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Hostelling International Mission

    To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling.

Hostelling is educational travel, local and global, using programs and hostels to facilitate interaction between travelers and community members, and to promote discovery of local cultures, the world and ourselves.

What information do you need? Click on the links below.

What are hostels?

Definition of “hostel”

hos·tel n

  1. A supervised, inexpensive lodging place for travelers, especially young travelers.
  2. An inn; a hotel. intr.v. hos·teled, hos·tel·ing, hos·tels
    To stay at hostels while traveling.

      [Middle English, lodging, from Old French, from Medieval Latin hospitle, hospice, inn. See hospital.]

      The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Description of hostels

Hostels provide friendly, inexpensive overnight accommodations for travelers. Hostelling International hostels assure travelers the utmost in quality standards including cleanliness, security and service.

Hostels offer dormitory-style rooms with separate quarters for men and women. Some hostels also have private family and couples rooms. All hostels provide a blanket and pillow. Linens are often included in the price, or available for rental.

Download an overview of hostelling (Adobe Acrobat file).


The J. Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel
24 East Congress Parkway
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: 1-312-360-0300
Fax: 1-312-360-0313