Travel How old is 'too old' to stay in a backpacker hostel?

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Peter Sidorkiewicz

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For me it was at a hostel in Perth the penny dropped. I would have been... 30ish.
I was like looking around the place thinking "I am too old for this sh*t" and checked out, and check into a hotel down the road.
I have the exact same story in Amsterdam. I just hated the room I was allocated, the bunk was a top bunk which I don't like and to top it off, the staff were rude to me if I wanted to change rooms. I just said duck this and left.

Haven't stayed at a hostel since age 33.
 

Howard Littlejohn

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For males, dorms are probably out by 30. Private rooms a bit later. And it depends a bit where and the type of hostel, in some 25 might be pushing the boat out if you don't look younger than you are.

I stayed in one in Rome in early40s, but the private rooms were more 2-to-3-star hotel at hostel prices. People didn't care, but I wasn't looking to party with the younger crowd (I never did that much when I was younger). It was just a convenient cheap place. Generally, I go for cheap hotels. I might use hostleworld for booking sometimes - they can be cheaper for the same cheap hotel occasionally, probably because its aimed largely at a low end market - but not look at actual hostels.

By the time you get to a certain age, you won't really be meeting anyone anyway most of the time - varying by location and type, so why bother. Then again, some will have reviews from older travellers, they might be worth a look.
 

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Malifice

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By the time you get to a certain age, you won't really be meeting anyone anyway most of the time - varying by location and type, so why bother.

Depends on your personality as well.

I was 45 and met tons of people in Central America. Plenty of hook ups too. Over twenty or so in just over 3 months. Varying ages, but mostly early 20's a few 30's and one in her 40's.

And that was actively trying not to be creepy or actively hit on chicks, because I was still pretty devo about my own situation. The whole trip was supposed to the traditional couple trip to South America with my GF of 5 years, but she broke up with me a few months out from us going, and I just decided 'screw it, I'm doing this solo'.

Sorta bounced from messaging her via dodgy hostel wifi, getting my phone confiscated to stop me messaging my ex, beer pong and the usual card games and hostel story-telling.

It's just kind of hard to avoid in that environment. People travelling are generally always looking to hook up, or open to it.
 

Howard Littlejohn

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Parts of South America can be a little different to the more well trodden, western Europe or Thailand. And, yes, personality will make a difference. I'm a very solo person by nature, so that makes a difference.
 

chunkylover53

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Depends on your personality as well.

I was 45 and met tons of people in Central America. Plenty of hook ups too. Over twenty or so in just over 3 months. Varying ages, but mostly early 20's a few 30's and one in her 40's.

And that was actively trying not to be creepy or actively hit on chicks, because I was still pretty devo about my own situation. The whole trip was supposed to the traditional couple trip to South America with my GF of 5 years, but she broke up with me a few months out from us going, and I just decided 'screw it, I'm doing this solo'.

Sorta bounced from messaging her via dodgy hostel wifi, getting my phone confiscated to stop me messaging my ex, beer pong and the usual card games and hostel story-telling.

It's just kind of hard to avoid in that environment. People travelling are generally always looking to hook up, or open to it.
That sounds like heaps of fun dude. Awesome way to bounce back after a break up.

Excellent work.
 

Malifice

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That sounds like heaps of fun dude. Awesome way to bounce back after a break up.

Excellent work.

Thanks man.

I was totally bummed about having to front up to hostels in my mid 40's as the sad (literally) old dude. As it turns out, it was actually mostly OK.

As long as you're mindful of your age, and dont get too bummed about the occasional antipathy directed your way, most travelers are a pretty accepting bunch. I was pretty surprised by the number of women that were OK with hooking up with an older dude as well. I wasnt going out of my way to hook up or anything (I was upfront about my age, and my mojo was at an all time low due to the cliche of my ex GF leaving me for her Personal trainer + the general headduck of being mid 40's) but there was almost always at least one girl at every hostel that was flagging me in.

At my age you have to be super careful though. You basically have to shut down any attempt at tuning, and wait for them to make the first move. Unless you're getting the absolute green light, dont even go there and keep yourself in the friendzone, and try your luck with Tinder.

Putting that to one side, Central America was dope. Totally worth 3 months of everyone's life, working your way down from Cancun to Panama. Beaches, gorgeous cenotes, Mayan ruins (Chitchen Itza, Tulum, Tikal etc), parties, yacht cruises through the Belizean cayes and through the San Blas islands, more parties (Sunday Funday, Filthy Friday), booze and drugs everywhere (if that's your thing), hikes, horse riding, Quad hire, snorkeling, diving etc.

duck I miss it. Stupid Corona.
 

Angus Young

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Depends what country you're in... If you're in Australia 30 is old and u will be judged and seen as uncool and creepy

cool places in latin america and asia etc where there is no age thing and people don't give a duck its all good

so depends
 

nobbyiscool

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I'm so surprised by some of the answers here. I think if you're a solo traveller, and if you're not going to noted party places, you can get away with it well into your 30s, possibly your 40s.

When the 'rona hit that was part of the grieving I went through - by the time we came out the other side I was going to feel too old to do a backpackers. But it now occurs to me that I hate people and I won't travel if I can't afford my own room.

So maybe that's the point at which you're "too old" - when you're just going "nup, duck that, I'll delay the trip for a year or consolidate 2 trips into 1 shorter trip and stay in my own room."
 

Electronic_Renaissance

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Answer: Never too old.

Real Answer: Depends on your gender.

I know a lady in her (then) 50's who went around the US solo staying in hostels, has nothing bad to say. Everyone was amazing to her.

Men may be different, especially if you are solo. But I've never seen hostels as pick up joints. They are just cheaper places to stay while you go about your own adventures.
 

Electronic_Renaissance

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Interesting topic. I think the more remote (off the beaten path) you go the older you can be if that makes sense.

Agree, off the beaten path sometimes the only places you can afford (or is available) is a hostel. My only rule for myself is a private bathroom.

I've stayed in a couple of hostels, but they also had private rooms with your own bathroom. Almost like a hotel within a hostel.

Seen all ages in them. I don't think your age is ever a problem, more your behaviour.
 

Malifice

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Seen all ages in them. I don't think your age is ever a problem, more your behaviour.

For sure. While you're gonna get the 'creepy older dude at the hostel' looks/ vibe pretty often in a lot of hostels, I am ashamed to say that on occasion I've had one too many, forgotten my age, and actually been that dude (hitting a dancefloor with a beer funnel in one hand and a girl half my age on the other like I'm at Uni again, and not some 46 year old dude).

You've gotta stay classy and never forget your age.
 

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And_ROOS

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For sure. While you're gonna get the 'creepy older dude at the hostel' looks/ vibe pretty often in a lot of hostels, I am ashamed to say that on occasion I've had one too many, forgotten my age, and actually been that dude (hitting a dancefloor with a beer funnel in one hand and a girl half my age on the other like I'm at Uni again, and not some 46 year old dude).

You've gotta stay classy and never forget your age.
I think it depends on the hostel too. Theres a few I know of in London, that when I was 23 and was there I was in the older 10%. When I went to a different one when I was 27 I was considered young. And theres 1 I stayed at that had tons of people from all age groups.
 

Malifice

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I think it depends on the hostel too. Theres a few I know of in London, that when I was 23 and was there I was in the older 10%. When I went to a different one when I was 27 I was considered young. And theres 1 I stayed at that had tons of people from all age groups.

Yeah, I tend to read the reviews pretty carefully. I favor social hostels though, and occasionally find myself in full blown party hostels (where you stick out like dogs balls as a man in his mid 40s) by mistake (and admittedly, sometimes by design, because duck it why not).

A lot of Hostels in Europe (and a few in SEA) have age restrictions (no-one over the age of 30) to exclude the creepy older dudes (who tend to be there for no other reason than unrelentingly hit on 20 year old chicks and make them uncomfortable) and bossy 'mother hen' older Karens (who bring everyone down complaining about every last thing like noise/ lights etc, and trying and take over the dorm room) and families with kids who think the place is just a cheap hotel.

It always blows me away seeing those negative reviews on party hostels on Hostelworld, with people bitching about the sex/ booze/ antics/ noise.

I mean, if you're staying at a place called 'Dirty McNasties' and the hostel homepage features nothing but pictures of booze funnels, wet t-shirt contests and beer pong tables, it's clearly a party hostel. You know what you're getting yourself in for.
 

stmookeyj

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Personally I stopped using backpackers about 10 years ago. By that stage I was trying to book private rooms because of an experience in a dodgy Northbridge hostel where the guy on the bunk below got pretty close to a sheila and........I think you can imagine what happened from there. That's not to say I'm not worried about sharing toilet or shower facilities in order to save a few dollars, particularly now as they're probably going to be cleaned more often than ever. As long as I have my own bed, the wi-fi's free and there's a TV in the room I'm pretty easy in that regard.
 

raskolnikov

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I travel to Eastern/Central Europe mostly, where you can get a good hotel room for $30 a night so it's hardly worth the savings on a youth hostel.
 

juss

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I'm 30 now and wouldn't do it, but that's because I've reached the stage where I'd prefer to spend a bit more for added comfort, privacy and security, not because of others judgement. Nothing flash, I'm talking my own bed and bathroom in it's own room.

Once you get into your mid/late 20s, you'll definitely "stand out" at most hostels in terms of being slightly older from what I've observed.
 

Baggins15

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Can only speak for Europe and SEA, but bigger hostels (especially chain ones) usually have more of a party vibe, and thus are more likely to attract a younger crowd. Met tons of mid-late 20's travellers at smaller places, and a smattering of 30-somethings too.

Wouldn't stay solely at backpacker places for longer trips personally, think it's good to break things up with an occasional hotel stay. Even as a younger traveller (went to SEA at 19, Europe two years back at 23), some additional privacy and time away from partying/drinking every so often was nice.
 

Electronic_Renaissance

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Can only speak for Europe and SEA, but bigger hostels (especially chain ones) usually have more of a party vibe, and thus are more likely to attract a younger crowd. Met tons of mid-late 20's travellers at smaller places, and a smattering of 30-somethings too.

Wouldn't stay solely at backpacker places for longer trips personally, think it's good to break things up with an occasional hotel stay. Even as a younger traveller (went to SEA at 19, Europe two years back at 23), some additional privacy and time away from partying/drinking every so often was nice.

I have never stayed at a hostel as far as shared rooms and bathrooms go. But I have stayed at places where they have normal hotel rooms but with certain floors where it is hostel like, everything shared. I'm too old now for it but I could never do it anyway. Some of these places don't let alcohol in, is this normal? I've always smuggled it in anyway.

After a day of exploring I am totally knackered by the end of the day and just want a good nights sleep and be fresh for the next day of exploring. I also like staying at places for a while. I hate packing/unpacking so like to unpack knowing I have a few days or a week before I have to leave. I base myself in one city then like to do day trips to the smaller places.

How does security work at these places, do you have a locker? What's to stop people nicking your stuff either day or night?
 

AFDogs

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Did it when I was 24 and loved it. Struggled when I was 26. I'm 28 now and couldn't bear the thought of it.

Everybody is different. But I'm personally 'past' the backpacker phase of my life.
 

Electronic_Renaissance

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Did it when I was 24 and loved it. Struggled when I was 26. I'm 28 now and couldn't bear the thought of it.

Everybody is different. But I'm personally 'past' the backpacker phase of my life.

When you say you struggled at 26 with it was that just because you wanted some peace and quiet? Or you felt out of place?
 

Electronic_Renaissance

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For me it was the feeling out of place. If you're a middle aged bloke in a hostel, and you don't know who the creepy old dude at the hostel is...

Do you think it was because you were self conscious about it, or did you actually pick up a vibe and receive "looks" telling you that you didn't belong?
 

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