Hostels in Barcelona are always looking for staff, from full-time employees to part-time volunteers. If you’re looking for hostel jobs in Barcelona you’re in the right place! I’ll help you find work in some of the best Barcelona hostels, whether you live here and need a job, or if you want a way to travel and work as you go.
Volunteering & Work Exchanges at Hostels in Barcelona
For backpackers, budget travellers, and budding digital nomads, work exchanges are a great way to extend your travels and save money on accommodation. Work exchanges mean that you work in exchange for accommodation and other benefits, giving your time and skills for a few hours a day for a free bed for the night.
There are plenty of other benefits to volunteering in hostels too, as well as tangible things like accommodation that are always included, you may get some meals for free, free tours or activities in the city that the hostel organizes, free bike hire and other benefits.
Another major benefit of this kind of volunteering position is being able to spend more time in Barcelona. The longer you spend here, the more you’ll get to know the city and explore beyond the typical tourist spots, becoming friends with your fellow workers, neighbours and feeling like part of the community.
You’ll also learn a lot about Catalan and Spanish culture, as well as learning lots about the people you work with – who could be from all over the world. This kind of cultural exchange is a really important part of travel and changes how you see the world.
How to Find Volunteer Work in Barcelona Hostels
Some hostels in Barcelona may advertise their job vacancies on their website or social media, or on the noticeboard inside the hostel – and you can do it the old-fashioned way and go and ask someone who already works there.
That’s great if you are already in Barcelona, but if you prefer to arrange a placement before you go, then a work exchange website is the easiest and safest way to do that.
Bear in mind that Barcelona hostel jobs over the summer will be in high demand as students and travellers all want to spend time in this wonderful city. You may have more chance of securing work if you come to Barcelona in the shoulder or off-season when students are back at college.
If you want your application to really stand out, check out this guide to getting your dream work exchange job, with tips on how to find the best work exchange opportunities, how to rock your application and what to do once you’ve secured a placement.
Work Exchange Platforms
However, these hostel jobs will not be for paid work, they are for more casual agreements that could also be seen as cultural exchanges, which means you shouldn’t need a work visa to be able to do it.
That said, you should always check if Spain requires you to have a work visa, even for volunteer work like this. When you arrive in Spain if immigration at the airport asks you why you are coming here, unless you have a paid job lined up and a work visa, it is probably best to say you are here for tourism to avoid any confusion.
Worldpackers in Barcelona
My preferred exchange website is Worldpackers. It is free to join and browse available positions, then you need to become a paying member in order to contact potential hosts and arrange placements.
Some of the placements you can find for hostel work in Barcelona include:
- Work as a cook and activity person on the night shift at Fabrizzio’s Hostel (one of my personal favourite hostels in Barcelona) working for 22 hours a week with 4 days off >> READ MORE
- Work as a housekeeper & cleaner at Primavera Hostel, working for 20 hours a week with 2 days off >>READ MORE
- Work as a kitchen hand and housekeeper at Casa Camp Nou Hostel, working for 25 hours a week with 2 days off >>READ MORE
Alternatively, if you decide you don’t want to work in a hostel in Barcelona, there are plenty of other volunteer jobs you can do – take a look at all Worldpackers job opportunities in Barcelona here.
Why I Recommend Worldpackers
Worldpackers is unique among work exchange sites because of the level of support they offer to members. They have several safety measures in place including 24/7 support to volunteers and hosts, through a dedicated email address on the website to get in touch, or through their app.
All hosts go through a verification process before they are approved to welcome volunteers and should you need to leave a placement due to the host not honouring your exchange agreement, Worldpackers offer their “Worldpackers Insurance” which covers the cost of a bed in a nearby hostel dorm for 3 nights until they find you an alternative placement.
Earn Money with Worldpackers
Another huge benefit of Worldpackers is the chance to actually earn money while you travel with Worldpackers Programs. Once you have completed some work exchanges on Worldpackers you can get paid to share advice with other travellers and for creating video or blog content about your experiences. Not only does Worldpackers save you money on accommodation but it can pay for the rest of your travels too!
I’ve used Worldpackers to volunteer and I love the site and how easy it was to find a placement and get a quick response from hosts compared to previous experiences I’ve had with Workaway. Check out my full review of my Worldpackers experience on Tales of a Backpacker to find out what I got up to.
Barcelona Workaway Placements
Workaway is the largest and best-known work exchange website, so I also wanted to mention it here. They have a large number of volunteer placements available all around the world – including hostel jobs in Barcelona – but because of the popularity of the site, it can be difficult to get a response from hosts due to the sheer number of volunteers who contact them.
I much prefer volunteering through Worldpackers because I have never had an issue getting a response from hosts on Worldpackers, and I find their support and added extras like the Worldpackers Programs to be better value for money – especially with this discount code.
However, if you decide to register with Workaway, you’ll get 3 months extra free if you use this link.
Paid Hostel Jobs in Barcelona
To find paid work in Barcelona you need to be legally able to work, so either a work visa or be a European resident. Sadly, since Brexit, British people are not eligible to work in Spain unless they have a specific work visa or live in Barcelona and have the correct paperwork to allow work here.
Unemployment in Spain is around 18%, so there may be strong competition for jobs in Barcelona, but if you’re fluent in English and can speak Spanish (or Catalan) then that puts you in a good position for hospitality jobs.
How to Find Hostel Work in Barcelona
If you are allowed to work in Barcelona and want to work in a hostel, there are various ways you can find available positions.
Contact Hostels Directly
Some hostels may advertise job vacancies on their website or social media, so do some research on the best hostels in Barcelona and see if they are hiring staff. Don’t be afraid to go into the hostel and check the noticeboard or speak to one of the members of staff on reception to see if there are any vacancies.
Sant Jordi Hostels for example have a dedicated page on their website for jobs at their three hostels in Barcelona, including an application form to complete.
Generator Hostel is part of a large chain of hostels, and they advertise current vacancies on their website for everything from chefs to reservations executives and front office staff at all of their locations around the world.
Hostel One is a chain with hostels in several cities in Europe and four hostels in Barcelona – Sants, Batllo, Ramblas and Paralelo. They are all highly rated by travellers so should be a great place to work too. They advertise on Workaway for paid positions if you are able to work legally in Europe, and have a contact form to complete on their website (right at the bottom, click on Be Part of Team).
I found these websites easily with a quick Google search, but there may well be more. You could work your way through a list of hostels in Barcelona and check each of their hostel websites in turn, which takes longer than browsing job websites but you could find some jobs that aren’t advertised anywhere else.
Barcelona Job Websites
As well as checking with individual hostels, you can try hostel job websites to see if any hostel positions are listed as available.
I tried a website called hosteljobs.net but found that the listings hadn’t been updated for several years so I wouldn’t recommend that!
Hosteleo is a Spanish job website specific to the hospitality industry, so you can find work in hostels, hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. It is in Spanish, so if you’re fluent you’ve already got a head start on anyone who doesn’t speak much Spanish.
Turijobs is another hospitality-specific job board, and while the website has a Spanish and English version, most of the vacancies I saw were written in Spanish.
For general Barcelona job listings, take a look at Indeed, which also lists available positions in any industry.
Jooble also collates listings from several job websites so you can see various positions that are available.
Use LinkedIn to see if any of your connections know people who may be able to recommend you for any positions. LinkedIn can be a really powerful way to connect with employers in Barcelona, especially if you already have experience in the industry.
There are also various groups on LinkedIn where you can look for work, such as ex-pat groups like Guiri Business Network which covers the whole of Spain or Barcelona Jobs group which is specific to the city.
Facebook can also be a place to find opportunities, but do be wary of scams and spam posts. There are groups that are supposed to be specifically for finding and advertising jobs in Barcelona (just search for Barcelona Jobs on Facebook) but a lot of the posts seemed a bit dodgy to me!
You might have more luck in groups such as Barcelona Expats and Locals or the American Society of Barcelona which have more general advice about living in Barcelona with some job listings. However, overall I’d recommend LinkedIn over Facebook for finding work.
Where are the Best Hostels in Barcelona to Work?
There are a lot of hostels in Barcelona, so hopefully, you’ll be able to find work in at least one of them. But if you have a choice between several hostels (lucky you!) which one should you choose?
First of all, take a look at what work you are expected to do. Is it the night shift? Will you be cleaning rooms and toilets or welcoming guests at the reception?
Then, see what benefits you will get. If it is a paid hostel job, how much will you earn? If it is a volunteer position, how many hours are you expected to work, and what benefits will you get in return? Also, make sure you read the reviews from previous volunteers.
Finally, which hostel is it? If it is clear from the information on the job advertisement which hostel it is, take a look at the reviews on Hostelworld. Chances are, a hostel with good reviews will also be a good place to work. You might also want to see what kind of hostel it is – some have a reputation for being party hostels, while others are more chilled out.
What Does it Take to Work in a Hostel?
Before becoming a travel blogger I worked in the hospitality industry for years, including working for Marriott Hotels in their events team, and then while travelling I worked in several hostels doing work exchanges. I had a job as a hostel manager, interviewing and managing the team of hostel volunteers.
If you’ve never worked in a hostel before, you should think carefully if it is the right job for you. Working in a hostel in Barcelona or anywhere in the world can be great fun, but it is still a job – don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all play and no work!
Some of the key skills and abilities that hostels will look for include:
- Speaking different languages – Spanish and English are usually preferred but other languages will be beneficial for interactions with hostel guests.
- Self-motivation and enthusiasm
- Being friendly, fun and easy-going
- Previous experience in the hostel or hospitality industry will be a plus, as well as other experience like managing a team or working in other countries.
- High level of organization
- Responsible, proactive and creative so you can handle any situation you might come across!
I loved my time working in hostels, although it can get tiring when you’re volunteering as you sleep where you work, and guests will often ask you things when you’re not officially working. But that’s all part of the job, and getting to enjoy the city in your time off will more than make up for it I’m sure!
Good luck finding a hostel job in Barcelona, you’re going to love it!