Hostel Work Ideas

Unique Hostel Work Ideas

Beyond all the usual manual labor there are some unique opportunities to earn your free room (and maybe food or drinks!) by doing hostel work. The staff are usually so busy with day to day operations that they don’t have the time or energy to think about adding the following touches:


If you play guitar or another instrument as you travel, you may be able to arrange to play in the evenings for the bar crowd in exchange for a free stay or dinner.  I met a Russian guitarist in China doing exactly that and every evening he would play in the hostel pub for free drinks and a bed!


Know how to juggle or spin a fire torch or poi?  Offer to do a show in the evenings or to teach classes and workshops in exchange for a free bed. Getting hostel work is easy if you have a skill to offer!


Hostels are always looking to add character and personality to differentiate them to budget travelers. Offer to paint a hippie mural on the walls, touch up trim, or even create graphic work such as signs or fliers on the computer.Perhaps offer to re-design the menus.

Computer Work in hostels

If you have technical or IT experience, you may be able to earn a few free nights by fixing up a hostel’s decrepit internet cafe, management systems, network, and aging webpage.  Offer to do internet marketing for their webpage using mediums such as Facebook or StumbleUpon.


Yoga is popular with budget travelers and will be a big hit at beach hostels and bungalows.  Make arrangements with the hostel management to teach a yoga workshop or class in the mornings in exchange for splitting the earnings or a free stay.


You have a huge advantage if you can speak enough of the local language to translate documents into English for the hostel management.  Even if you don’t speak the local language, you may be able to correct their poor English on menus, signs, advertisements, and other things around the place.

Teaching English

The staff in some hostels and guesthouses in China are always wanting to improve their English to help with daily interactions with customers but cannot afford real lessons. Offer to teach them private English lessons in exchange for room and board.

These ideas for hostel work will not earn you a lot of money, but by trading time and skills to save money, you will be able to travel longer and stretch funds further.