How to put together a group getaway at a youth hostel

People in front of the Malbaie hostel

A weekend getaway with the girls, an adventure with the guys, a couple’s trip or a family vacation, group trips are meant to be shared experiences that you will always remember. Why not make this next adventure even more memorable by choosing a youth hostel for your group’s accommodation?

If you’re already a fan of the youth hostel experience, you know that what sets hostels apart from other accommodations is their “everyone’s welcome” vibe and their opportunities to meet other adventurers. Much more than a simple place to spend the night, youth hostels offer the ideal opportunity to explore, share and create new friendships.

The ultimate goal of a group getaway is to celebrate good times and make new memories together. So we’ve got a few tips to make your trip unforgettable.

Destination, schedule, budget and travel preferences!

Planning the schedule

To plan a trip for the gang, the first step is to find out everybody’s availability. You’ll need to collect everyone’s available days on a calendar and note the overlapping times when everybody’s free.

Finding the best timeframe for everybody helps determine the destination. For example, you won’t fly for 20 hours to spend only three nights in Thailand. The goal is to find the balance between travel time and destination time. If the schedule is tight, there’s no need to cross the world to get away from it all. With so many beautiful places to discover in Quebec and Ontario, your gang has no shortage of local adventures to make memories with.

Trois personnes dans un train

Planning transport

One advantage of traveling as a group is having greater resources than traveling alone. If one of you has a vehicle or a driver’s license to rent one, then you’ve got the option of a road trip. You can hit more destinations on a freer schedule, leaving just one difficult decision each morning: who rides shotgun?

But you don’t need a vehicle for real adventure! Check the destinations accessible by bus and train for inspiration. You’ll be surprised by the interesting places you can explore without the hassle of driving. A deck of cards can come in handy (read on for more about games). Bus or train trips can be adventures of their own!

Ballpark the budget

Discuss each person’s budget transparently to get an idea of the comfortable budget range for everybody. Some may have the means and the taste for higher-end experiences, while others prefer to count their cents and rough it. With everything from beds in dormitories to private rooms, the great thing about hostels is they offer a great solution for all budgets. Once you’ve got a ballpark group budget, you can negotiate the best solutions for everybody.

Balance everybody’s tastes and desires

Once you have the destination and accommodation settled, you’ll want to take the time for a group discussion of potential activities. Some popular touristy activities need to be booked in advance, while others, like museum or gallery visits, offer free admission on a certain time and day. Schedule a few things, but not too many. Not everybody is into ziplining or exploring local history, but they’ll be less likely to bail on an activity if they don’t feel overscheduled. Leaving room on the group itinerary leaves space for solo time as well as inspired group decisions in the middle of the trip.

Hostel vibes: nights on the town or calm, cozy evenings.

Not all youth hostels are alike. Some have a reputation as places to party, while others offer a more chilling-in-nature vibe. Make sure to choose hostel accommodation that’s appropriate for your group.

When visiting Quebec’s regions, if you’re ready to cut loose until sunrise, go for a hostel in the heart of the action like the Sea Shack with its legendary live music shows. If you prefer tranquil evenings, consider the Rivière-du-Loup International Hostel or the Griffon Adventure Hostel.

Dormitories or private rooms?

The big question is: does the group prefer shared dormitories or private rooms? The choice makes as big a difference in budget as it does in experience. Are you a social group who wants to share the travel excitement with fellow adventurers and meet new people? Then dorms may be ideal (but keep in mind that some youth hostels have only mixed dormitories, while others separate the sexes). For an intimate group experience, you may prefer shared rooms, while some may even want the privacy of their own room.

Whatever the composition of your group, youth hostels can offer the perfect mix to suit the memories you plan to make.

Communal kitchens

One of the unique features of youth hostels is their shared kitchens! If your group is on a tight budget, you can prep some meals and save on eating out three times a day. Are you traveling to celebrate an anniversary or birthday? For an intimate group experience, you can cook up a celebratory dinner just like you would at home. And if you’re a social gang, you can prepare a big pot of spaghetti and welcome others to join you.


Another great feature that many youth hostels offer is the option to work while traveling. The Saintlo Montreal hostel offers coworking spaces for those who have to work and play during their stay. If during the planning stage someone in the group says they cannot take time off work, perhaps they can arrange to work remotely.

Use technology to make coordinating easier

Create a Messenger or WhatsApp group to remain in contact before, during and after the trip. These kinds of social apps are the best way to send, share and collect all the photos that you’ve taken in one place. And try bill-sharing applications like Splitwise and Plates to manage bills for your group activities and meals.

Designate a leader

To avoid any chaos, choose a person to be responsible for booking the accommodations, coordinating the activities and acting as the contact person in case of emergencies. When you book a group at Saintlo member hostels, they will ask for such a representative in order to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

If you’re taking the time to read this article, there’s a strong chance that you’re the best person to take charge!

Group discounts

Many attractions and youth hostels offer group rates. When researching activities, check the websites to find how to reach them to discuss group offers. You’ll find this option at plenty of hostels, like Saintlo Montreal.

Une personne à l'ordinateur sur le site de Saintlo

Bonding activities: games and dressing up

Don’t forget to bring games with you! From cards and board games during cozy evenings or train trips, to beach games, a little friendly competition really brings a group together. The festive Sea Shack Hostels usually offer plenty of ready-to-go activities that you don’t need to book in advance.

Get creative and costume up! Dressing up is another great way to bring a group together. Why not coordinate some clothing ideas before everybody packs for the trip, like matching outfits or a “dîner en blanc” where everybody dines while dressed all in white. For a 90s girl evening, pack retro crop-tops and spandex leggings, for the Holidays, colourful, tacky sweaters, or try t-shirt roulette, where everybody brings a hilarious t-shirt for another member of the group. You’re sure to snap great photos to immortalize the evening!

Ready for a legendary adventure?

Simplify your group getaway with Saintlo! For groups of ten or more staying at Saintlo Ottawa Jail and Saintlo Montreal hostels, planning of your trip will be made easy from start to finish. All you need to do is contact them at [email protected] and fill out their form to take advantage of special rates, with a super flexible cancellation and booking policy and personalized support every steps of the way.

Youth hostels are made for group adventures, whether your getaway is a road trip, an urban excursion in Montreal or a natural escapade in Gaspésie. When you travel with a group of people you care about, you strengthen your relationships and create more memories to cherish in the future. Try a youth hostel group getaway and you may end up making it a regular routine!

Groupe de personnes sur la plage au couché de soleil

With a super flexible cancellations and booking policy and personalized support every steps of the way