil as it is where I am right now, thankfully I found a few, I also sent an email to every hostel i found in rio de janeiro and paraty, and surprisingly enough out of 50 or so I got like 10 responses, and now i get to choose to which hostel i’ll be working..

    • I am not familiar with, but I will have to check it out. Glad that the email trick worked for you. It is usually fruitful. Best of luck with your choice. Hope it is a good one! Enjoy Rio

  7. Hi Andy! 🙂
    Thanks for such a great article!
    I’m a first year Spanish and Translation student at a uni in UK. I am heading to Spain this summer to do whatever it takes (hostel work, work-exchange etc) just to stay there for the whole three months. My main goal is to improve my Spanish. Your article is my starting point to my search for the hostel work.
    Thanks again.
    Take care.

    P. S. You may want to add Europass website to your step no.1 CV writing advice. The website helps with creating CV in most of the EU languages.

  8. Where do you live when you work at a hostel?

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