Key to Europe

After closing a partnership with Hostelling International, we wanted to introduce to you more what our partner is working on, what is the difference between them and other accommodation providers and how they support the youth field that we are also working on! Read our interview with Ewa Kislo, the Partnerships Executive of Hostelling International below!

  • What is Hostelling International? How you differentiate yourself from other accommodation providers?

Hostelling International is a not-for-profit network of Youth Hostel Associations with nearly 4,000 hostels based in around 80 countries. For the last 100 years, HI has been facilitating youth travel and promoting sustainable tourism practices among its 3.7m members. We believe that hostelling is not just about having a quality and safe place to stay; it’s about having fun, experiencing different cultures and giving back to local communities. Since 1932 we have been helping travellers to reduce their environmental impact whilst travelling.
While your budget may be limited, the quality of our hostels is not! We aim to provide you with the most enjoyable stay possible, while offering excellent value for money. Therefore, we have developed a way of ensuring quality and sustainability in our hostels across the whole world.

  • Do you have any specific topics that you currently work on?

We are committed to intensifying our efforts to achieve a worldwide network of sustainable hostels. That’s why in 2017 we decided to support the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by showcasing how youth hostelling drives sustainable tourism to foster development in its communities. We have defined 10 areas based on SDGs and we encourage our network to apply it in their operations.

The HI network has established a dedicated Quality and Sustainability Management System that is used in around 500 hostels worldwide. HI-Q&S is a long-term programme of continuous improvement that allows hostels to advance their quality and sustainability practices, and it helps deliver the HI Mission, it assures operational efficiency, risk management and customer satisfaction while helping you make informed decisions and be part of a global community of responsible travellers.
One of the current goals of the HI network is to work towards achieving “plastic-free hostels” as well as reducing our “foodprint”. We work with internal and external stakeholders on defining areas to improve and to provide travellers with a solution to make their trips sustainable.

  • How does Hostelling International support youth travel?

Hostelling International and its Member Associations work with external organisations on facilitating youth travel and promoting better understanding between people coming from different backgrounds. As the HI network is not-for-profit, we make sure that generated income is reinvested back into hostels, projects and programmes.

HI hostels are designated to facilitate interactions, and therefore are available to all. We try to make sure that our properties offer inclusive stay for everybody regardless of one’s financial situation or health issues. One example is Stayokay, our Member Association in the Netherlands, that offers free accommodation for pupils up to the age of 18 who would otherwise not be able to participate in school camps. YHA England&Wales collects funds to transform young lives forever through travel and real adventure. HI USA has created Explore the World Travel Schoolaships to help finance young people’s international trips that include an educational or service component.

By joining our community of mindful travellers, you can gain access to additional travel benefits. Those special deals can help you experience more while still sticking to your budget. Our partners have been carefully selected to reflect HI values and improve the way young people travel.
Click here to read more about the benefits of becoming a HI member.

  • How young people can change the world with Hostelling International?

I would strongly encourage young people to get involved in Sleep for Peace, the biggest campaign across the HI network. At HI we believe that travel leads to a better understanding of other cultures, and in turn, creates a more tolerant world. Therefore, each year Hostelling International celebrates the UN’s International Day of Peace. This year 35 countries and around 100 hostels joined this annual celebration of how Hostelling International brings people together to create a more peaceful world, every day. Click here to read more.

Hostelling International gives its customers an option to mitigate their CO2 emissions when booking overnight stays on or contribute 0.10 GBP per night to finance sustainable initiatives that reduce the carbon emissions of our hostels. Since 2013, the Hostelling International Sustainability Fund has caught the attention of, more than, 55,000 people whose donations helped us support 16 inspiring projects across the HI network, including solar panel installations and providing drinking taps for guests.

Also, our guests can get involved in around 3,000 social projects that takes place across the HI network each year. The aim of those local initiatives is to facilitate intercultural exchange, give back and build bridges, engage guests and take steps to fight climate change.
Click here to get involved.

  • How do you imagine the synergies between AEGEE-Europe and Hostelling International?

As a former AEGEE-Europe member myself, I can see many similarities between the values of both organisations. Intercultural exchange, empowering youth, gender equality, non-formal education, facilitating interactions between people coming from different backgrounds, sustainability are topics that have been very important to all of us. I believe that this cooperation can be mutually beneficial to both sides and help us achieve common goals.

On a more local level, we see it as an opportunity to facilitate youth initiatives in HI hostels and provide AEGEE members with a space to create meaningful connections. Hostelling International is a youth accommodation provider that offers great quality stay at affordable prices. Many of our hostels provide meetings rooms and in-house restaurants that could host even the biggest events of AEGEE-Europe.

It’s also worth mentioning that HI hostels are very much integrated with local communities and are often used as more than simply a place to stay, providing a place for a wide range of activities that make interactions between travellers and locals possible.

We are also interested in cooperating on new projects and programmes or supporting existing ones in order to highline important topics for both organisations.

If you are interested in working with HI directly as an AEGEE local, contact our Vice-President Alvaro at!




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