Our hostelling tips
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Section
Want to know all the hostelling tips? We get a lot of questions about hostels so this is our FAQ section to help you with any queries and have you fully prepared before you go!
Hostelling is much more than just travelling a country and staying in hostels for backpackers. Yes, we provide cheap accommodation so you can do more and stay longer for less money, but there’s more to it than that! Hostelling is social. The emphasis is on meeting new people, having new experiences and new adventures!
With a common room living area, you meet with other guests too who can share their experience and may even join you and help you plan the rest of your trip around Ireland. Couples staying can hire a twin room as available in many hostels and It’s great for families as there are family rooms and children aren’t as restricted as they may feel at hotels as well as having self-catering facilities which further saves money – especially if you have a fussy eater! Perfect for groups – hostels are a fun way to stay the night in dorms with friends and for leaders it makes life easier because they can keep a close eye on the group too!
An Óige has many varied types of hostels and budget accommodation all around Ireland and one thing you can say about staying with our hostels is that every one is unique. Our hostel in Glendalough has all ensuite rooms but for many of the larger rooms in our hostels, there are shared bathrooms and showers. If you ever dreamt of going to a boarding school – it’s like this – except without the strict rules and teachers!
Many hostels today are of a very high standard and not unlike budget hotels – our Ballyhoura Luxury Hostel could easily be confused for one for example. Two of our hostels, Knockree and Errigal, were custom-made with a large amount of investment and are not only very eco-friendly but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the standard of the rooms and the buildings.
Not all of our hostels are this high standard. Many of our members love to get back to basics in Glenmalure with no electricity or running water. Trá na Rossan, designed by the famous architect Ludyens, is a great example of the older style of hostelling – but not without its own personal charm and history too!
Read up about our hostels before heading there and you should be able to work out which ones are more suited for you! Whereever you go, you’re sure to have a warm welcome and plenty of stories to take away from your stay!
We have guests from all walks of life and every country in the world staying in the An Óige youth hostels. We have people who are “young at heart” and still in search of adventure and loving life – which adds to the very positive vibe in the youth hostels. You never know who you will meet!
There are no age limits although those under the age of 18 will need to be
accompanied by an adult (aged 18 or older – see our Terms and Conditions). Many of our hostellers started young and have remained hostellers for life as the adventure and
hostelling experience has a wide appeal!
You don’t have to be a member to stay at An Óige youth hostels BUT if you are, you are entitled to discounts – not just for the accommodation but also for many of the attractions around Ireland. You can sign up to be a member very easily online or ask at any of the hostels themselves and they can help you out.
You will need identification of some sort, preferably with a photo and date of birth. Common identification used to stay in hostels includes passports, photo driver’s licenses and state or country identity cards.
Dormitories are mostly separated by gender and, depending on the hostel, there may be a different floor for the female dormatories and the male dorms. Dorm size varies from 6 beds up to 12 beds. There are usually other rooms on offer too – four bed rooms, triple bed rooms, twin rooms, double bed rooms and single rooms but the price of these rooms is higher than dorm rooms. Some rooms are en-suite and some are not and most dorm rooms have a locker for your possessions but you’ll need a padlock to lock it so be sure to bring one along!
You can request a full dorm if you want (based on availability too) and the six bed and four bed dorms are popular as family rooms too. However, if you take a six bed room and there are only five of you, you may be asked to split the cost of the remaining bed if you want to keep the dorm exclusive depending on how busy the hostel is but only if the hostel has to turn away someone to keep the dorm exclusive. We’ll always try to keep costs down for our guests!!
In general, the rules and customs of hostels are to be aware and respect your fellow hostellers but in some cases there may be some noise if those sharing your dorm come in later or leave earlier than you. Naturally hostels in cities and towns will have a little more outside noise than in the countryside where, in some hostels, the silence itself can be deafening! Be prepared on our mountain hostels for the occasional “baa” from sheep too!
ARE AN ÓIGE YOUTH HOSTELS CLEAN?
An Óige Youth Hostels put emphasis on cleanliness with cleaning a constant process at our youth hostels. Again, as mentioned above it is customary for hostellers to be aware and respect your fellow hostellers so guests are expected to clean up after themselves, such as washing dishes in the self-catering area, throwing away any rubbish and generally leaving things as you found them.
In fact, we are proud to say that Dublin International Hostel and Knockree Youth Hostel have both been awarded the HI-Q certification- a Quality Management System, supporting every activity, including high standards of cleanliness, within the hostel in order to obtain the highest customer satisfaction levels. By receiving this award Dublin International Hostel and Knockree Hostel have proven to be an outstanding example of quality excellence. Both hostels went through six months of intensive learning and improvement stages. Every detail of the operations and management of the property has been turned upside down in order to secure customer service is at the focus of all procedures. Both hostels are now members of a very exclusive group of Hostels around the world that have acquired this accredited certification.
WHERE DO YOU EAT IN AN ÓIGE YOUTH HOSTELS?
ARE THERE MEALS SERVED IN AN ÓIGE YOUTH HOSTELS?
An Óige Youth Hostels all have self-catering facilities of varying standards that are great for saving money as well as meeting people, and for some of our more remote hostels, they’re necessary to use if you want to eat a hot meal!! They usually have basic cooking utensils including pots, pans, and dishes.
Some of our hostels include breakfast in their price: Dublin International Hostel serves up a continental breakfast every morning in The Church Restaurant (a converted chapel on the hostel grounds complete with confession boxes!). You will also get a free continental/light breakfast at Errigal Youth Hostel and Sleepzone Galway City.
Most of our youth hostels will serve hot lunches, packed lunches and evening dinners to groups of 10+ people on request but you have to pre-order the meals in advance. Our hostels do have menus and reasonable rates and will cater for people with dietary requirements as best they can. If the hostel does not provide meals, they will be able to let you know the nearest café or restaurant that does, suitable to your budget.
Most of An Óige’s larger youth hostels have lockers so don’t forget to bring along a padlock to keep your valuable safe! If you forget a padlock many of our hostels will sell you one and some also have a safe/secure storage area if needed. If you need to store your luggage on the day you are checking out, many youth hostels will also have a safe luggage storage area – sometimes for a small fee but usually for free!
Theft is uncommon in An Óige youth hostels and we try to keep it that way so be sure to store any valuables safely and ask the hostel manager or staff if you need any help. Unfortunately, as with everywhere, theft may occur and if it does be sure to report it to staff immediately – although youth hostels are not responsible for lost or stolen items, we will do our best to help you find your missing item!
As mentioned above, it is customary that hostellers be aware and respect your fellow hostellers so An Óige Youth Hostels ask guests to respect the rights of the other guests staying there. As for rules, you should ask each youth hostel upon check-in what is expected of the guests but most youth hostels will have a list for you if you request it.
A curfew is a time by which all hostellers must be inside the hostel and usually in bed. Many hostels no longer have curfews. If you find yourself staying at a hostel with a curfew, however, and you return after the stated time you will find yourself sleeping outside!
WHAT IS A LOCKOUT?
A lockout is a time during the day when the hostel is closed. Usually this occurs so the hostel can be properly cleaned. In small hostels this is the only time the owners can leave their home to get out and do errands. Most of our youth hostels do not have lockouts.
DO I NEED TO MAKE A RESERVATION TO STAY AT AN ÓIGE HOSTEL?
We would always advise that you book your hostel in advance. Most of the hostels listed on our website can be booked online so that your bed is guaranteed before you get to your destination. If it is not possible for you to book in advance, it’s best to call ahead to see if reservations are required or accepted – particularly during peak holiday or festival season. It’s also best to plan to arrive in the morning. This gives you the best opportunity to get a bed and leaves you with options if the hostel is full or does not meet your expectations. This is particularly true if you are traveling to a popular city destination. At some hostels you can reserve for other hostels in advance. Inquire at the hostel you are staying at to see if they can make reservations at any other hostels for you. Then do your research and see if the hostel they recommend is somewhere that you would like to stay.
Basically you will need a very small amount of the same stuff you would normally travel with plus a couple of extra items. Then you will need something comfortable and practical to carry it all in. Pack Lightly! While hostelling you won’t find baggage porters, suitcase racks or hanging closet space. You will likely be traveling on public transportation and walking from place to place. Because hostels are in unique locations they are often not the most convenient places to get to. Traveling light is fundamental if you are going to have an enjoyable time. Most first time hostellers don’t believe this advice and almost always set out with too much stuff. Within the first couple of weeks they send most of it home.
Hostellers don’t bring a different item of clothing for each day of the week. Some clothes are often worn more than once before being washed in the local laundromat. In some cases the hostel may have clothes washing facilities. The easiest way to carry your stuff from place to place is with a backpack. This is the single most important piece of equipment for the long term hosteller. For this reason, when buying a backpack, don’t skimp. Find a store that will patiently let you try on lots of different packs. They are all sized and shaped differently so make sure it’s comfortable. Good backpack stores will have beanbags or other weights so you can try packs on with something inside. As already mentioned, you will probably want to bring a few items you might not bring when staying in hotels. The main ones are soap, a towel and a sleep-sheet.
CAN I USE A SLEEPING BAG?
Sorry, no! An Óige Youth Hostels do not allow sleeping bags. Sleeping bags have lots of tufts and seams, so it’s easy for bugs like ticks to get inside the sleeping bag while you are camping and later come out when you unroll the bag in the hostel. As hygiene is a priority in our youth hostels, we must insist that our guests do not use sleeping bags. Many of our hostels have blankets but we suggest you bring warm pajamas just in case!
WHAT DOES ‘ENSUITE’ MEAN?
Ensuite means there is a private bathroom in the room. If this is not indicated in the room type description, then it means the bathroom facilities are shared with other rooms.
A twin room is a private room with 2 single beds in it accommodating 2 people. A double room is a private room with one large bed accommodating 2 people.