Ups and Downs of Hostel Worker

Hello there! I was going to write this article from tent in the middle of forest (with 17 000 other people) but then my unlucky nature took over. I was on summer camp (that will have its own short post later on) but of course I got sick after the first day. So no more camping for me but rather sleeping and super long Netflix marathon…

But now lets go back to today’s topic and the working in hostels subject. If you haven’t yet, go and read the GOOD and the BAD hostel volunteering memories I shared with you earlier this week. And to clear you more about my own hostel experience:

I worked/volunteered almost two months as housekeeper in small Kyoto based hostel. Before that I had volunteered in another hostel in Tokyo but left after my first week because the place was hell. On both times I lived in the hostels and met a lot of amazing people.

So I have perfect and terrible experience as hostel worker. That’s why I wanted to share with you the pros and cons of hostel volunteering I encountered. Despite all the bad points the goods make up for them and in my opinion everyone should try it at least once in their life.


The Bad Points:

  • Being on full time work mode. If you live and work in the same hostel, you are always on work mode. Something is dirty and you will clean it. Someone looks lost so you will help them. You will always have your customer service smile on.
  • Being “conned” to work more than promised before hand. If you are not careful and write contract, there is danger of getting used. This happened to me on my first work place. They promised 3 hours of work but I had to stay in the hostel almost 24 hours to wait for people to come and check-in. So be careful out there.
  • Feeling lonely. If you are traveling solo and only volunteer/long time stayer in your hostel, this may become problem. At day time you have your co-workers and other times there are the quests. However when everyone only stays for short times and no one seems to getwhat you are doing, there si no one to talk about your problems.
  • Sharing the room with bunch of strangers. There is a big probability you will sleep in dorm room. Sometimes it’s nice and way to get better picture of your new friends. Usually it gets annoying quickly.  Snoring people, couples having sex, someone packing at night and lights going on at stupid hours. Lets not even talk about trying to be considering and finding your own bed in the darkness.


The Good Points:

  • All the amazing people you meet. Every day new people come and go. There is no way you won’t meet new person every evening.
  • All the interesting stories you hear. Living and sharing the place with always changing travelers grants you an unlimited amount of crazy travel stories.
  • Never being alone. Yes, I know one bad point was being lonely BUT you are never alone when staying in hostel. You may feel like there is no people left in this world however that feeling won’t last a long when you hear someone shouting on the corridor or the man in neighboring bed starts snoring. There is always someone near you and for me it was assuring.
  • Learning new languages and skills. Meeting people around the world is useful. More than once someone wanted to teach me their language. And of course you will learn the language that is major in your work place. For me Thai family taught how to make food and German man told me hiking tips for pilgrims. 
  • You will get inspired and bitten by multiple travel bugs. Hearing about unforgettable travel destinations from people who have first hand experience is lethal. There is (at least for me) no way back to your normal life. Your bucketlist will grow and the travel passion get out of hand.
  • Work experience. When you are seeking for real job in the future, volunteering in exotic country will draw attention. You willeem like someone having life experience and depending on the job you are trying to get you have learned womething fitting from your volunteer. It gives you experience of custom service and making the customers happy. Working hard and in team. Coming to quick learner and proving your skills in surviving any work enviroment. You can basically get anything out of your volunteering time if you are good enough at writing the CV.
  • Being the one others admire. I talked about this in my first hostel volunteering memory. When you tell someone staying in the hostel that “yes I just happen to work and live here” they will right away look you differently. Usually your confession will follow a lot of questions from them or just plain comment how they would love to do what you are doing.


Have you ever worked or volunteered in hostel? Or would you like to try? I would love to hear more about your stories and experiences about this subject. So don’t be shy and comment below!

I will post again soon so see you then!

With love,

Viivi Severina



14 thoughts on “Ups and Downs of Hostel Worker

  1. Such an honest and open review of working in a hostel, thanks for sharing your experiences. I’d like to give it a go at some point! Will start scouring workaway for some opportunities 🙂 thanks Viivi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I always try to be as honest as I can. I think it is important to share the good and the bad and not just pretty perfect travel stories. You should definitely try volunteering in hostel! It is experience everyone should have. 🙂


  2. Hello Viivi,

    I just found your blog and it was love at first sight: awesome post!
    I am an amateur blogger (since Aug 2014: – I’m also a professor of pharmacology in a Colombian university (since 2003) who became – recently – a pharmascold (a person who fights obsessively against pharmaceutical companies – my major motivation to become a blogger). Nonetheless, I became a bit bored a few months ago, so I decided to open a hostel —> I love it!! I’m even thinking – seriously – about quitting my “serious” job in the university, I’ll take some months to decide, a hostel is not easy to manage, but I’m happier working in my own hostel than repeating the same lectures year after year – until my retirement or death! (I prefer the thrill of changing my career and quitting things that make me unhappy or bored).

    About one of the bad points: “Sharing the room with bunch of strangers” — I agree (my solution was leaving the hostel – I rented a small room in a few meters away of the hostel – it was a very good decision)



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Firstly thank you for saying those amazing things about my blog and reblogging my post. It really made my day. Secondly your story is so inspiring. I have always dreamed about starting my own hostel but I am not yet ready for that. Maybe someday in the future…

      I think everyone should be like you and do what makes them happy.

      I checked out your hostel and it looks cool! So many languages on your website. I don’t want to sound rude but I have one advice for you. Some of the photos from your hostel are a little too dark so it doesn’t make that good first impression.

      I hope all good for you and your hostel! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes there is many sites in internet where hostel owners are trying to find travellers to work for them and they will get free accommodation. It’s easy and fun. You will meet interesting people and get insiders tips to the city from other workers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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