Common & frequently asked Youth Hostel questions

Accommodation

What are Youth Hostels?

Youth Hostels are a fantastic home from home when travelling. Youth Hostels provide quality accommodation with affordable prices, which means you can see and experience more of what you want, without paying high end prices.

They are situated in great locations throughout England and Wales including cities, tourist hotspots and more rural locations. Plus, if you're travelling alone, they're a great place to make friends!

Who stays at Youth Hostels?

Anyone can stay at Youth Hostels! YHA is open to all and everyone is welcome.

What can I expect when I stay with YHA?

You can be assured of a warm welcome and comfortable and clean accommodation. Our youth hostels have facilities that are suitable for families, individuals, groups or outdoor enthusiasts.

Can we hire out the whole Youth Hostel?

Hostels are great places for groups to enjoy a break away. YHA Exclusive Hire allows you to hire out the whole of the building for you and your group at a set price during the year. Perfect for family gatherings, celebrations and activity breaks, visit YHA Exclusive Hire for more information and available hostels.

Will my room be cleaned?

Your room should be hoovered, bins emptied, and showers and toilets cleaned every day.

Do I have to share a room?

You don't have to share a room if you don't want to. Plenty of Youth Hostels have private rooms, family rooms and some even have en-suite bathrooms. Remember - sharing rooms is a fantastic way of meeting new people and what hostelling is all about...plus it's cheaper!

Do you offer different types of accommodation?

YHA offers various types of experiences as well as hostelling. We have bunkhouses, campus accommodation, camping barns, camping pods, glamping and camping facilities.

What is an Affiliate Accommodation?

Affiliates cover areas where we have no YHA hostels. They are accommodation providers which are recommended by YHA but aren't YHA hostels. Therefore there will be different terms and conditions when booking and you will be unable to use your YHA membership. Please see the hostel pages for more information.

Can I bring pets to stay at YHA?

Dogs are welcome to stay in most of our camping and cabin accommodation.

Unfortunately pets, including dogs, are not allowed in our Youth Hostel accommodation. This is a consideration of other guests who may be allergic as well as the logistics of pets staying. We do, however, accept registered assistance dogs – please stipulate this when booking.

Read more about our dog friendly facilities

Do I have to do chores like in the old days?

No - you certainly do not have to do chores. Staff will look after all the cleaning, so you can get on with enjoying your stay. We even make beds now so that when you arrive you're free to relax, explore and even get your head down!

What’s the difference between private and family rooms?

You may have noticed that a number of our hostels boast both private and family Rooms. These are essentially the same room, but a family room needs to be booked by a party which includes a guest under the age of 18.

This allows the party to receive a better room price, based on the fact that their guests include a young person. As a youth charity, we want to encourage young people to travel. Therefore we reward groups travelling with under 18 year olds with discounted ‘family room’ or ‘U18 dorm’ rates.

Booking

Do I need to have a YHA Membership to stay?

No – you don’t have to be a YHA member to stay at a Youth Hostel. However, when you do become a member, you pay less when you stay with YHA and gain access to brilliant member benefits as well as an automatic membership with Hosteling International – perfect if you’re planning on travelling abroad. 

Find out more about YHA membership

Are there any age restrictions?

Whilst most hostels don’t have any age restrictions, there may be some hostels that are unsuitable for young children or guests with disabilities. It is always good to double check beforehand by checking the relevant hostel page on the YHA website.

You must be 16 or over to stay in a YHA hostel without an adult. If you are under 16 you can stay with YHA as long as you are travelling with an adult. If you are under 12, you can stay if travelling with an adult, but not in a dorm room.

Can I book for more than 16 people?

We offer a range of locations and packages which will suit any group. If there are less than 16 people in your party then you are able to book online. If there are more than 16 people in your group, you will not be able to book online.

Please get in touch to speak to our Groups team

I've not received my booking confirmation, what should I do?

The site will send you an email following registration, an update of details, enquiry and purchase.

If you've not received an email then check your spam/junk folder. If your email system has identified the email as spam/junk then you will need to add YHA to your safe sender list.

If the email is not in your junk mail folder then please contact us.

What time is check-in and check-out?

Check-in and check-out times vary from hostel to hostel.

Please check the hostel page for more information.

Do you still produce a guidebook?

We no longer produce a YHA guidebook.

The most up to date information regarding our hostels can be found on the hostel page.

Can you explain your pricing?

“Rooms from”: this is used to refer to the lowest available price for a room which can be wholly booked. This could be either a family room or a private room, depending on the hostel and the room-types the hostel has available. “Beds from”: this is used to refer to the lowest available price for the use of a single bed, usually within a dorm room.

Please note, this is an adult bed price, so it is possible that an under 18 dorm bed could be slightly cheaper. “Family rooms from”: this is used to refer to the lowest available price for a family room. Family rooms must have at least one person under the age of 18.

How long can I stay at a YHA hostel for?

The maximum length of stay at one location is 14 nights.

Following any period of stay of 14 nights, guests may not return to any hostel for at least seven nights.

Can I arrange my own check-in time at a hostel?

You can find our check-in times on each hostel page and these are the times when you can check-in. You cannot check-in outside of these times.

How can I cancel or amend my booking?

If you’ve booked directly with YHA, you need to notify the contact centre of any cancellations or amendments to your booking. This can be done by calling +44 (0) 1629 592700 or emailing customerservices@yha.org.uk. Have a look at our terms and conditions for cancellations here.

Food and Drink

Are self-catering facilities available?

Most hostels have self-catering facilities, however it’s always good to double check on the hostel page before you book.

Can we buy food and meals at the hostel?

Most Youth Hostels now provide a delicious meals service including a buffet-style breakfast, packed lunch and evening meal, all served in our hostel restaurants. Where hostels have a licensed bar, alcohol is also available to purchase.

Some of our hostels have a café offering light bites and refreshments throughout the day. You can still prepare your own meals in most of our hostels too, if you wish. Meals can be pre-booked online as part of your hostel booking.

Read more about our Food & Drink

Can I bring my own alcohol?

Please note that most of our hostels have licensed bars on site. Because of our responsibilities as the licence holder it is not possible to let anyone staying at, or visiting the hostel, bring their own alcohol. This does not apply to those hostels without a licence or when you have booked the whole premises under our Exclusive Hire arrangements.

Please note that we expect all of our guests to behave responsibly at all times and adhere to our behaviour policies and the conditions of booking. Thanks for your understanding and support. You’ll find that all of our bars offer a good range of very reasonably priced alcoholic drinks and beverages, including the local offering and a team ready and willing to serve you.

Hostel Facilities

Is bedding provided?

When staying in a hostel, all bedding, including pillows, is provided for you. Please note: We ask customers who are staying in our hostels to refrain from bringing your own bedding/sleeping bags. This allows us to maintain a high quality, clean environment for all guests. If you are staying in a camping barn, you will need to bring a sleeping bag or bedding.

Please check the hostel pages for more information.

Is there a hairdryer or kettle in the room?

These items are not provided in the rooms at most YHAs. In a limited number of hostels, we offer Premium Rooms which may contain a hairdryer or a kettle - please see the hostel page for more information.

A lot of our hostels have self-catering facilities which will include kettles, contact the hostel directly for more information.

Where can I put my belongings?

Any luggage that doesn’t contain valuables, such as clothes and toiletries are usually left in your room. We recommend that any phones, cameras, laptops, passports etc should be kept on your person or safeguarded if you are staying in a dorm room. Most larger hostels will have a safe or lockers, however some of the smaller ones do not.

Unfortunately, Youth Hostels are not held responsible for any lost or stolen items.

Is there Wi-Fi available at the hostel?

Wi-Fi is available at a number of our hostels. It is free for guests to use in communal areas or throughout the hostel at selected locations. Check out the facilities section of the hostel page for more information.

Do I need to take a towel?

You can rent a 500gsm towel or you can buy a YHA branded, 500gsm towel at the hostel.

Alternatively, please bring your own towel/s. In certain hostels and selected rooms, towels are provided.

Please check the Need to Know section on the hostel pages for more information. All bedding is provided.

What provisions and facilities do you have for disabled customers?

At YHA, inclusivity and equality are at the heart of what we do. While we are still far from satisfied with the progress we have made towards achieving fully accessible facilities, we are proud of the work we have done so far.

View the list of hostels with adaptations for those with mobility impairments

The majority of our hostels have access statements available to view on their hostel page, this can be found under the Need to Know section. 

If you are still uncertain, or are unable to find the information you require, please contact us for further assistance. 

Do YHA hostels have luggage storage facilities?

Many of our hostels have storage rooms or lockers which allow guests to safely store their luggage. Please check the facilities section of the hostel webpage, where the presence of a luggage store should be indicated.

If you are still unsure, please either contact the hostel directly or contact us for further assistance. 

Do YHA bedrooms have power points in them?

The majority of YHA bedrooms have power sockets within them. We are a long way into the process of rolling out a standard specification of bed across our network, which includes a power socket, a USB port and a small shelf for storage of your mobile device whilst it is charging on every bed.

For more information about the specifics of a room you have booked or are thinking of booking, please contact the hostel directly.

Do YHA’s hostels have self-catering kitchen facilities?

Most of our hostels do have self-catering kitchen facilities. We know that to many, the essence of hosteling means cooking your own food in a communal space, whilst getting to know others.

For more information about the kitchen facilities available at an individual hostel, please see the ‘Food & Drink’ tab of the hostel’s page.

Membership

Are children covered on my membership?

Yes, any under 18s travelling with you are covered on both Under 26 and Individual memberships.

How does the Direct Debit work?

A YHA membership Direct Debit is renewed automatically every year. This means that the membership fee will be debited from your bank account automatically, so you will not need to do anything to renew your membership. We will notify you at least 10 working days prior to your account being debited.

I don’t live in the UK, can I still become a member?

If you live outside the UK, you will not be eligible to purchase a YHA membership online.

We suggest that you buy Hostelling International membership, which is recognised in over 4000 hostels worldwide here, or buy membership in your home country before you travel. Remember to apply the overnight member discount when you book to save money on your stay.

How long will it be before I receive my membership card?

You should receive your YHA membership card within 7-10 working days.

Can I book rooms with YHA member rates if I haven't received my membership card yet?

Yes, you can! You don't need to enter your membership number in order to book. A membership card must be presented at check-in. Otherwise you will need to pay the difference between member rates and standard rates for rooms booked.

I am travelling with a few friends, do we all need to have YHA membership to book rooms with YHA member rates?

Yes, all of you will need to have valid YHA membership to take advantage of member rates. Remember, each of you will be asked to present your membership card at check-in so don’t forget to pack it!

What about booking through another website - will I receive member rates?

Unfortunately not. If you choose to book through a third party website you will not be able to receive discounted member rates with the exception of Hostelling International.

How do I claim my membership benefits?

To claim your YHA membership discounts, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your account using your registered email address and password.
  2. Once you arrive at the 'My Account' dashboard click the 'My YHA Membership' link on your account menu.
  3. You should now see your full member benefits.

Dogs at YHA

Are dogs welcome to stay at YHA sites?

Yes – dogs are welcome to all YHA camping and cabin sites.

The only exceptions are YHA Idwal Cottage, and both YHA New Forest and YHA Exford where local planning restrictions prevent this.

Any assistance dogs can stay at any YHA site free of charge.

Can dogs stay the night with their owners?

Yes – dogs are welcome to stay over with guests who are camping with YHA, whether in their own tents, or using any of our tipis or bell tents.

Is there a charge for dogs to stay?

There is a charge of £5 per night per dog in pods, cabins, bell tents, tipis and huts. This additional charge is made to allow us spend additional time cleaning and preparing our premises for the next guests.

It is free to bring your dog if you are sleeping in your own tent.

Can guests book and pay for dogs online?

You can make your booking for Camping and Cabins online as usual.

The fee for any dogs staying with us will need to be paid on arrival.

Is there a limit on the number of dogs that can stay?

Yes, there is a limit of two dogs per adult guest.

Do YHA provide bedding/facilities for dogs?

YHA does not provide specific dog bedding.

Guests will need to bring their own bedding/baskets and dog food.

YHA will provide water bowls in all individual pods, cabins, bell tents, tipis and huts.

Why can dogs stay in camping and cabins products but not in the main hostels?

There is a very mixed clientele who enjoy staying with YHA which involves many very young families and the shared use of many communal facilities.

In order to ensure the most comfortable and relaxed stay for everyone, we think that this is the best possible solution.

Still need help?

If you're still having problems, and can't find what you're looking for then please get in touch. 

Contact us