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Family-Friendly Hostels

This week we hand over to, for alternative family friendly, budget kind, holidays in locations both near and far …

Once considered the down and out beds for the night for backpackers, today, hostels are the new budget hotel alternative. In fact, when it comes to convenience, atmosphere and value for money, hostels have the upper hand. With an increasing number of properties offering private rooms, it’s never been easier to find family-friendly hostels.

Staying in a hostel, families will not only save money on room prices; many hostels offer a free breakfast, free city tours, discounted travel services and internet kiosks. Feeding a family on holiday can get pricey so hostel self-catering facilities allow you to prepare some packed lunches, quick breakfasts and snacks. Hostels are geared up for budget travellers so be sure to quiz staff on cheap things to do and good local places to eat in the area. If the hostel has a bar, cafe or restaurant you can assume they offer slightly cheaper meals than neighbouring places because they are catering to clientele who appreciate value for money.

Be aware that not all private rooms or family rooms are en suite so check this out before booking. If you don’t mind a shared bathroom, this compromise can often save you some money.

Chicago, USA

A short elevated train ride from the Loop and popular Chicago attractions, Chicago Getaway Hostel is a great base for families on a city break. The Lincoln Park Zoo is a 10-minute walk and families can hire bikes from the hostel for an exciting way explore the neighbourhood and lakefront.

There is plenty to keep the kids busy while the parents put there feet up for a while. The games room comes complete with a pool table, football table and board games. There is also a nice patio area and BBQ facilities.

San Francisco, USA

At the Adelaide Hostel and Hotel, families are treated to a free hearty breakfast with fresh bagels, breakfast scones, fresh fruit, oatmeal and nutella – well, the kids are on holiday after all! The place feels more like a European-style pensione with a nice lounge and TV area. They offer private triple, quad and six-bed rooms with daily cleaning. Staff can help you plan tours and even offer a free San Francisco walking tour. To venture further afield, ask about organising a trip to Yosemite National Park. At this hostel San Francisco theatre and shopping districts are on your doorstep and kids will love hopping on the nearby BART transport service to explore the rest of the city.

Nice, France

The Villa Saint Exupery Gardens is housed in a beautifully converted monastery. With a free babysitting service, parents can really take some time to relax on their family vacation, kicking back with a cocktail or exploring the Old Town on a free city tour.

Children will be content surfing the free internet kiosks, or enjoying activities such as horseback riding.

There is easy access to the beach on the tram and some rooms boast views of the sea.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Rooms range from private four to six-bed en suite rooms at Danhostel Copenhagen City. The popular vintage amusement park, Tivoli, is only a 10-minute walk or families can rent bicycles from the hostel to get around this cycle-friendly city.

There is a stylish bar where parents can escape to in the evenings and kids can entertain themselves with table tennis or in the TV room.

Lisbon, Portugal

With a 150m garden, the Lisb’on Hostel has plenty of running around space for kids to wear themselves out while parents can take in the wonderful views from the terrace. The hostel provides a free breakfast as well as cots and high chairs for small children.

Located right in the heart of the historical district, the main family attractions of museums, galleries, shops and cafes are all within walking distance. The hostel has air-conditioning, a pool table and self-catering facilities.

To search and to book hostels for families, HostelBookers does not charge a booking fee, offers a lowest price guarantee and with properties in over 3,500 destinations, you can find somewhere to suit a beach, city or ski vacation. To help choose somewhere that’s right for you and your family, read hostel reviews and ratings from previous guests.

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5 Responses

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  1. Rick says

    Like many couples, our travel dreams were put on hold once we had children. Partly because I can’t imagine traveling with diapers but also the cost. Perhaps there are books out there on this, but I would like to see travel books for families with ideas like family hostels. Ways to travel that are less costly. We are close to Chicago so that is one hostel I would be interested in checking out.

  2. Heather says

    I remember traveling Europe and staying in youth hostels my last year in college. It was so great. I had no idea there were family friendly hostels. Thanks so much for this great post.
    Since kids, our traveling has decreased dramatically and we would really like to change that.

    • Clare, BabyAbroad says

      Hi Heather
      Thanks for your comment glad you liked the post.

      Hostelbookers have pointed out that not all hostels are geared up for families, so you should check which ones are with them. But those that do will hopefully provide a new low budget alternative for families, perhaps opening up the possibility of new destinations for some. I hope you get your travel bug back as your children will no doubt benefit.

  3. Roni says

    I think the word hostel doesn’t do these properties justice – seems like a great option for families, especially for those with more than one child.

    • admin says

      Yes – I think there is some work to be done in changing preconceptions of hostels – and hostelbookers are particular in selecting which hostels consider themselves family friendly. It would be worth families putting in some research, but it could pay off and they could bag themselves a bargain.

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