Backpacking for Adults – Hostel Vacation Tips for Grown-Up Travelers

in Tips, Travel Advice

With all of us feeling the fallout of the financial crisis, backpacking isn’t just for college kids anymore. Don’t let the youth hostel tag scare you off; these budget accommodation options are perfect for anyone looking for a cheap place to lay their head.

However adults shouldn’t run headlong into booking their first hostel holiday. There are a few points to consider when backpacking as a grown-up.

While costs are always a consideration, older backpackers shouldn’t pick their hostel on price alone. The quality of the rooms is important, as is the location. Proximity to night clubs and bars is probably less important than it was in your youth, but you’ll probably want to be near public transport for easy sightseeing. Also do your research to ensure you’re not staying in a seedy part of town.

Choosing a private room over a dorm is an important splurge as middle age settles in. You can probably do without the funky smells, rowdy roommates, and all night parties! Not all private rooms are created equally though. Some have ensuites, but many do not. You’ll probably pay an extra $10 a night for your own bathroom, which is enough for a coffee and a pastry each day. What would you rather spend your money on?

A backpacking holiday calls for traveling light, but there are a few extra items older hostel hoppers may wish to bring. That smell that lingers around young backpackers generally comes from skipped showers. Hostels rarely provide shampoos and soaps, so unless you want to join the great unwashed you’ll need to bring your own. A pair of earplugs takes up little space in a suitcase, and ensures those all night binge drinking sessions don’t interrupt your sleep.


Staying in a hostel is a great way to save money and meet other frugal travelers.

While you’re there, make sure you take advantage of the hostel kitchen. These are often quiet as young people survive on snacks and cheap take outs. You can create a gourmet feast on a budget with some fresh produce from a local farmer’s market or delicatessen.

And finally, remember that hostel life is all about community. While you might not make lifelong friends, it’s important to smile and strike up conversation. You might even learn about a local gem you haven’t discovered yet!

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