Senior Travel Secret: Hostels Are Not Just for the Young
Have you shied away from staying in hostels because you thought you were just not the right age?
Since 2013 we have been on the road continuously travelling and have stayed at many hostels in the last three years. I was hesitant at first; I thought there may be an age gap.
How wrong I was.
Pleasant Surprises and Special Finds
Do you know that most hostels offer private rooms with ensuite bathrooms so that you don’t have to share with others in a dormitory style room? When we decided to travel long term, my one requirement was that if I were to stay in a hostel, I had to have my own room and my own bathroom.
What about the age gap? Well, what about it?
Our very first hostel stay at the Ventana Sur in Santiago, Chile will always be a great memory. As we entered the grounds of this 2-storey home we were greeted with classical music blaring and travellers of all ages sharing stories around a very long table in a courtyard under grape vines.
Our room was in the garden overlooking the swimming pool that shimmers in the heat of the day. On Friday nights, Ivan the owner, puts on a BBQ for his guests.
In Mendoza, Argentina we stayed at the Hostel Chimbas. Arriving at two in the morning from a long bus ride from Santiago, Chile we were welcomed by a very sleepy employee who gave us our key and wished us good night as we grabbed a cold beer from the fridge and headed to the garden area to relax.
A lovely Spanish hacienda garden with swimming pool was a retreat for us. We cooked up a storm in their very large well equipped kitchen with other travellers of our age.
A hostel in a gated community in Antigua, Guatemala turned out to be more like a boutique hotel. Situated around a courtyard environment, Hostal Las Marias, located about a ten-minute walk from the Centro Historico was a haven to escape to after a day of sightseeing.
They upgraded us to a larger room with a kitchen. Although a substantial breakfast was supplied, we did not take advantage of all the facilities our room had to offer.
In July 2016, we were in Stockholm and stayed at one of the top chain of hostels in Europe – the Generator brand that had opened the week before.
The Generator Group are known for their funky brand, great rooms, bars and restaurants.
What are the Benefits of Staying in Hostels?
The number one benefit that we find from staying in hostels is the knowledge we gain from other travellers that you don’t get when you stay in apartments or in hotels.
We have learnt so much in just chatting to other travellers, from the location of the best coffee shop, what to see and do, local markets, tips for travelling to the next destination, places to eat cheaply, etc.
Senior Travel Tips for Choosing a Hostel
First, consider location, location, location – ensure that you are in a safe place close to the centre of where you want to be.
Read the reviews on Trip Advisor as well as the booking engine that you use.
Keep in mind that hostels that provide breakfast can help keep your costs down. Also, look for free Wi-Fi.
Look into a membership with Hostelling International, which can reduce the costs of your next hostel stay.
Would you consider staying in a hostel now? What further questions do you have? What is the most important thing for you when choosing a place to stay when you travel? What other senior travel tips would you like to share? Please join the conversation.
Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith are nomadic semi-retirees, baby boomers, travellers, House Sitters and co-founders of To Travel Too. Their motto is “Age is no barrier when it comes to travel.” Although not yet pensioners, their goal is to travel the world on what is currently the Australian Age Pension of approx. AUD 33,716 (USD 25,110) per year, or AUD 92 (USD 69) per day for two people.