Galloway Activity Centre

Hostelling FAQ's

We have tried to think of most questions we get asked. If there is anything else you need to know then please contact us for more details.


1. What is a Hostel?

Hostel is good quality budget accommodation that offers a comfortable night's sleep in friendly surroundings at an affordable price. All SIH Hostels offer self-catering. Hostels provide the perfect way to get to know a country at low cost and meet with many other people who share the same attitude towards travelling.

2. What is SIH?
SIH is Scottish Independent Hostels, a member-led Association of 125 independently-owned Hostels in Scotland.

3. How can I find out about employment opportunities?
SIH does not organise employment on behalf of its members therefore you should contact Hostels direct; some members provide information about vacancies which can be found on the website Jobs Page.

4. I'd like to open a Hostel or become affiliated to Scottish Independent Hostels, what do I need to do?
Hostels are welcome to join SIH as long as they are quality assured by Visit Scotland or sign up to the SIH Guest Review System. Please email for more information or visit our Start a Hostel Business page.

5. Do I have to become a member to stay in a Hostel?
There are no requirements for guests to take out a membership to stay in an SIH Hostel; people do get confused between the charity SYHA (which does have a membership requirement) and SIH, but they are two separate organisations.


6. Do I need to book accommodation in advance?
We recommend advance booking during high season and in popular destinations. Our website enables you to find Hostel accommodation and book direct with 125 independent Hostels throughout Scotland. Our accommodation search facility can help you make direct email contact with all Hostels in an area.

7. Can I book a private room?
In some Hostels you can book a private room, please enquire at the time of booking.


8. What kind of people use Independent Scottish Hostels?
SIH Hostels welcome people of all ages, backgrounds, origins and interests - first-time travellers, seasoned travellers, lone travellers or people in groups all find a warm welcome at a Scottish Independent Hostel.

9. Do age limits exist?
The majority of SIH Hostels are open to everyone. However age limits may apply for children in some city centre Hostels which are geared up for students or backpackers; check with the Hostel.

10. Can I bring a group to Hostels?
Many Hostels are particularly well equipped for groups and many offer exclusive use.


11. How much does it cost to stay overnight in a Hostel?
Costs vary from Hostel to Hostel, but always represent excellent value for money. Overnight fees are given for all SIH Hostels on their listing.

12. Will I have to sleep in a big dormitory?
Most Hostels offer a variety of sleeping accommodation. Big dormitories are often perfect for groups but most Hostels now offer single, twin and four-bedded rooms. Some offer ensuite rooms and ensuite dorms. Check when booking or use the Accommodation Search facility to find Hostels with your accommodation requirements

13. Do I need to bring my own sheets or towels?
Bedding is usually provided, although you may need to bring or hire sheets and/or towels in some Hostels so it is worth checking when booking.

14. What kind of facilities can I expect in an SIH Hostel?
The facilities within our Hostels are very varied as each one is independently owned. However, the common factor is the low cost of a bed and the provision of self-catering facilities. All our Hostels are either quality assured by Visit Scotland or are signed up to our SIH review system.

15. What kind of facilities are provided for disabled visitors?
Some Hostels provide access for wheelchair users, and specially adapted rooms are becoming more common. However, for specific details on the suitability of any Hostel's facilities for a particular disability please do discuss your requirements with the Hostel prior to booking.

16. Can I do my own cooking?
All Hostels provide self-catering facilities. Some Hostels also provide the option of meals in their own cafeteria and these represent excellent value for money.

17. Are Hostels open all day?
Generally, large city Hostels are open 24 hours per day, while others may have shorter opening hours, and some may close for a short period during the day.

18. Are Hostels open all year?
The majority of Hostels are open throughout the year though some of the smaller, more remote Hostels may be seasonal.

19. Are trips or activities organised at Hostels?
A number of Hostels offer a wide range of activities - from city tours to white water rafting. In addition, Hostel reception has valuable local knowledge and tourist information is usually available.

20. Will I have to help with chores?
This used to be the case with SYHA, but never with an Independent Hostel, the most you will be asked to do is hand in your bed linen when you leave, and ensure that you clear up after using self-catering facilities.

21. Who runs the Hostels?
Each SIH Hostel is run by an owner, a family or a manager. Very often the Hostel owner may have another occupation such as mountain guide, restaurateur, outdoor education instructor, teacher or have another related business in tourism.

22 Can I bring a dog with me?
Some Hostels will accept well behaved dogs but you should check in advance with the Hostel and make sure that there are no restrictions.

23. Still haven't answered your question?
If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email