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Travel & Holiday

Hostels can be for families too

Hostels are now seen in a new light.
December 4, 2012
By: Laura Wood
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Hostels can be for families too

The old image of hostels as being full of backpackers and budget conscious young people is long dead.

With so many trendy, boutique hostels being opened, many different groups are attracted to the adventure of staying in these friendly, unique places, and families are among them.

If you and your family are adventurous, like experiencing the culture of the places you visit, and want to try something new, consider staying in a hostel on your next break.

More than one location?

Staying in a hostel is a great option for those who like to visit more than one place on their holidays. Because they're often more flexible than other accommodation options, you could visit different areas of a country, extend your holiday, or even combine your trip with a family cruise. These are becoming increasingly popular in the Asia-Pacific region, and they offer a way for your family to see many different countries at once.

Travelling by sea can also be easier when you have children, as there's plenty of room for them to run about, they aren't as strict with luggage requirements, and the journey is at a more relaxed pace. Because of this, families are no longer stuck in big resort hotels and can enjoy the kind of holidays that are normally associated with the younger crowd. Children will enjoy helping you draw up an itinerary, and will boast to their friends about their exciting places they visited on their trip.

Amenities for families

Staying in a hotel can be difficult for young families. You may feel stuck in your bedroom at night and there isn't really much for children to do.

Hostels aren't a traditional place for families to stay, but they are actually pretty well equipped for people with children. Not only is it easier for you to book a room for several people to share, there are often facilities such as kitchens and lounges for travellers to use. Having the use of kitchen space means you can keep to your child's feeding schedule without having to worry about waiting for a restaurant to open, and you can sterilise or heat up baby bottles for the day ahead. Lounge areas are a nice place for families to relax in, and mean that you don't feel like your family is trapped in the bedroom in the evenings. A lot of smaller hostels are also owned by families, so they're much more sensitive to the needs of these groups and can recommend places suitable for you to visit.

Family-friendly hostels in Asia

There are so many places for families to visit in the region, but here we have listed just a few that are especially family-friendly.

Taiwan

Many cruise ships arrive in the port of Hualien, and visitors here can enjoy the stunning scenery including the Taroko Gorge, as well as a bustling city centre that is easy to get around.

Colourful Taiwan is close to the city, yet boasts many outdoor activities that people of all ages will enjoy. With four bed family rooms available, a common area, and a games room, you'll feel right at home and have plenty to keep the kids entertained.

If you prefer to stay in the heart of the action, then boutique hostel The Island is a comfortable and luxurious place to stay. Not only does it look more like an upmarket hotel than a hostel, but its three and six bed rooms all have private bathroom facilities, and with a kitchen and plenty of shops nearby, you'll find it easy to feed the family after a long day.

Malaysia

As a beautiful, cheap country to visit, Malaysia is becoming a popular family destination. Although many people head for the bustling capital, culture loving families can try Kuala Terengganu. With museums, mosques and a beautiful seaview, the area has it all. Stay in one of the many family run hostels, where you can experience how Malaysian families live.

Vietnam

Vietnam has been a popular tourist destination for a while, so there's plenty set up for families to enjoy. Try the coastal city of Nha Trang, which caters to upmarket tourists and backpackers alike.

Accommodation is cheap and plentiful, and parents with children could try Dong Hai's Family Hostel, which offers comfortable four bed ensuite rooms. With its own laundry facilities, cafe, and cheap airport transfers, it's perfect for a stress-free journey with kids.

If you prefer a more private space, try the HQ Cafe, which not only has private and dorm rooms, but offers a two bedroom apartment that gives families plenty of room to stretch out. It's cheaper than the mainstream hotels and apartments for rent in this area, and means you get a friendly, personal service during your stay.

Wherever you take your family in the world, hostels can be a great place to meet fellow travellers and get a more authentic experience of your destination. Be adventurous, try some places off the beaten path, or do some research into alternative travel methods like a family cruise. Your kids will love exploring the world and hopefully you'll pass on your sense of adventure to them.

Laura Wood is a contributor who is a mother of two and likes to share a thing or two about family travel with fellow travellers.

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