If you’re a free spirit driven by traveling to new places and embracing different cultures, you shouldn’t have to squash that wanderlust just because you’re no longer solo and carefree. This is your ultimate guide to family friendly hostels.
Traveling as a family is common in the context of package holidays and local getaways, but the concept of a backpacker-style holiday once you have children is less talked about.
That doesn’t mean to say it’s not possible. In fact, showing your children an alternative style holiday, one that we’re sure brought you so much joy, is an amazing way to introduce them to the world.
Money-saving tip: Hostelz.com is a hostel price comparison site. You can save money with every comparison!
It can also be a lot cheaper than a package holiday if you know where to go and what to look for. We’re about to uncover everything you need to know about how to find family friendly hostels, the best backpacker destinations for families, and the pros and cons of choosing this travel style with children.
Also: We included in this guide on HOW TO FIND hostels that are family friendly. There are a few things to consider and to know beforehand. And yes, some hostels are not welcoming families and kids, and are basically adults-only. Same as hotels, actually.
Let us explore some more family friendly hostels that are a great addition to your option. We will keep this list up to date. We will also add more hostels along the journey. So bookmark this post for later.
Types of Hostels: the worst you could do is ending up in a crazy party hostel as a family. So make sure 1st the hostel is not a party hostel. And 2nd, make sure the hostel actually allows children. Many hostels do not allow children in dorms, as an example.
Cooking in Hostels: One of the reasons to stay in hostels as a family is not so much the price for the room, but more the ability to use a kitchen. Because when traveling with the kids, the breakfast, lunch and dining can leave a huge hole in your wallet. Make sure you check that the hostel you choose actually offers a kitchen to use. Not all of them do!
Staying in Hostels with Children: There are many perks to staying in hostels with kids. Let’s be real, travelling with kids can be very expensive and staying in hostels is cheaper than hotels. But aside from the price, you should also check the reviews and our guides to avoid booking a party hostel that will drive your kids crazy.
Average prices: Hostel rates always vary depending on location, amenities, and time of year. Giving an average for prices worldwide is basically impossible. It highly depends on the country and season, and so many more variables. Please always check exact rates on Hostelz.com. They also show average prices for beds and dorms in a city.
Staying in hostels with kids? That can be a bit challenging, but it is not impossible. Road trips and family travel is something kids look forward during holidays and summer vacation. So, it will definitely break their little hearts if they can’t be on a trip with you.
Take a pick at the best hostel for kids and families.
Sandakan is on the island of Borneo in the Malaysian part of the island. Borneo is a fantastic family holiday, offering unique rainforest experiences and a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Borneo’s rainforest is special. At an estimated 130 million years old (twice as old as the Amazon), Borneo offers a variety of experiences, such as visiting an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, and Rainforest Discovery Centre.
If you love to be immersed in nature and your children love animals, then visiting Borneo is a holiday not to be missed.
Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat in Sandakan is a “contemporary interpretation of traditional stilts houses” to create a unique homestay during your exploration of the Borneo rainforest.
Paganakan Dii, in the tongue of the indigenous Kadazan-Dusun local tribe, means ‘The Family’, so you’re guaranteed a welcoming, family-friendly hostel experience when staying at this tropical retreat.
Located just five minutes from the local Orangutan sanctuary, you will be able to embrace the local wildlife just a stone’s throw away. There are even daily shuttles to take you there, so you won’t need to worry about complicated travel with kids.
Peranakan Dii Tropical Retreat offers dormitories, double rooms, and 4-bed family rooms with an ensuite. The hostel family room starts from just $70/night. There’s also a hillside communal pavilion with panoramic views that stretch over 10km to immerse you in the surrounding nature.
For a unique experience, Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat is a great family-friendly hostel to host you whilst you explore some of Asia, and the world’s, most precious wildlife.
Mexico’s Riviera Maya has become a popular holiday destination for all kinds of travellers. It’s a great place to take the family for its abundance of entertainment, fantastic weather, beaches, and nature activities.
Located just 65km from Cancun International Airport, the former fishing town is now a holiday hotspot, with popular beach resorts and humbled hostels alike. There’s so much for families to do in Riviera Maya, including nature tours, monkey sanctuaries, water sports, jungle ziplines, and aquatic theme parks.
Selina Playa Del Carmen, Mexico is a relaxed and budget-friendly hostel for families. Walk out of the hostel and you’ll find yourself on the bustling street of Quinta Avenida, just minutes from the beach and surrounded by things to do.
There’s an active yet calming presence about Selina Playa Del Carmen. During your stay, you’ll be able to enjoy daily yoga lessons, games, and everyday activities that take place throughout the common areas. There’s also a swimming pool big enough for the little ones to make a splash, and a bicycle rental for a family outing.
Selina Playa Del Carmen has a range of private rooms, including a 4-bed private room with ensuite at just $100/night.
There’s also a choice of double rooms from $60/night that should be spacious enough to add in an extra bed for a young child. If you’re traveling with a child under the age of five, they won’t be charged when sharing a private double with their parents or legal guardian.
At Selina Playa Del Carmen, there is also a common kitchen to cook up a family meal at any time of day if you’d prefer to reduce your spending and enjoy a home-cooked meal.
Selina Playa Del Carmen is a great all-around hostel for families wishing to enjoy Mexico on a budget.
3. Cube – Family Boutique Capsule Hotel @ Chinatown, Singapore
Singapore is another fabulous destination for families. Singapore is impeccably clean, regarded as one of the safest places in the world, and has some amazing sights to keep the entire family entertained.
You can also travel directly from Singapore to Borneo, so you could combine two of our favorite family-friendly hostels into one trip.
Singapore has some amazing sights, including Gardens By The Bay, the iconic Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Zoo, ArtScience Museum, and Universal Studios on Sentosa Island.
Cube – Family Boutique Capsule Hotel doesn’t quite identify as a hostel, but it provides hostel-like accommodation at an affordable price compared to Singaporean hotels. Singapore is Asia’s most expensive country, so it’s helpful to know some more budget-friendly choices.
There’s a range of rooms to accommodate families of all sizes, from double rooms to 8-bed family rooms. Cube is a particular favourite amongst children for its futuristic style rooms with capsule bunks with a Netflix TV per bed!
Rooms at Cube range between $200 for four people and $400 for up to eight people. That may sound like a lot compared to other accommodation choices but this is quite reasonable for Singapore, particularly for large, family rooms.
What’s more, all rooms at Cube come with childproof adapters on all electrical outlets.
Singapore is a beautifully futuristic destination that is well-accommodated for families. Staying at Cube – Family Boutique Capsule Hotel is a great option for family-friendly accommodation.
Portugal’s laid-back culture, natural beauty, an abundance of outdoor activities, and coastal getaways make it one of our favorite European destinations. Even better, Portugal is still a relatively low-cost place compared with other major European destinations, so it’s a great choice for a family holiday.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is rich in culture and history. Set within a hillside overlooking the Tagus river meeting the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is the perfect blend of city charm and coastal relaxation.
There are lots to do in Lisbon, too. You can take your children on a historic wander through the castle and other ancient ruins, or enjoy activities such as the aquarium or hitting the beach. Lisbon is the perfect summer getaway for families.
To enjoy Lisbon on a budget, we recommend Lisbon Destination Hostel, one of the best family hostels in Europe. This is a particularly cool place to stay as it is located inside the Rossio Train Station, one of Lisbon’s most iconic buildings. When you enter the train station, the elevator will take you to the 2nd floor where your bed for the night awaits you.
Lisbon Destination Hostel is not just a great choice for its special location, but it also offers a number of family rooms making it a great city centre, family-friendly hostel. A 3-bed private room starts from $140/night and a 4-bed private room is around $200 with an ensuite.
There are cool spaces to hang out with the kids outside of your room, including an indoor garden (the jungle), a rooftop, and patio areas. There’s a one-of-a-kind feel to Lisbon Destination Hostel and a funky hostel for families.
Lisbon Destination Hostel is centrally located, with Lisbon’s famous attractions right on your doorstep. We really recommend Lisbon Destination Hostel for a family-friendly hostel in Portugal’s capital city.
Here’s one of the youth hostels for families. This four-star youth hostel is in a lochside village in the north of the Isle of Arran. On a narrow peninsula in Loch Ranza lies a 13th-century castle ruin.
The hostel provides private en-suite rooms and big shared rooms with individual lockers and bedside lighting. You should try their youth hostel family room if you are traveling with family. Guests may have a continental breakfast or use the huge, well-equipped kitchen.
Guests may drink wine or craft beer in one of the hostel’s two lovely lounges, one with a TV and both with loch views. Reception sells basics, candy, and soft beverages.
Lochranza allows dogs. If you want to stay with your dog, call the hostel to confirm availability. Our hostels charge £5 per night for dogs.
A hostel, by definition, is an inexpensive place to sleep and eat. Hostels are a popular accommodation choice for all kinds of travelers for their low cost, value for money, convenient locations, and communal atmosphere.
All those benefits don’t stop when it comes to traveling with your family. Finding the right family-friendly hostel can be a great way to save some money, embrace the nomadic culture, and explore new places with your kids.
It’s true that you’re sacrificing some privacy when choosing a hostel-style holiday, but let’s face it, you said goodbye to that as soon as you had children! But really, that doesn’t have to be the case. The majority of hostels offer private rooms and dorms, so you can still have your own space when the lights go out.
Depending on the size of your family, you could also fill a dorm, for example, 4- or 5-bed dorm rooms, and have the room to yourself whilst potentially saving some money against a private room/s.
In short, hostels are a great budget-friendly option for traveling as a family.
How To Find Hostels For Families
Can families stay in hostels? Travelling with family is quite challenging and not hostels are family-friendly.
Choosing a family hostel can be a lot more difficult than choosing one for you and your friends. There are many factors to consider. Is it safe? Is the environment suitable for children? Are the facilities child-friendly? It can be difficult to narrow down the options.
The good news is that more and more hostels are catering to families.
Travel is changing and so are perspectives toward it, particularly since the pandemic. Strict lockdowns have pushed many to discover a new appreciation for freedom and discovery.
The traditional backpacking scene is facing a new wave of travelers, from young and old families to professionals on a career break. We’ve come a long way from hostels simply catering to young backpackers.
Narrow Down Your Search
There are SO many hostels to choose from and when you’re looking for a specific type of accommodation, you don’t want to spend hours endlessly scrolling through Hostel World and end up at a party hostel.
Here are a couple of helpful ways to narrow down your search of hostels for families on booking websites:
Room Type: At a minimum, select ‘Family Room’, so that you know that all of the choices that are displayed are family-friendly. You may want to make some other selections to broaden your search, for example, mixed dorms/triple rooms, bunk beds, etc.
Facilities: If you’re traveling with children, there may be some facilities that you will require to keep them entertained. After you’ve chosen your room type, some options to consider may include whether the hostel has a swimming pool, free WiFi, 24-hour security, free breakfast, and so on.
On-Site Bar: Hostels with just a bar, as opposed to a bar/restaurant, or heavily promote their on-site bar will likely attract more of the party crowd. Be aware of the messaging and how the amenities are being promoted to gauge an understanding of what the hostel is trying to promote the most.
Gardens: Hostels with a lot of outdoor space could be a good option for taking your children. This means that there’s more room for them to roam and play whilst remaining within the vicinity, and gardens tend to add some calmness to the atmosphere, so there’s a good chance of them catering better to families rather than rowdier groups.
Flashpacker: Hostels that promote themselves as ‘flashpacker hostels’ are more likely to be family-friendly hostels, as they cater to a niche of travelers looking for a bit more luxury. Flashpacker hostels are still affordable, but they usually have better amenities and attract a more composed crowd.
Reviews are a great giveaway as to what a hostel is really like. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, read the reviews before choosing your family-friendly hostel.
It’s not uncommon to find a ‘party hostel’ and then find a number of reviews that claim it’s not a sociable place to meet new people, and the same goes for being a family-friendly hostel. You might find a hostel that doesn’t look like it caters to children, for the reviews to reveal that a number of guests had a great stay for kids and vice versa.
Research the Destination
Doing some background research into where you are going will often lead you to find suitable hostels for families. For example, if you search “backpacking in Cambodia with children” there’s a good chance your search results will show activities, where they are, and nearby accommodation choices.
From this, you can filter down whether most of the showings seem to be in Siem Reap as opposed to Phnom Penh, and so on. It won’t be long before you get a feel of where is better suited for families, and which family-friendly hostel to stay at once you’re there.
Figuring out what kind of transport you will be able to access in your chosen location is particularly important when travelling with children. We all know how restless kids can be, so travelling somewhere without good transport links and a lengthy journey to get around probably isn’t the best option for a family trip.
If you’re travelling to a city, research to see if there’s a reliable tram, metro, or bus service to get you around.
If you’re travelling to somewhere less developed, look into how the distance between places and how easy it is to get a tuk-tuk or another local transport method.
Places that are walkabout are often less hassle too, as you know you’re always close enough to your family-friendly hostel to break up your day, particularly when traveling with younger children.
Time To Plan Your Family Trip
Family-friendly hostels are a fantastic way to explore the world without breaking the bank.
After reading this article, we hope you feel more prepared to travel and stay in hostels with your family. It’s time for your next family vacation!
What about the cheapest hostels?
Of course, there are always cheap family-friendly hostels.
When you are traveling on a shoestring budget and you want to save every dollar, there are ways to find a cheap hostel for families.
Open Hostelz.com with a full list of family-friendly hostels.
add your dates
Order the listing by price
Simple as that.
Hostelz.com is a price comparison site for hostels. They list every single one in the world and tell you exactly which website is cheaper to use.
Our Tip: Check exactly what is included, and what is excluded. Check as well the location. A further location might mean more money for transport.
Good to know: There are even special discount codes that we only share in our newsletter!
How to book?
The two most popular booking platforms are Booking.com and Hostelworld.com. They list both numerous hostels and cheap accommodations. We wrote here a detailed guide on the best booking sites for hostels.
The coolest App for Hostels comes as well from Hostelworld. It comes with super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand and make plans together.
All that being said, we highly recommend checking out Hostelz.com before making your final reservation. It is a hostel price comparison. Add your destination and dates, and it will tell you the cheapest places to book your hostel.
This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter and find the best place on a budget! We ONLY recommend places we know you will enjoy, no matter what. At Hostelgeeks we will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by.