The Five Yups and Four Nopes to hosteling over age 50

Scroll down to content

If you are traveling on a budget, hostels really are the best deal going for accommodations. Hostels are almost universally less expensive than traditional hotels and B&Bs and are a great way to meet fellow travelers to network and share tips. Many have already gone to that sight you are planning to see the next day and can offer inside information on what to expect. It’s a great way to meet people from all over the world and really isn’t one of the main reasons many of us travel in the first place?
pexels-photo-721169.jpegThe problem is as we get older we feel we might have ‘outgrown’ the hostel. What would we have in common with a bunch of rowdy twentysomethings? And who wants to sleep in a dorm room at 50? Maybe it really is something we outgrow. But if I’m being honest I still miss those times. Back in the 80’s when I first traveled abroad, hostels were my mainstay. I slept in hostels from London to Jerusalem and universally enjoyed the experience. I never traveled abroad again until my thirties and by then I felt too old for the callow hostels and opted for the more staid B&Bs. While I did enjoy the solace of my own room I missed the camaraderie and homeyness of the hostel.

But can you really go home again?  Surprisingly and for me gloriously the answer is yes. Hostels are evolving with graying population. Many offer private rooms with en suite bathrooms that can offer the perfect balance solitude and sociability. More and more seniors and soon to be seniors are re-discovering the joys of hosteling. In fact, many hostels a discount off their already low rate for those over fifty. So yes you can hostel, but should you? For that I offer the 5 Yups and 4 Nopes of hosteling after age 50.

Yup Number 1 You’ll save beaucoup bucks

Hostels are always your best bet in savings (aside from maybe couch surfing and Air B&B) and your savings extends beyond having a bed for the night. Most hostels have kitchens where you can cook your own food or even better have a communal meals with your other hostel-mates. The grapevine at the hostels can save you money by recommending a lesser priced restaurant or souvenir shop. You and your new found friends can even opt to go as a group to that city’s attractions  get a group discount.

Yup Number 2 You can have the best of both worlds

By staying in a private room you can have a place to go to be alone, but still have the option of interacting with others. Most hostels have big comfy TV rooms, so look at it as being at home. You have your living room and when you had enough socializing you can retreat to your own room and read Facebook or for that matter, a real book. (I think they still have those)

Yup Number 3  Joie de Vivre

Alright, so that’s just a fancy word for the energy that comes with being in a (mostly) younger crowd. I may be getting older but I’m still not at the “You kids get off my lawn” stage. I truly enjoy younger people’s company. It’s important that we interact. I’d like to think we both get something positive from it. Their passion is pretty contagious. But as with most things there can be a tipping point and if that happens you have Yup number 2 to fall back on.

Yup number 4 The Network

As mentioned in the amount of networking that goes on in the hostels is immense. You are meeting people who have been where you are going and can tell you the  good and the not so good on the upcoming stop on your itinerary. Where you can eat cheaply or what neighborhoods to avoid. Perhaps some out of the way gem the guidebooks overlooked. Many hostels double as a tour bureau and can offer guides to show you the local angle.And since many of the proprietors of the hostels are nationals of the country you’re visiting they can offer invaluable help with translation with the locals.

Yup Number 5 The International Panoply

Hosteling is a great way to meet people from all over the world.  Europeans of all ages have been staying there for decades. Many Aussies and Kiwis (Australians and New Zealanders) do as well. I think many Americans have been a little late to the party but are fast catching up. You get a nice international mix. You might even make a friend and have someone to visit on your next trip.

And finally, The 4 Nopes

I have several , but for brevity’s sake I am rolling them all in to one big paragraph.  One, the noise. Even with your own room you may still hear the revelers coming home after the pub closes. Hostels can be raucous sometimes that’s not such a good thing.  Two, walking distances. Some hostels are a ways away from the nearest local transport. Walking a few blocks with your bags is a lot easier to do when your 25. Three, Theft. Not so much of a problem with your own locked room but definitely a possibility in the lesser priced dorm rooms. Keeping a money belt on your person usually remedy’s the issue.  And maybe the biggest drawback:  Four, Occasional ageism.  While the vast majority of the younger travelers will get along with you, or at least tolerate your presence, you may hear an occasional comment. And some of us who are older maybe just don’t want to be around people who we are so vastly separated from age wise. It is definitely not for everyone. Some people like the quiet and comfort of a hotel. Both viewpoints are equally valid.

So should you or shouldn’t you hostel? i will let you be the jury. But for me, hostels are a big reason why I travel, to meet people, to learn a different culture and to find a way to do it  inexpensively enough to make it last as long as possible.

 

 

41 Replies to “The Five Yups and Four Nopes to hosteling over age 50”

  1. I LOVE this post! That’s so sad that people make comments about age. I’ve met some incredible older backpackers. I worked in a hostel last year and although it wasn’t your typical backpackers hostel, it was still a youth hostel and many of our guests were middle aged and wouldn’t consider staying in any other type of accommodation! The hostel life really is something. 🙂 When I was backpacking in Australia, I met a 73-year-old lady in our hostel, and we even had people in their 50s staying in our dorm and they were all incredible people to chat to. Plus you are absolutely right about learning where to go from the people you meet, which is something you just don’t get in hotels as much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment Clazz. Yes, I think there’s a wealth of information to be gained staying in hostels. Not just the local flavor but the wonderful people of all ages you there. It’s just my opinion, I can’t back it but I think the age stigma is more of an american thing. When I run in to older hostel travelers they’re usually European or Australian. Perhaps it’s the whole youth culture thing. We tend to put a lot of restrictions on what is and isn’t acceptable based on age. Thanks for following me. the show of support is so appreciated. I’ve only been at this for about two weeks so i’m still learning so any help or advice is always welcomed. 🙂 Darryl

      Liked by 1 person

    1. For many hostels are an inexpensive alternative to hotels. I especially like the option of a private room attached. It really does offer the best of both. If you do decide to try one let me know how it works out for you. Thanks for your comment. Darryl

      Like

  2. If anything, I’d love to meet MORE older and more experienced travelers. It’s the B&B and restaurant owners, the market sellers and, well, older communities that are always so much more interesting to talk to! And to come across someone with that level of knowledge and wisdom who is a fellow traveller, well I don’t think there could be anything better! Great post Grandpa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I agree. I’ve pretty much outgrown the party atmosphere of some cruises. I’d like time to relax and get to know my fellow shipmates. travelers always have the best stories! Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this post. I stayed at a couple of hostels in Europe in my 20s and didn’t have a great experience. Also, I’m married. Do they offer rooms to couples? Airbnb, I’ve heard, is great. We’ve used it once and saved a lot of money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amoralegria, Yes, many hostels now offer private rooms with double beds for coupled travelers. Usually airbnb is a little more but you get more solitude. It might be worth i try for a night to see if you like it, but hostels aren’t for everyone. i usually do 50/50 half hostels half airbnb or mid range hotel. All have their pluses and minuses.

      Like

    1. I’ve traveled more in my mind than anywhere else. I believe that is
      where every great adventure starts. If we can dream it, we can find a way to achieve it. keep holding on to your dreams. best wishes I hope you get to go someday

      Like

  4. Thanks Daryl for liking so many of my posts on my blog. I’m 65 years young, have stayed in hotels and hostels and I love hostels so much better. I’ve stayed in them in Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and here in the United States . My favorite ones are Apple Hostel in Philadelphia , Hostel International in Boston, and Old City Hostel in Philadelphia . I’ve never really ran into a problem with younger people because they can never tell what my real age is, plus I like to think that I’m very young at heart. I’m going to be staying at one of the hostels in Vegas for three nights like I did last year, God willing . We Americans haven’t gotten into the hostel thingy the way the rest of the world has and that’s sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, we Americans are behind the curve on hostels. I have never stayed in a hostel stateside. I am from the Midwest and we don’t have a lot here i think. But I should look in to it. Let me know how the one in Vegas works, I figure it could beat staying at one of the more expensive hotels.

      Like

      1. It depends on where you are stateside. If you’re in Indianapolis , there’s a hostel. Chicago has a few of them . Cleveland , Columbus, Detroit, Minneapolis all have them. You just have to live more than 90 miles away otherwise you can’t stay. I can’t stay in any of the hostels in new York city, but Syracuse , Buffalo or Rochester , yes. For some of the hostels stateside, your state ID will work. Others you need a passport and proof of international travel. There’s a couple of hostels in Vegas . The one I stayed at and have stayed at a couple of times is the Las Vegas Hostel on Fremont Street . Some people like it others don’t . For all these hostels, just like with hotels, read the reviews. Go on the website Hostelworld.com for hostels in the United States .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. very interesting, I’m in Kansas City, not sure there’s a hostel here. I’ll have to look in to it,

        Like

    1. Lol, There are times when I travel where I had a long trip and am a bit cranky so I definitely have the get off my lawn kind of days. I usually go for a b and b and hostel mix. For what it’s worth I see a lot of overtime 30s in hostels especially in Europe. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

    1. That’s unfortunate, it limits options, Do they have much in the way of inexpensive hotels or air b and b to make up for it?

      Like

      1. We used hostels in New Zealand on our recent trip for our first time ever. No problems. Each was well run and we encountered no rowdiness. At each we had a private double with bath. Prices were indeed reasonable. The only issue we ever had was parking in Auckland. (I’m no fan of AirBnB, having had an annoying transaction with a landlord.) I’m a big hostelling fan now.

        BTW: We were four traveling together in our mid/late-60s. Never encountered any “ageism”, although we noticed some of the clientele looking at us oddly. While the preponderance of hostel customers seemed to be female twenty-somethings, there were plenty of us old timers. too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So glad you had a positive experience with hosteling. I think the feedback from the younger set has been mostly positive for me save a few odd looks

        Like

    1. BTW, You’re a New Yorker, right? When you get a chance i wrote a piece a while back about things you can do in NYC for free. If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think? I’ve been to New York a few times but about half the things were from research and not personal experience. I’d love to know what you thought about it.

      Like

      1. Yep born and raised here. The Brooklyn Bridge is good. Also Federal Hall Memorial across from Wall Street, the Charging Bull is free, as is the Museum of the American Indian all in the same area. The African American Burial Ground is also free. I always tell tourists coming into New York to see our outer boroughs, which are Brooklyn, The Bronx , Staten Island and Queens. When people say they’re going to New York City , they’ve just talking about Manhattan , forgetting about the other boroughs. If you come to New York , you have to ride the subway at least once. If you go to uptown Manhattan, Grant’s Tomb is also free. It’s the burial place of President Ulysses Grant and his wife, Julia. I’m going to be doing a post on it once the weather clears up here in NYC .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the tips. I look forward to your post. Hopefully it will get warm soon. Here in KC it’s pretty cold today. So looking forward to spring

        Like

  5. Great article! When our kids were young we stayed in hostels while traveling in Scotland 25 years ago. Now in our 60s, retired with a love of distance trekking in Europe, we have found ourselves back in hostels. While private rooms are preferable, we have found an undeniable camaraderie when bunking in the dorms…regardless of age.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I like the youthful energy. Even if in a private room, I usually spend a lot of time in the day area and sharing meals. It helps me feel young. Thanks fort posting

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As a 50+ something, who has done a fair bit of travelling in her time, hostels sound such an amazing place to meet people, but I have to admit, the thought of a hostel terrifies me. I love my own space, and peace and quiet. Love the fact that you felt you needed to explain Aussies and Kiwis lol. Keep on globetrotting x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. As I get older, I tend to like the privacy as well. On my next trip I want to try the private room option at the hostel. It might be a nice balance.

      Like

  7. I wish there were “elder hostels” as there once were. Could offer private rooms or small dorms. Would be a great way to meet people, especially while traveling solo, without the all night partying and “ageism.” It’s actually very curious that there are none!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. I think there would be a market for it. There are a lot of people who are traveling now in their second half of life.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: