Hostelling International-American Youth Hostels (HI-AYH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization founded in 1934 to promote international understanding of the world and its people through hostelling. HI-AYH operates a network of almost 125 hostel accommodations throughout the United States that are inexpensive, safe and clean. Hostels range from urban high-rise buildings with hundreds of beds to small hostels in rural
HI-AYH, in cooperation with other worldwide national associations, belongs to the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF). This entire network, known as Hostelling International, offers nearly 4,500 hostels in more than 70 countries. Hostelling International and the blue triangle with the tree and hut are the trademark and seal of approval of the IYHF, assuring travelers quality, affordable accommodations and travel programs worldwide.
HI-AYH is also associated with 34 councils throughout
the United States. These councils provide local members and visitors
with a wide range of special programs, events, trips and activities.
Many of these activities and programs are provided for the physically
challenged, disadvantaged youth and senior citizens.
Hostelling began when German school teacher, Richard Schirrmann, began taking his students on weekend field trips to the countryside for fresh air and interaction with nature. He was concerned about the health and welfare of his students growing up in a coal-mining town. School buildings, empty on weekends, were used for overnight accommodations. The concept of a network of student "youth hostels" was developed from this experience.
The hostelling movement grew quickly in Europe. In 1932, the first international meeting was held in Amsterdam and the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) was formed.
In 1934, Isabel and Monroe Smith opened the first
youth hostel in Northfield, Massachusetts. Within a year, more than
30 hostels were operating throughout New England. Today there are nearly
125 HI-AYH hostels throughout the United States. HI-AYH's mission is
"to help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding
of the world and its people through hostelling."
Directory of Western Region Hostels