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Hostels (or youth hostels) provide short term accommodation to travelers. In a hostel you rent a bed (usually a bunk-bed) in a dormitory and share common bathroom, kitchen, and lounge rooms. Private rooms are often available. The main benefit of a hostel is that you get to meet other travelers from all over the world. They are usually less formal and less expensive than hotels. They are most frequently used by young travelers. In the past many hostels had imposed age limits, but today it's more common for hostels to accept guests of all ages. In certain parts of the world, hostels are commonly called "backpackers", particularly Australia and New Zealand.

Many hostels belong to Hostelling International (HI), a nonprofit organization composed of more than 90 associations representing about 4000 hostels in over 80 countries. Hostelling International was formerly called the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF).


In 1912 in Altena, Germany, Richard Schirrmann created the first youth hostel. It was inside the castle which was then recently reconstructed. The old rooms are on display now, as the youth hostel is in new rooms now, but still inside the castle grounds.

Hostels in pop culture

In the movie What a Girl Wants, Daphne Reynolds (Amanda Bynes) falls in love with a boy that works at a youth hostel, where she originally stays.

External links

See also: Youth Hostels Association

An alternative to hostels are hospitality services.