Volunteers are an essential part of the hostelling movement, playing a key role in sharing their own life experiences and passion for travel with hostellers locally and from around the world. Hostelling International volunteers are vital contributors to the future of hostelling by providing innovative ideas, resources, as serving as hostelling ambassadors in their local communities.
Below you will find more information on the activities program and how to get involved as a volunteer.
My new favorite spot in Portland is the balcony next to the top of the Aerial Tram. For eating, I enjoy the Vista Spring Cafe, all of the McMenamin’s Pubs, Cha Cha Cha’s, Stanich’s (in my opinion, the best burger in Portland), Industrial Cafe over on Vaughn and “The Deck” out on the Columbia River. My favorite parks are Overlook Park on Interstate, Forest Park right at the end of Thurman and the park at the top of Council Crest (what a coincidence that it’s on the 4T hike).
One of my most memorable experiences with the hostel was while I was leading a 4T hike. Three young women from England were on the hike with me and we had such a good time together that the next day we all went up into the Columbia Gorge together and went on a beautiful hike up there. We even exchanged emails so we could send each other pictures that we took.
I like volunteering because I simply enjoy walking around Portland and getting to share some history with visitors. Another plus to volunteering is meeting people and hearing about their own towns and countries. Here in Portland, I enjoy hiking in Forest Park (especially on hot days), walking around the Willamette River Esplanade and then recuperating at Newport Seafood Grill’s happy hour on the patio, and browsing in Powell’s Bookstore.
I am not a native Oregonian, but I am a West Coaster. I’ve lived in Alaska, California, Washington, and I’ve been in Oregon about ten years now.
I love volunteering because while I traveled it was very rare to find a hostel that offered their own tours/activities, and even more rare that those activities would be free! Volunteering is a way for me to give back for all the great experiences I had in hostels around the world. Plus, I get to meet travelers and take them on fun activities around Portland.
A memorable experience I had while leading an activity was when I took a group to see Trek in the Park. Although the event was advertised as a live performance of a Star Trek episode in the park, at least half the group that signed up thought we were going on a hike or trek in a park. But everyone still had a great time despite the confusion.
My favorite spot in Portland would be the food carts. I love the variety of ethnic foods made by the people from those countries. There is so much variety, you could eat something different everyday for a year. I also love Portland’s happy hours, hiking in Washington and Forest Park, and Portland’s vibrant music scene. Doug Fir and Mississippi Studios are my favorite spots to catch a show.
Mike and Mary
Our favorite part of volunteering at the hostel is having a chance to meet people from all over the world with different backgrounds and show them, discuss with them, and get their perspective on Portland and their travels as a whole. We volunteer for the hostel because we both love to travel and have stayed in many hostels. We believe hostels provide an excellent opportunity for people to come together and learn from one another and by participating in our local hostel we feel we can help better introduce travels to the fabric of Portland.
The most memorable event we have led was the “Snowpocalypse” pub crawl. We got to take the hostelers through the deserted, snow covered streets of Portland on a quest for the few open bars.
We both can agree that our three favorite places in Portland are: LaurelThirst Public House, one of the best pubs around for live music. Director Park, a great urban park with tables where you can enjoy a coffee and a book or a good conversation. Tugboat Brewing Company, one of Portland’s smaller breweries where books and games line the walls.
I enjoy volunteering at the hostel because it’s so much fun! I look forward to my scheduled activities and it’s so rewarding to bring people together.
That being said, one memorable experience I have from leading a brewery tour is when two people who met on one of my tours actually ended up dating! Not only that, but it’s great to witness people becoming friends that might not have met otherwise, or even seeing some people and assuming they were traveling together, only to realize they just met during the activity.
I can’t narrow my favorite spot in Portland down to one place! But I will say Sauvie Island is beautiful, food carts are a blessing, and Portland has the best happy hours.
I love volunteering because I get to lead fun events that bring people together. Traveling breaks down so many barriers, but having a common activity to bring a bunch of strangers together really helps build long-lasting connections. I’m just tickled to see people making friends on my tours! I also really love staying connected to the travel community year-round, and showing people around the city I’m so proud to call home!
The first activity I ever did at the hostel was a kitchen connection with another volunteer. We had the simplest task in the world- thaw and heat a large quantity of minestrone soup. Unfortunately we did so on high heat, and managed to burn the soup! I didn’t even think that was possible. A disturbing burnt smell was wafting through the kitchen and halls as hungry travelers amassed with curious expressions to investigate their dinner. We ended up ditching the soup and quickly making pasta with tomato sauce- what seemed like the most boring dinner ever. To my surprise, instead of revolting and ordering a pizza, the guests were incredibly sweet and complimentary of our two ingredient dinner. We sat at a community table, and everyone had an awesome night. It wasn’t about the food, it was about the people.
My favorite spot in Portland is the Rose Test Garden when it’s in bloom. I love to wander through hundreds of varietals of roses laid out on a gorgeous slope- it feels like a magical kingdom in the middle of the city.
I love volunteering for the hostel because I like seeing Portland through the eyes of a visitor and finding new things to enjoy, or new ways to enjoy old things. As a traveler I like to find things that aren’t listed in travel books and blogs, and as a volunteer I can share those things with visitors, for free!
My most memorable experience volunteering would probably be the time I had over 20 people on my pub crawl. Two very memorable things happened that night. First, I got lost on the way to the first brew pub. Second, throughout the course of the night we were actually able to be accommodated every place we went.
The hostel is located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Portland, there is plenty to do and see and right next to all the classic downtown tourist stuff. However, if you have time and want to venture out a bit, definitely check out inner Southeast Portland. I always recommend that visitors check out the Belmont, Hawthorne, and Division areas. This is where some of the more exciting things in regards to brewing, distilling, wine making, and eating are happening in town.
Plus, the Hoyt Arboretum also can’t be missed for nature fans. Portland has its own redwood forest in the city!
Hi I’m Tipaya! My favorite thing about volunteering for the hostel is meeting new and interesting people. My most memorable experience on a tour was when I led a hike in the rain for four hours in winter! And my favorite spot in Portland is Mirror Lake, Waterfront Park and 23rd area!
I love to travel, and when traveling I enjoy spending time with locals. Volunteering at the hostel gives me a chance to change up roles and welcome visitors to Portland. I love living here and showing visitors some of my favorite places. Volunteering with Kitchen Connection lets me try out some classic recipes and celebrate holidays. Dirty rice and jambalaya for Mardi Gras and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving! Who knows what’s next- maybe a jello cool whip American Flag Cake for the 4th of July! It’s been fun explaining some of our food traditions to visitors from afar. My favorite places in Portland are Powell’s Books, Oregon Zoo and any of our fantastic brunch locations (too many favorites to pick one)
I actually used to live & work at the hostel, and really enjoyed being immersed in a community of travelers. I didn’t want to give it all up when I moved out, so I decided to volunteer as a way of maintaining my connection with that world (and well, the whole world, really).
One of my favorite events is the community kitchen. Everyone loves food, and it’s joy to prepare a home-style meal which then gets shared among strangers in a family-like atmosphere.
My 3 favorite places in Portland would have to include: the Goodfoot Lounge (yes for pool & dancing but also…for drink’n’draw every Sunday night), the Alberta Arts district for local art, and Mississippi Studios/Bar Bar for great burgers and awesome live shows.
Every time I have traveled overseas I’ve chosen to stay at hostels. The hostels I’ve stayed at were absolutely amazing; a great way to meet other travelers, see sights, offer affordable and clean lodging, the list goes on and on. I volunteer because it’s a chance for me to give back to all of those hostels I have stayed at over the years. It’s also a great way to make new friends while never having to leave my own city! I really enjoy the Pub Crawls (who doesn’t?). The chance to drink excellent local beer, see some of the best areas of Portland, and have great conversation are three of my favorite things. My three favorite things in Portland are Helium Comedy Club, walking on Alberta Street, and East Burn (bar and pub).
Here is our current schedule of events. Click on the event name in the calendar to find out more information. Below the calendar are descriptions of our most common activities.
Become a Volunteer
We are always looking for new volunteers to join our volunteer team and show travelers the unique side of Portland.
Are you outgoing? Do you enjoy exploring Portland? Are you interested in leading a group of international travelers on a variety of activities, including walking tours, pub crawls, hikes, outdoor concerts, festivals and more?? We are looking for you! Contact our Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Information for Current Volunteers
Below is the unscheduled events calendar. Please take a look at what activities are available to lead for the current month.
Contact Catherine with any questions.