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 Springs 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 memorable experience I’ve had while volunteering was, while on the 4T hike, one of the people became very worried about the banana slugs on the trail and began gently picking them up and moving them to one side. She only let herself stop when it became obvious there were way too many to move.
I enjoy volunteering at the hostel ‘cuz the travelers appreciate having a local person show them sights and events around Portland that they normally wouldn’t have experienced. And leading the 4T gets me out for some exercise and fresh air!!!
My favorite park is Powell Butte Nature Park on the eastside. It’s close to the city with a very rural feel and great views. Rocky Butte, also on the eastside, has a great 360 degree view of downtown and out toward the Columbia River gorge. The Doug Fir Lounge and Aladdin Theater are great music venues. For food, I enjoy downscale Mexican, such as Muchas Gracias and Don Pedro- both local chains.
It is always entertaining to witness people’s reaction upon encountering the large local slugs on the 4T trail during the fall and winter seasons. Well, I suppose that you could eat them…
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 from Leander, Texas which is 40 minutes outside of Austin. I went to college in Seattle & I have lived in Portland for a total of 4 years.
I enjoy contributing to others’ travel experiences by giving tours of my absolute favorite neighborhood in Portland, Nob Hill. I also get to meet & learn from some really cool hostelers who are as excited about traveling & backpacking as I am!
I enjoy doing many things in Portland but if I had to scale my list down I would include going to any festival happening at the Waterfront or Pioneer Square, taking in the beautiful views from Portland City Grill, reading or studying at a local cafe, enjoying an amazing Tamarind Sour at Pok Pok, shopping for quirky trinkets at Cargo, & going to yoga in the Pearl district.
I love running outside, The Grotto, & live music at McMenamins during the summer.
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.
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!
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.
Hi I’m Tipaya! My favorite thing about volunteering for the hostel is meeting new people. My most memorable experience on a tour was when I led a hike in the rain for four hours! And my favorite spot in Portland is my couch!
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 HI has provided me with many great opportunities, and I am happy to pay the favor forward. I also consider myself a fairly worldly girl, and participating in volunteer events through HI satisfies my need to feel like part of a global family.
One of my favorite volunteer memories is from a time I lead a group from the hostel to the Alberta Arts Walk in NE Portland. I look forward to this event every last Thursday in summertime, and it was so much fun to get to share the fun with folks from all over the world. Not only did I get to put my knowledge of Portland to use, but I had a great time getting to know and laugh with others over the crafts and dancing, and even got to practice my French (great motivation for me to volunteer)! I can’t wait for next summer just so I can do it all again…
My favorite spot in Portland is the Goodfoot Lounge over on SE Stark. They have two great bars, an awesome pool hall, groovy live music, and above all, host amazing art shows to promote the work of Portland’s starving artists (of which I am one). Plus, as an added bonus, they are right next to Bonfire, which has the best happy hour menu in Portland, hands down.
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.