Hostels are a fantastic way to meet people while you travel and are often the cheapest accommodation options available, which makes them popular with younger and solo travellers on longer trips. But do they work if you are travelling with the really young in tow? As with many things, the answer lies in doing your research. Many hostels are working hard to be super family-friendly, but some have more of a party reputation which may not suit the way you travel with your kids.
So, let’s find out…. are hostels kid-friendly?
The expert view
‘Many hostels are all about the family – there’s a reason they were called ‘youth’ hostels! These days the norm isn’t a dorm packed with snorers, but smart family rooms. Options range from rural castles to boutique city hubs; complete with board games, free wi-fi and cheap eats.’
Family travel blogger and hostel enthusiast Kirstie Pelling from the Family Adventure Project.
Our Twitter community says…
‘We’ve always found them to be really kid friendly but only if you have a private room as a shared dorm is not ideal with kids! Our kids have loved chatting to other guests and being inspired by their travels’ – @travelbugkeren
‘Ha – no idea! I think of my hostel days as being very separate from my kid travel’ – @TravelBabbo
Our Facebook fans say….
‘Some yes others no, you must do your research’ – Michelle Ford
‘Stayed with our 2 kids in a great family hostel in the Netherlands. In a castle, replete with moat! We had a quad room with 2 bunk beds. Some youth groups were using the hostel. We almost did a trip to another family friendly castle hostel in England that even had medieval costumes for the kids to try on!’ – Jane Wurster
‘Check in the conditions of stay- if they mention children’s items – cots etc then they are usually fine. The ones I’ve stayed in I’ve been happy with, but they’ve taken some finding.’ – Katie Ashton
The above comments and more family travel tips can be found on our Facebook feed.
And if you want to investigate further, try these helpful extra resources:
1) Ask a fellow family traveller what they think about staying in youth hostels with kids on the kids branch of our travel forum Thorn Tree.
2) Family travel bloggers Wyld Family Travel give you six reasons to stay in a hostel with kids in this post.
3) The comments in this post on staying in hostels by Flashpacker Family include some specific recommendations but also make the point that it’s not always cheaper.
4) The UK’s Youth Hostel Association has information for families including links to reviews by bloggers who have used the YHA.
5) Hostelworld’s blog provides an introduction to using hostels as a family.