10 Things You’ll Learn From Working at a Hostel

November 15, 2015

There’s a lot that I’ve learned after working at a hostel. The constant in-and-out flow of people coming from and going to foreign lands really taught me some valuable life lessons, many of which have to do with alcohol and the fact that I don’t have a New York accent. I’ve learned about other cultures, other people’s lives, and learned that some British people say the word “indicator” instead of “blinker.”

Bartending at a hostel in exchange for free accommodation (amongst other perks) has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I know this is not the last time I will do something like this.

Here are the 10 things you’ll learn from working at a hostel. 

1. How to Say Goodbye to People

Every single day, a new person or group arrives at a hostel and other people leave. You’ll learn how to say goodbye to those who leave, and will always have the energy and excitement to greet a new batch of travelers.

Saying goodbye will always be tough, but it gets easier. You’ll learn that although you may never see them again, you will always remember your time with them.

I’ve met some amazing people working at a hostel, and it was painful to see them leave. But then a new group arrives, and it starts all over.

It can get a bit tiring constantly meeting so many new people (which is why Netflix and chill nights have been happening pretty frequently…). But when I do feel like socializing, I have so much fun with the guests as they experience Pai for the first time.

One of the best things about working in a hostel in Asia is the fact that a lot of traveler’s go to the same cities and follow the same routes- and it’s so easy to meet up with them again.

10 Things You'll Learn Working at a Hostel

2. How to Drink

Shots, shots, shots! This statement will seem commonplace after a few days of working at a hostel, especially if you’re bartending (and it’s a party hostel).  

You’ll learn how to take shot after shot, mix liquor, and chug beer like a champ. You’ll learn how to pump the guests up to get them to drink and spend money socialize with the other guests.

You’ll start to wonder how you got such an awesome job that involves getting people to drink.


3. How to Sleep With, and Through, Anything

If you’re in my situation, you’ll work for free accommodation. And that accommodation is a sunken mattress amongst mice, insects, and other tiny critters. I have officially become one with nature.

You’ll learn how to ignore that scurrying mouse as it runs across your pillow, and you’ll learn how to flick an insect away from your face like a pro.

You’ll also learn how to sleep with constant noise (like I said, it’s a party every night). I’ve conditioned myself so that the blaring music and chatter of guests is my new version of white noise. 

10 Things You'll Learn Working at a Hostel

4. Where the Town’s Hotspots are

Since you’re staying in the same spot for a while, you’re bound to café hop and know the city like the back of your hand.

Unless you’re like me, who goes to the same café every morning, so much so, that I don’t even need to tell them my order anymore, they just go, “same thing as always?” It’s so delicious that I can’t stop myself from going. 

You’ll be the go to person when the guests want to know what to do around the city and what sights they should not miss. If you’ve seen it all, you know all of the hot spots and which places serve the cheapest beer food.


5. How Small the World Is 

You’ll meet traveler after traveler, and you’ll soon find out that that new backpacker knows your cousin’s friend’s sister’s boyfriend. They’ll somehow come up in conversation, and you’ll take selfies and send it to that mutual friend.

6. How to Be a Part of a Team

You’ll be part of a team. You’ll run the show. You’ll learn how to run a hostel with your coworkers and show your guests some of the best nights of their life.

Teamwork especially comes in handy when neither of you have any idea what you’re doing (like when someone asks you to make a mojito).

One of you will look up how to make a mojito on Google, while the other grabs the ice and sugar and starts pouring it into a mason jar, pretending they know what they’re doing.

Every time someone orders that damn mojito, you have to force a smile on your face, because you still don’t know how to make one. That’s what teamwork is for!

10 Things You'll Learn Working at a Hostel

7. The Meaning of Fun

The people behind the counter aren’t smiling because they are excited to leave. They’re smiling because they love it there.

You’ll have the time of your life being part of a family, and whatever your role is at the hostel; you’ll enjoy every second.  

Waking up every morning to work behind the counter will seem like a dream. Maybe you’ll never leave.

10 Things You'll Learn Working at a Hostel

8. Free Accommodation= More Food Money

Not paying for accommodation? That means more food money! You’ll need to know all of the hot spots so you can tell the guests, anyway. 

If you don’t know where all of the good food is, then how will the guests?

9. How Nice People Can Be 

You’ll learn how easily you can connect with most guests. Everyone seems to be floating on a cloud of euphoria, and that energy will radiate on to you.

I spent my 22nd birthday working at a hostel. So many random guests bought me shots, food, and drinks the entire night. I was so thankful and happy that so many people were so nice and celebrated my birthday with me.

10 Things You'll Learn Working at a Hostel.

10. That You May Never Want to Leave

There’s a reason you’ll start working there in the first place. That town appealed to you, it grabbed you and held you down, and you willingly let it.

That town will hold a special place in your heart forever.  Everything becomes so easy, and you’ll quickly fall into a care-free and relaxed routine. 

You’ll leave with an intricate business plan in your head of starting your own hostel in that very same town. You’ll have everything planned out, from the name of the hostel to the color of the bed sheets. You’ll leave with a new found love for that town. 

Be sure to follow me on Snapchat! @globetrottica. 


  1. Comment by Janet Sunderland

    Janet Sunderland November 15, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    This was so much fun to read. Thank you so much. In residence. Whatever that means and sometimes it changes really fast. Have fun. Be safe. Keep writing. Your timing in sentences is so good. I’m hearing your voice.

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica November 16, 2015 at 1:12 am

      Thank you so much Janet, that really means a lot to me. And thank you so much for always reading and following along on my journey! :]

  2. Comment by Adam @ Travel Ideaz

    Adam @ Travel Ideaz November 16, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Sounds like it’s really worked out well for you! Why pay for accommodation and look for work at the same time when you can kill two birds with one stone, hey!

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica November 17, 2015 at 7:55 am

      Exactly! And I had so much fun doing it too ;]

  3. Comment by Courtney Michele

    Courtney Michele November 16, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Working at a hostel was one of the best times in my life. I learned a few of these things too, especially #1. Always saying goodbye to someone, but it becomes so normal as a traveller.

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica November 17, 2015 at 7:56 am

      I’m so glad you were able to experience it too! I feel like everyone should. Exactly, we learn how to do it so often it becomes so normal :]

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