The first time I've volunteered at a hostel was in Prague, Czech Republic, but with my eyes already in Zagreb, Croatia.
It was also my first experience using Worldpackers, and it was a very fine first experience!
I would recommend volunteering at a Hostel to any person who is interested in visiting and staying somewhere for a longer time, meeting other travellers and locals, and who wants or don't mind doing some hours of work (of course!).
Either if you're just travelling around for a long-term cultural exchange, or if you are a digital nomad and use your free time to work and personal projects, you will probably have the opportunity to meet new people every day and exchange experiences, contacts, share your work, socialize, etc.
6 truths about volunteering in a hostel
1. Choosing the right place for you
Before going somewhere you should communicate with your host and make sure you know all the provided conditions, all sort of things you will care about during your stay.
Things you need to pay attention:
- How many hours per week you will work
- How many days off
- What activities you will do
- What opportunities you may have
- What conditions are offered (dorm, meals, etc.)
- How long you can/want to stay
2. Where to volunteer
There are hostels looking for volunteers in many different cities, many different countries, actually all over the world! From the biggest and most touristic places to the smallest and most quiet villages.
3. For how long
Each Hostel has its own requirements. Some want the volunteer to stay at least only 5 days, others ask for at least 2 or 3 weeks of stay, maybe longer. Some of them will set a minimum and maximum duration too.
4. Doing what?
You will surely get a general idea of how a hostel is organized, but each place can be asking for different things:
- Events promoter or Animator
- And many more!
You can choose the right place for you considering what you like to do most, what you don't mind doing or even what you want to learn.
5. Working time vs. free time
That depends not only from hostel to hostel (and what activities you'll be doing). But also of how busy the hostel is at that moment.
Believe me, some days can be much longer than others, depending on the check in and check outs number.
Anyway, every place should give at least 1 full day off per week. Many give 2 days off, and normally as a night-shift volunteer, you should get 3 days off as you'll usually be doing more hours per week.
You will find different requests, but around 25 hours per week is one of the most common ones. Usually, hostels that ask for more hours of help (30 to 35 hours per week) are also the ones that offer more conditions (such as free meals, for example).
6. Saving money
One of the big advantages of volunteering at a Hostel is obviously to stay for free. Some hostels will also include free meals, free laundry, and free tours.
Most of them have a kitchen where guests can cook or store items in the fridge – so you can cook and surely save money (and eat healthier), instead of eating out all the time.
Use your free time well, and have fun!