How to Find Work in Hostels While Travelling

Working in hostels whilst you’re travelling is a great way to save some money. You’ll save in accommodation, meals, and sometimes even alcohol costs. A Summer in the Greek Islands, or maybe the Winter in a ski town in Switzerland, The options are endless.

During this past Winter, I spent 6 weeks in Antigua, Guatemala working as a bartender at a hostel bar. I was given 2 meals a day,plus a free bed, and a few alcoholic drinks during my shift. This helped me save hundreds of dollars. I ended up spending less than $400 during my time in Antigua. Most of my money was spent on extra food or alcohol, plus a hand made piece of jewellery.

View from hobbitenango in Antigua Guatemala

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

The work depends on the hostel you’re working at. Some hostels are looking for bartenders, cooks, or cleaners. Others want you to help promote the hostel through social media and hanging out at the airport/bus station and see if anyone is needing a hostel.

The hours of work you do vary depending on the hostel. You’ll likely be working 20-30 hours a week with 2-3 days off. In my opinion I wouldn’t work more than 30 hours if you’re only getting accommodation and meals.

What Do You Get in Exchange for Work?

You generally get to stay in the hostel for free. The hostel will either have a staff dorm for you, or you’ll end up staying with guests. I’ve also met people who were working in a hostel and the hostel had separate accommodation for the staff members. Other then free accommodation you’ll likely get 1-3 meals a day depending on the hostel. Some also offer free or discounts on tours, and alcoholic beverages.

How Do You Find Work in Hostels?

Now that you know what kind of work you might be expected to do, you’ll need to know how to find the work. The easiest way is to  just show up at a hostel that you’re planning on staying at and see if they are looking for any help. Some hostels I’ve stayed at even had signs posted in common areas or outside their doors asking for help.

If you want to find a volunteer position before you arrive somewhere you can always contact some hostels in the area you plan on going and see if they are looking for any help. You can contact them by finding their email address through their website, or send them a message through their Facebook page.

Another way to find hostel work before you arrive somewhere is to go through World Packers. With World Packers you can arrange to find a job before you arrive. There is a fee though of $5-$50.00 per job you book, but some hostels will reimburse you once you complete the job.

Have you ever worked in a hostel?

a kayaker on lake Atitlan

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