6 reasons staying in a hostel is good for your kids

Party, party, party is what most people think when they think of staying in a hostel on a trip. When the idea was first bought up as a way to save money while travelling it was a hard no from me. There was no way I thought staying in hostels with kids was a great idea.

Well, I was wrong. It turns out I was very wrong. Hostels have come such a long way since the party days and are now one of the top accommodation options for families travelling on a budget. I am sure there are plenty of hostels out there still aimed at that market but if you pick your hostel well you are in for a brilliant family stay.

What is a hostel?

A hostel used to be low cost shared accommodation where travellers who are on a budget or looking to connect with fellow travellers would stay. Normally you will find dormitory style accommodation in a hostel with either single sex or mixed sex rooms.

Travellers would opt for this style of accommodation especially if they are solo travelling or travelling on a budget. Many hostels have common rooms for meeting new people, fully equipped kitchens to use, laundry and social nights.

Staying in hostels with kids

As I have said above young people would be known to stay in hostels for the party side of the accommodation. Now you will find that while you can still party there are a few more hostels that are marketed at families.

With changing markets, more budget travellers of different ages, long term travel trends and the rise in family travel, hostels have changed to include family-friendly hostel rooms with private bathrooms, activities and common areas.

staying in hostels with kids
Friendly staff with plenty of budget tourist ideas, a perfect kid-friendly hostel

Why are hostels for families a great option?

Not only will you have an area to stretch out in like the common room you can prepare some of your favourites from home, get some washing done and most of all connect with other travelling families.

We have found that there are so many positives from staying in a hostel with kids that we do try to stay in hostels now when we can. Here are some of the reasons why we have chosen to stay in a hostel with family on many occasions now.

Kid friendly hostels allow them to talk to other people

After travelling with your family for a while you can become extremely boring to one another. You already know everything about them and now they are just becoming really annoying.

When we stayed in a hostels with our kids we watched as our daughters talked to other people about what they had been doing and where they had been. Whoever they were talking to were sharing their own tales. It was great to see our travelling teens interact with people older than themselves but on a level, they probably did not expect from girls their age.

Related posts: We know because we go. More amazing hostels for families

They traded stories with people much older than themselves

Willow can strike up a conversation with most people but Marley struggles. It surprised me that they both were happy to talk to other people about where they had been and where they were going. This also allowed us to join in the conversation too. Which led to us talking about something other than Minecraft and YouTube! It also helped the girls think about places they would like to go when they are older. There were so many stories of places they had not heard of. They both had a great time learning about those places and they were even able to give some tips to other travellers!

staying in hostels with kids
Marley chatting with David from England.

Both the girls have been to a few countries but for some reason, they were drawn to people where they had not been. They asked plenty of questions some extra cringe-worthy but most were happily answered…even the really cringe-worthy ones! This social interaction is only possible when hosteling with kids in a friendly environment.

Location, Location, Location

Some of the best hostels for families are in the best places in the city. Little legs can get tired and there's nothing worse than a tired, cranky kid. Being in central locations most hostels will also be in backpacker areas so there is always a cheaper place to eat around. This can be great for travelling families as most kids love simple meals if you don't feel like cooking at the hostel for the night.

staying in hostels with kids
Activities and space is plentiful in today's Hostels

There are kid friendly activities at friendly family hostels

One of the best things about the hostels are the games that they had or the games rooms. The girls played bocce, giant Jenga and at one stage even let loose on the dance floor! It was great to see them up and doing something rather than having their heads stuck in the iPads all the time when we were having some downtime downstairs. Yes, this staying in hostels with kids was working out. Hosteling with kids, who would have thought.

We also found that many place now have a bookshelf with books you can trade when you are staying at the hostel. While some of them were a little old for the girls there were some that I could swap out for too. Hopefully as more travelling families stay in hostels with children the bookshelves will get more reading material for younger people.

How can staying in a hostel with family help me?

Hostels these days serve as a one-stop-shop for all things tourist. Besides providing a room and place to stay most will have their own tour booking service. You may be able to hire bikes and scooters from them. They will certainly have maps and all the information you need about local public transport, where to eat and what to see.

While there are plenty of activities that are aimed at the younger clientele you can always ask for different activities and most of the time there will be a staff member more than happy to help you find something that the while family will enjoy.

Do we recommend staying in a hostel with kids?

For me a room with a private bathroom is a better option. Having two girls in the family we are always off to the toilet, so I prefer a room with a bathroom so I don't have to go with the girls all the time. We travel as a family of four so a room to ourselves is not usually a problem.

For us, staying in hostels with kids was really positive. We found that everyone was respectful when there were kids around. Swearing was kept to a minimum and there were plenty of apologies if they didn't realise. Maybe we were lucky with the groups staying there but for us and a sceptic like myself we would not hesitate in staying in hostels with kids again...just with my own bathroom! Kid-friendly hostels do exist and are easy to find.

We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel inspires you to stay in a family-friendly hostel on your next trip. For more amazing ideas on hostels we've stayed at click through to our Hostels accommodation guide page for more brilliant inspiration.

Some more staying in hostels travel inspiration for your next family holiday

30 thoughts on “6 reasons staying in a hostel is good for your kids”

  1. Wow, I am so surprised with your family experience in the hostel. I have heard far too many horror stories of the loud, drunk party goers puking in the hostel bathroom. So nice that your family had fun.

    • Hi, Jen! Thanks for leaving a comment! I have heard many of those stories too and that is why I made sure we had our own bathroom in our room. With two young and very independent girls, we thought this was the best option for us.

  2. I never thought about hostels being a family friendly environment, but this post really opened my eyes. It actually sounds a way better experience than staying in a hotel! The interactions with other guests and the game room is a huuuuge plus 🙂

    • Hi Candy! The games room was a big winner for us and got the girls away from their iPad for awhile too! I think they are a great idea for families but like all things you would have to do your homework on where you were staying! Thanks for leaving a comment!

  3. We are yet to stay in a hostel with our kids – but really appreciate all of the points you have mentioned here. Certainly something for us to consider in the future 🙂

    • Thank you! I was really surprised myself at the amount that the girls got out of it and there were many things that I did not think of. I think that you would have to really look into where you were staying to get the best out of it. If you ever do stay at a hostel I would love to know how your experience was!

  4. You would never think of a hostel first when it comes to family travel but you’ve certainly made me think differently. They’re definitely worth considering, I think.

    • Hi Tania. I honestly thought Mark was mad when he told me and I was really worried about it but it turned out great for our family. We will be looking at staying in one on our next trip!

  5. I’m glad you guys had a good experience in hostels with kids. I hadn’t thought about the fact that it would be nice for kids to be able to talk to people other than their parents while traveling. I always traveled with my mother as a kid, but I was very shy around strangers so I always preferred to just talk to her. I’m sure I would have gotten used to being around other people if I had needed to though.

    • Hi Stella. My girls are not shy at all. I think growing up in a small country town where everyone knows us probably helps with that as well. It may have been a great way for you to help with your shyness and I hope one day soon you stay in a hostel and make plenty of new friends! Thank you for leaving us a comment, we really appreciate such a personal one.

  6. hostels are wonderfully sociable places, I’m glad the girls felt they could fit in & chat away – just like solo travellers! There are different types of hostels – party ones which definitely wouldn’t be appropriate for kids but others more like this with a wider mix of people. I tend to avoid the party ones but love staying in hostels like this to meet fellow travellers.

    • Hi Claire. I would be avoiding them too! While I was really happy with the ones we stayed in I have heard plenty of horror stories. I think too it will give the girls the knowledge to pick a good hostel from a bad one when they finally get out there all by themselves (I will probably just sneak along just in case!) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. We love hostels too! They are usually cheaper, even with a private room for our family of 3. We’ve stayed in hostels in Copenhagen (Copenhagen Downtown Hostel) and the AF Chapman hotel in Stockholm and are staying in one in Florence next month. I would recommend all of those for families.

    My husband loves to talk to the people from other countries and my daughter loves the board games! I think it enforces the idea of sharing too.

    • Hi Katie! I actually never thought of the sharing side of things either. The girls did have to wait their turns at the games tables. I am not sure that I would stay in one without our own bathroom but that may come as we travel by ourselves…one day anyway! Thank you very much for the tips on the other hostels too. I will put those names in my little tips book!

  8. I’ve never stayed in a hostel and I had never thought about it, most of the people that stay in them do not have kids in tow. Looks to be a win/win for everyone. Anytime something can get a kid to put an iPad down, it’s a good thing. Travel is so much more than traveling. It’s meeting new people, learning how other people live and experiencing new thing. Great tips and it looks like you got lucky with your own bathroom.

  9. Having more to do than just iPads is good for everyone, not just kids! Thanks for sharing what it was like…I wouldn’t have guessed it was such a good fit.

  10. I’ve never stayed at a hostel, although I’m aware that the stereotypes of a spring break-type atmosphere are no longer accurate in most cases. I also know that hostels are a great place to meet other travellers; that’s just outweighed for me by the fact that I’m a high-maintenance sleeper and I need the comforts and amenities of a hotel. I’m usually a solo traveller, and TBH I’m not sure if my priorities in accommodations would be different if I were travelling with children. It certainly seems a valuable experience for your kids to have been able to interact with a diverse set of travellers who had been to a wide spectrum of destinations.

  11. I’m pretty surprised as well and I’m glad you guys had an amazing time staying at the hostel. I have never stayed in one and I always had this notion that hostels are dirty and loud. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  12. Nice photos and the facilities seem fun and entertaining. believe it would be a great experience for people from all ages and background as long as the hostel is clean with friendly people and nice services 🙂

  13. ‘Love the post and I totally agree!

    I tend to go to boutique hostels and they are absolutely amazing. ‘Not only is there a wealth of people for my shy teen boy to talk to, but as you say, games and entertainment, and just something other than mum and dad. And in many cases, we’re given the very best rooms. What not to like!

  14. I too had not thought about staying in hostels with kids. I’m very excited at the possibility now – I know my son would love meeting other kids and sharing adventures . Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

  15. This is brilliant! My gut told me it was a good idea but it’s great to finally read some proof on the matter, thank you x

  16. We totally agree. We stayed in hostels with our 7 year old in south africa and she had a ball. She ended up manning reception one day and like you say they see life and meet people. It reinforces our own zest for travel and our daughter certainly spoke to everyone and anyone who would listen. One guy said to us, i started off being like she’s really cute and then i stopped and actually listened and i realised she knows her stuff.


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