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How Parents Wreck the Lives of the Young and Childfree: Youth Hostel Edition

youth hostels, family travel

Be back before curfew! Hostels increasingly welcome families with kids.

I couldn’t believe it when my friends told me they had stayed in a hostel on a recent vacation.

“With your kid?” I asked. “At your age?”

“With our kid!” they answered. “Just last year!”

I had no idea that was even allowed. Back in my day, there was a “youth” in front of the word “hostel” and kids, unless you counted 16-year-old Scandinavian hikers, were most definitely not allowed.

But times have changed. As with dive bars and fancy restaurants, parents with young kids are now on the scene. We’ve found another way to ruin young and/or childfree people’s fun. (Yay us!)

What’s the appeal? The same thing that has been appealing about youth, uh, I mean hostels, since the dawn of backpacking Europe. They’re cheap. Not only do the rooms run half as much or less than your average hotel, hostels are located in the centers of popular cities, they have kitchens where you can save even more money by preparing your own meals, and they’re a great way to meet other people (and, I suppose, expose your kids to more interesting people than your average Disneyland guests).

According to a report over at Today.com, hostels have embraced this new breed of overnight guests and have begun to adapt their facilities to be even more attractive. Some offer game rooms and lounges where kids and tired parents can watch TV. Others organize sightseeing outings and movie nights, private bathrooms, bike and skate sharing programs and — book now, people — on site bars! Some even provide baby-sitting services, pardon me while I weep openly.

Two of the best places to start looking for hostels are HostelBookers, which notes family-friendly hostels around the world plus amenities, and Hostels International USA. Not all hostels are family-friendly though, and not all listings indicate whether they are. But it’s worth a shot.

Have you ever stayed in a hostel with your kids? I can’t wait to try.

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