Are Hostels Safe? Tips For COVID Travel

astor hyde park

You may be wondering if staying in hostels is safe during the COVID-era. Like many other industries, hostels had to face the challenges of travel uncertainty, government limitations, and adapting to social distancing regulations. Staying somewhere that promotes socialising amongst groups may sound like a foreign concept now, but hostels are working hard to ensure that they can welcome back travellers and keep you safe. In this post, we’ll dive into COVID safety in hostels and help ease any other doubts you may have before embarking on your next adventure.

Are hostels open in Europe?

Yes, many European hostels are currently open. The types of rooms hostels can offer guests vary depending on the current regulations set by the governments in each country. Some hostels are keeping their dorm rooms at a 50% capacity, while others are allowing groups to book a whole dorm room so long as they are members of the same household or two households. 

Are hostels open in UK?

The UK is made up of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Each country has their own individual COVID guidelines and easing lockdown plans. A large percentage of England’s hostels are currently open and are welcoming guests for Summer 2021. If you would like to travel around the UK this summer, check out our Hostel Card.

Are Hostels Safe? Tips For COVID Travel
Wombats THE CITY Hostel, London, United Kingdom

Where can I get current COVID-19 travel information? 

We recommend checking The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website for the most accurate Coronavirus updates and travel advice. If you are looking for travel updates in specific destinations, the best way to check is by going to the local government’s website. 

Are hostels safe? COVID Travel

Hostels are continuing to create safe and fun experiences for travellers with the help of new health and safety guidelines, giving travellers confidence and peace of mind. By constantly reviewing their processes and adapting to government regulations, you can be sure that you are safe while staying in a hostel. While you might not be able to get a bed in a shared dorm depending on the hostel’s current rules, you can be assured that they all follow COVID sanitation guidance. You can find information about what a specific hostel is doing to ensure COVID safety by visiting the hostel’s official website.

Are Hostels Safe? Tips For COVID Travel
Selina Hostel, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Are hostels clean? What are they doing to keep COVID compliant?

Hostels recognise the importance of containing the virus and follow their government’s guidelines. Here are some of the key measure’s hostels are taking to keep everyone safe:

  1. Guest Safety
    1. Staff follow all safety protocols as directed by local authorities by wearing personal protective equipment and providing hand sanitising stations in guest areas
    2. Staff are trained in spotting COVID-19 symptoms and dealing with COVID-19 cases

  2. Extra Cleaning
    1. Properties are being cleaned by professional cleaning companies and using WHO’s certified cleaning products, ensuring proper disinfection against the virus
    2. High touchpoint surfaces are also being disinfected frequently throughout the day
    3. Linens, towels, and guest laundry is being washed in special detergent

  3. Social Distancing
    1. Social distancing rules have been put in place throughout the hostels 
    2. Screens and physical barriers placed between staff and guests where appropriate
    3. Cashless and / or online payments are encouraged
    4. Kitchen and common areas have either been adapted to adhere social distancing rules, are temporarily closed or only open for long-term guests

  4. Online Check-In
    1. Online check-ins and payments have been installed for a contact-free experience
    2. Reduced Capacity 
    3. Some hostels offer beds in dorms that are operating at a reduced capacity while others switched to a private room and private group dorm model for the time being

What if a hostel cancels my booking? 

Hostels are closely following the local government guidelines. If your booking gets cancelled, the hostel must have had a very good reason to do so. You should contact the hostel and enquire about the reasons for cancelling. With our Hostel Card, if government guidelines change and the Hostel Card hasn’t been activated yet, we will offer you a full refund. 

Girls wearing face masks

COVID Travel: Here’s How You Can Keep Safe Staying in Hostels During COVID-19

Prior to setting off on your journey, you want to make sure that you are following the correct travel guidelines. Whether that means taking a Covid-19 PCR test that comes back negative or having to be fully vaccinated before your departure, you don’t want to get rejected at your destination. To find out more check out our Traveler’s Guide to Vaccine Passports article. 

The Do’s and Don’ts While Staying in a Hostel:

  • Sanitise and wash your hands regularly 
  • When sneezing or coughing use a tissue or toilet paper and dispose of it immediately 
  • Wear a face covering as much as possible, especially when around other people 
  • Obey rules posted around the hostel on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19
  • Don’t block corridors or entryways that prevent people from social distancing
  • Don’t hide any COVID-19 symptoms – If you feel ill, inform the hostel staff, they are trained to help you

We hope that our COVID travel guide has helped answer some of your questions and eased any doubts you may have had about staying in hostels this year. Let us know below where you’re planning on travelling to this summer! 

Astor Hostel, York, United Kingdom


What exactly is a hostel?

At its core, a hostel is a budget-friendly type of accommodation with a communal ethos. They key offerings are shared social experiences and communal living for the avid traveller.  

Who stays in hostels?

The intended hostel audience is backpackers; however, nowadays hostels attract a wide range of guests, all dependent on the type of hostel and where its located.

What types of hostels are there?

You can expect to find a wide variety of hostels around Europe, catering to every type of traveller. From budget and relaxing hostels to party, boutique and nature conscious hostels, there is a hostel for everyone. 

What is the difference between a hotel and a hostel?

The main difference between a hostel and hotel is that hostels provide dormitory-style rooms, where people can pay for a bed in a shared room while hotels offer private rooms only. 

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