By Kristen McKenzie, HotelsCombined.com
Once predominantly associated with the 20-something backpacker, hostels around the world are now recognizing the demand for affordable family accommodation and have been adapting their facilities accordingly. After all, hostels are an ideal lodging option for families on a budget: They're centrally-located, can house numerous people in the same room and boast cost-saving features such as laundry rooms and courtesy shuttle buses.
With a database of over 800,000 properties, HotelsCombined has a wide variety of hostel options to choose from and the search filters on our site make it particularly easy to locate family-friendly properties. Here are some of our recommendations:
YHA International Hostels, Various Locations
Many YHAs have large family rooms that can sleep up to 5 people - perfect for multi-generational travel. There are also communal areas to hang out in, play games and meet other people, including other children, often from around the world.
In particular, we love the UK's YHA London St. Pancras, which enjoys a central city location across from the Kings Cross/St. Pancras international Station, is within walking distance from various family-friendly attractions and supplies a range of family board games for use. The property even openly promotes itself as welcoming babies and toddlers ("under 3s") on its website, providing cots upon request. And over in Australia, the Blue Mountains YHA is also an especially great pick for families thanks to its arcade games and dedicated kids' corner.
Palm Lakefront Resort and Hostel, Orlando, USA
Families can save lots of money on a Disney World visit by choosing this comfy property as a base. Located along Lake Cecile in Kissimmee, Florida, the hostel is a quick bus or train ride from the Magic Kingdom and features a range of family amenities including a pool, a barbeque pit and a common room with foosball table, Xbox and a Playstation 2.
Adelaide Hostel, San Francisco, USA
With its free daily breakfast and weekly dinners, cash-strapped parents will certainly appreciate this budget-friendly gem - many private rooms also come equipped with a refrigerator and microwave to keep snacks handy for grumpy tots as well as a television to help keep them entertained.
Hana Hostels, Japan
Offering four locations across the country - Fukoka, Hiroshima, Osaka and Kyoto - this Japanese hostel group happily welcomes kids and babies, with games and cartoons available for tots in common areas. Bonus: the properties all score high guest reviews on the HotelsCombined website!
Stayokay Hostels, Netherlands
Boasting 26 Dutch properties, this Hostelling International-affiliated group keeps kids amused with various sports fields and indoor recreation options. Travelling clans can also take advantage of the hostel chain's family card, which for a nominal annual fee provides discounts on accommodation, bike rentals and tours.
Adventure Queenstown Hostel, Queenstown, New Zealand
The great thing about this cosy hostel is that it has a maximum capacity of 50 people and isn't directly surrounded by any late-night venues - so no worries of little ones being kept up at night by rowdy backpackers! The property will also loan out bicycles, DVDs and Frisbees (for the nearby Frisbee golf course).
The Valley House Holiday Hostel, Achill Island, Ireland
Offering an onsite pitch and putt golf course and plenty of nature trails, this friendly hostel is a great place for kids to burn off energy. Did we mention there's also a picturesque beach just a 10 minute walk away?
Habitat HQ, Melbourne, Australia
Situated in Melbourne's trendy St Kilda neighbourhood, Habitat HQ is a perfect choice for families on a road trip as it offers guests free, secure car parks. It also has the advantage of being the first carbon neutral backpacker hostel in the city.
These are the features to seek out when booking a hostel stay with kids:
- Family rooms (ideally located on a separate floor from other door rooms for noise control)
- En suite bathrooms
- Child-friendly amenities (cots, highchairs, etc.)
- Entertainment offerings (video games, board games, a pool, etc.)