Staying at a Hostel with Kids
By Vanessa Palencia
When it comes to traveling, hotels and Airbnb seem to be our top choices for accommodation. We tend to overlook staying at a hostel, either because we don’t know much about it, equate it to a dirty motel, heard of some horror stories, or perceive it as a much more inconvenient place to stay, especially if you have kids. However, hostels can be a much cheaper option than a hotel and can really give your kids the chance to meet travellers from all over the world; a perk definitely not offered if you choose Airbnb. So whether you’re trying to budget your vacation expenses, or want to broaden your child’s global interaction, you might want to check out a hostel for your next trip, and if you do, here are some things you should expect.
Any children under the age of 16 cannot stay in a dorm room with other people, so you will need to reserve a private room. It may be easier to call the hostels you are looking at to verify if they have any accommodations for you and your family because sometimes the website won’t tell you whether they have available private rooms, or if they even allow kids at all.
Don’t be surprised if you encounter smokers. Hostels are a place for travellers, so you’ll find people of all types from all over the world gathered in one area. Expect the unexpected.
Wash rooms are typically available, so you don’t have to fret over the possibility of your kids ruining all the clothes they packed for the trip. Just be aware of the operating times.
Some hostels offer complimentary breakfasts and others don’t. If you would prefer to stay in a hostel that offers complimentary breakfast, then make use of the search engine filters when searching for a hostel. The hostel we stayed at didn’t offer complimentary breakfast, but we were more willing to pay 4 pounds for each of us (total: 16 pounds) for a continental buffet breakfast than a varying 20-50 pounds for a heartier meal.
Depending on the hostel, you can usually find some variation of a game room. We had a pool table, foosball, and two driving arcade games, but other hostels may offer a movie room or other entertainment center. This can make your downtime more relaxed without boring your kids to death.
Similar to a hotel, you will find basic necessities available to you, such as towels and toilet paper. There is also daily housekeeping, so you can be sure that you will return to a clean room after a day of exploring. However, hostels are much more informal than a hotel, so don’t expect those sample-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner or hand soap.
Remember that your experience will vary depending on the hostel you stay at and the people that are there during your stay, but whichever hostel you choose to stay at, I would love to learn how it went, so comment about your experience below!