When we think of the word hostel, we immediately think of young people traveling the world on a limited budget – I used to be one of them. However, ever since we traveled through the land of the rising sun, Japan, we think that hosteling can also be a great choice for families as well.

Prior to heading on our first backpack adventure, we had never considered staying in a hostel with our kid. The first hostel was a pure coincidence (following Lonely Planet’s advice on a late night) and after the first night we regretted not having considered this option earlier.

6 reasons why parents should consider staying at hostels

1. Hostels are usually chepaer than hotels and can be cheaper from Airbnb apartments

Let me give you an example from Japan. A hotel for two adults and one kid would cost us around 100 to 150 EUR/night. A private room (no private bathroom) in a hostel costs €60. The size of our hostel room was comparable to that of most hotel rooms, or was even bigger. Often you will find the hostel staff consists of people who are travellers themselves, speak fluent English and love to mingle with the guests. In Japan, where language can present a problem, every member of the hostel staff spoke English, while the hotel personnel in some hotels only spoke Japanese.

Wi-Fi is free of charge almost in all hostels, and transport to and from the airport can be arranged. Towels and bed linen are often included in the price of stay.

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Buddhist temple/hostel in the centre of Takayama, Japan

2. Great location

Many hostels are positioned in the city centre or near major tourist attractions and thus make for a better choice than hotels with lower prices, which are usually located miles away from the centre and attractions.

You will be surprised how some hostels are designed in a much more creative manner than hotels and are situated in some great pieces of architecture. In Japan, we spent two days in a hostel, which used to be a Buddhist temple.

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The view from the hostel in Tel Aviv situated just by the beach, Israel

3. Cooking is made easy with (usually) well-equipped kitchens

When you spend most of your travel days outside of the hotel room, we think it is extremely important to make your own rich and nutritious breakfast. In Japan, our kid did not really enjoy the food so we prepared the meals ourselves, knowing he would eat them and that it was not fast food from the street.

We realized that hostel kitchens are much better equipped than kitchens in apartments rented via Airbnb. If nothing else, salt, pepper, tea, oil and other things were always available. At the same time, you save a lot of money by making your own meals. Some hostels even have washers, which can come extremely handy when you switch many places and try to have as little luggage as possible.

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Well-equipped kitchen with a washing machine, Japan

4. Common areas where kids can play

The great advantage of hostels is its common areas where children are able to move around freely. This is usually not the case with hotel rooms (especially if they are as small as the Japanese ones) where children can quickly turn grumpy. Some hostels are child-friendly and even have toys, board games and books ready for them. The common area is also a great space where children can meet other kids and play among themselves. Another bonus is a common garden that kids turn into a playground of their own.

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Common areas are great for playtime

5. Children learn to respect rules when staying in a hostel

Hostels can be a great experience for kids, but they were not made for running around.  This can also be an opportunity to teach kids how to respect the privacy and personal space of other travelers, partake in various chores including cleaning and washing dishes, and understand night-time peace.

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Kid had to make sure not to walk in shoes and know where to put them

6. Other travelers‘ tips

Hostels are made for socializing. You get to meet travelers from different parts of the world and they can share some extra piece of advice on what is worth visiting. Exchange experiences and prepare better for the upcoming trips. It is especially great if you meet a family with small children and exchange some opinions on what to see and what to leave out.

In addition, hostels are better equipped with information on sights worth seeing, good restaurants and nearby shops, in comparison with apartments and hotels.

I would recommend saying at a hostel when you are planning to:

  • move often or visit different locations,
  • visit expensive countries,
  • visit cities.

Lastly, I would like to add something about safety. Hostels, just like hotels, have someone working at the reception desk 24/7, or if there is nobody there, the doors are locked. You can also rent a safe, so the safety level is comparable to that of hotels.

The above descriptions are based on personal impressions and information I gathered while travelling with my family. For more information, please contact me at: hello@kidgoround.com

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