What It’s Like: Working In A Hostel

If you’re looking for a job as a backpacker, working in a hostel is a good way to go. Work a few hours for free accommodation, meet other backpackers, have a good time. Why not?

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I worked for a little over 2 months in a hostel in Sydney and I thought I would share my story. The good, the bad, and the disgusting.

There are usually two jobs available in hostels, either reception or housekeeping. I was the latter. The hostel was small, about 50 person capacity and the atmosphere was cozy and homey. Everyone knew everyone and it really was like one big house.

Now, I wouldn’t say my experience was bad just… the work was too much. They had only two cleaners at a time, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. We worked every single day, totaling about 20-25 hours per week, working just for free accommodation. Which, when you do that math, it doesn’t add up.

The tasks were simple. Sweep the courtyard, clean the 5 bathrooms upstairs and tidy the rooms. Everything was pretty standard, sanitize and wipe down the bathrooms, vacuum, sweep, etc. But then there were the odd requests of the owner, for example, pushing everyone’s things under their beds to keep the rooms tidy. I understand they want the rooms to be tidy but it also made not only the guests, but us cleaners as well, uncomfortable. I’m sorry sir, I don’t want to move your stuff under your bed while you’re still sleeping but I have to. 

Then there were the extra tasks they would throw on top.

Darling, could you just do this extra favor for me? Thanks in advance! 

If I’m already doing more work than it’s worth, why should I? Anyway…

I learned quite a bit about general housecleaning which can always be applied in the future. Such as how to properly clean a window shower screen. The key is to wipe it down with Windex with a newspaper. Who knew?

Aside from the owners, it was a good experience. I made some amazing friends from all over the world and had a blast! I may have stayed out til 4am a few too many times, drank a little too much, and woken up at 7am still drunk while doing my work but it was all well worth it.

Working in a hostel is definitely an experience worth having for backpackers.



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