Planning a family getaway but don’t want to break the bank? Have you considered staying in a hostel? Wondering if the youth hostels you stayed in during your backpacker days are suitable for a family to stay in too?
Hostels are a great way to save money, but can they accommodate families? Yes! Hostels can be great for families to stay in, but unlike your 20s, you need to be more selective about where you decide to book.
Staying at a hostel can be intimidating, especially when travelling with kids. But rest assured, there are plenty of friendly hostels out there ideally prepared to accommodate a family.
The best hostels offer a great way to travel on a budget and meet like-minded people, and with the right research, you can find one that’s perfect for your family’s needs.
This guide to staying in hostels with kids will provide all the information your family will need. We’ll cover what hostels are, how to look for family friendly options, where to book a hostel and how to make the most of your stay. So read on and prepare to experience a unique and unforgettable vacation!
What is a Hostel?
A hostel is a lower-priced inn offering basic, shared accommodations. It is designed to be a social hub for travellers, featuring shared dorm rooms and budget-friendly private rooms catering to solo travellers and families. Hostels usually organize activities like movie nights, barbecues, and sightseeing tours to encourage guests to mingle and have fun. However, events and activities vary from hostel to hostel.
Guests rent a bed in a dorm, usually a bunk bed, with some hostels offering private rooms that are more appropriate for kids and family travellers. Hostels are much cheaper than hotels, typically costing a fraction of what one would pay for a hotel room.
This makes hostels an ideal balance of affordability and socialization for travellers looking for an immersive experience on the road. Making them a great option for many families looking for an inexpensive way to travel together.
Are There Family-Friendly Hostels?
Yes, there are many family-friendly hostels available for travelling families to enjoy. These hostels often provide private rooms with ensuites, have full kitchens for cooking onsite, and even have cots, high chairs, and are more designed for families to stay. Some hostels may even offer special activities for families depending on the time of year you visit.
You can find these family-friendly hostels by searching for reviews and checking listings online with sites like HostelWorld and Booking.com. While not as common as the standard type of hostels you often find around the world, with a bit of research, finding a hostel that is a perfect fit for your family is possible.
Hostels aren’t just targeting the backpacker market these days. As travel has evolved, so have they so you can have the best family getaway without the hotel price tag.
Can You Stay in Hostels With Kids?
Yes, families can stay in hostels with kids. It can be a great way to experience new cultures and have an immersive social travel experience. It is important to look for family-friendly hostels with rooms suitable for your family’s size and needs and to read the reviews carefully.
Hostels are often equipped with bunk beds, which can be great fun for kids, and some private hostel rooms come with private bathrooms that make things more comfortable. Connecting with other families who have stayed in a hostel before can be a great way to get tips and advice on what kind of hostel would be best for your family.
Just be aware that some hostels only provide cubicle bathrooms for mixed genders. While they accommodate children, other guests in the hostel may be less aware of your kids running around if you are travelling with young children. It’s best to take extra care when mingling with others in common areas until you get a feel for the place. While you know your children, others may be less accommodating.
How to Look for Family-Friendly Hostels
Finding family-friendly hostels can be tricky to find, but they are becoming more and more common. With a little research and careful consideration, it doesn’t have to be hard. To ensure the best possible experience, travellers should take the time to check out ratings and reviews, look for unisex rooms and private bathrooms, and connect with other families who stay at hostels for advice.
Additionally, it’s important to avoid party hostels entirely as they are known for rowdy behaviour. These are not suitable for families. These steps allow you to find the perfect hostel for your next family vacation.
It can be good to join online groups or communities of other families who travel cheaply or regularly stay in hostels to source tips on where to stay around the world. Nothing trumps first-hand hostel experience from other families who’ve stayed somewhere before.
Opt for a Private Room or Family Room
When staying in a hostel with kids, booking a private room or family room, if available, is typically the best option. Private rooms provide more space and privacy, making you and your family more comfortable. Plus, you’ll want to avoid sharing bathrooms with strangers if possible, if not for your sake, then for the kids who might need to pee at night or are shy and do not want to shower, amongst others.
For those who travel with older kids, you may be able to manage in a normal 4 person dorm room, saving you even more money.
When booking a private room, check the hostel’s website or email them to ensure the room includes a private ensuite bathroom if they offer one. These make enjoying the hostel with your kids a LOT easier.
Read Reviews Carefully
When looking for a family-friendly hostel, it’s important to read reviews very carefully. Look specifically for reviews written by other families and consider the demographic each hostel is marketing to. Booking a hostel with kids means you want to stay away from the nightclub district, in a quieter neighbourhood usually guarantees a more peaceful stay. Alternatively, if you have older kids, a city center location can still work and allow you to be closer to restaurants and other activities.
You can also research your chosen hostel and see if they include lockers, 24-hour security, and good locks on the room doors. You are looking for anything that will tell you the hostel is a good fit for your family to stay in. It can also be worth contacting the hostel directly with any concerns you cannot verify by researching online.
Connect with Other Families
Connecting with other families is a great way to ensure you stay in a family-friendly hostel. Not only will you be able to get more information from people who have already stayed at the hostel, but you will also be able to make new friends.
Social media can be a great place to start your search for other family travel tips or families who have stayed in the same hostel. Many Facebook groups and bloggers have online communities for travellers looking to connect. This is an excellent way to get a real insight into the hostels abroad and ensure you find one that fits your family well.
Hostels are for Everyone
Hostels are a great accommodation option for everyone, regardless of their travel budget or family size. From single travellers looking to meet new people to larger families seeking an affordable place to stay, hostels can provide a comfortable and secure environment.
Many hostels offer private rooms and dorms, so families can spread out and enjoy their own space. Some even have special family-friendly amenities like play areas for the kids and extra beds for larger groups. By carefully researching reviews and opting for a private room, families can ensure that their stay in a hostel is comfortable and safe.
Still Unsure if a Hostel is Right for your Family Holiday?
Staying in a hostel as a family can be a great experience that you won’t forget. Hostels offer a unique atmosphere and plenty of amenities for families on a budget. Do your research, opt for a private room if possible and read reviews carefully to ensure the hostel suits your family.
Connecting with other families who have stayed in the hostel can also be helpful. While certain risks are associated with staying in hostels, they are not insurmountable, and plenty of family-friendly hostels are out there. So don’t be afraid to give it a try!