When we told friends that our family was planning to stay in hostels throughout our five-day trip in Germany, it became clear that most people still associate hostels with youthful backpacking adventures, not family vacations. Hostelling isn't just for college kids, though, as our family of five discovered firsthand while staying at two of Hostelling International‘s hostels in Deutschland.
Our first stay was at the Munchen Park hostel for three nights in Munich. My family felt safe in the friendly, clean hostel and we appreciated the free Wi-Fi, a bistro that carried snacks, beer and pizza; and the convenient cafeteria that offered free breakfast each morning as well as lunch and dinner available for purchase later in the day. Our three young boys loved the game room downstairs with a billiard table and large children's play area filled with trains and other toys.
Our family suite consisted of a shared entry with toilet and shower leading to the two separate rooms. My husband and I set our twin toddlers up in the travel beds that were brought to us upon request while our 4-year-old slept on the bottom bunk. The parents' room had a bunk bed, a sink, a table and two chairs along with a locker for storage.
The cost for a private room (with four beds, shower, toilet, and breakfast) was cheaper than staying in a comparable hotel, too.
When I read about it online, I did not believe the brand new Nuremberg hostel was really in part of an old castle. I saw the photos on the website, but for some reason it didn't register that we would be staying INSIDE a castle that dated back to the 1500s.
Rounded brick architecture in doorways gave way to a wood beamed ceiling in the common eating area. My boys noticed other children playing at the end of the hallway and ran down to see a seating area perfect for climbing. Despite its royal-looking interior, the hostel felt friendly, warm, and very up to date.
At this hostel our family bedded down in one large room with two comfortable bunk beds, several lockers for storage, and a private bathroom. Two bunk beds wouldn't work for us, so we requested baby beds from the front desk. When they arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find brand new, white wood cribs on wheels.
Breakfast was included with our room again. Any parent that travels with their kids knows that feeling when you enter a hotel or restaurant and all eyes are on your brood. But there were no worries here; it soon became clear that this hostel was booked with many families and young kids for the weekend.
Things to note about hostels with kids in Germany
When making your hostel reservation, be sure to ask if bed linens and towels are provided. Our hostels provided sheets, blankets and pillows but had to bring our own towels.
If traveling with babies or toddlers ask if the hostel offers cribs. If they do; be sure to reserve yours before you arrive.
Don't expect soaps, shampoos or vanity kits. These are budget accommodations and one way to keep costs down is to keep things at a minimum. So, pack your own bath products.
If driving, parking likely costs extra. Inquire about fees before arriving so you can budget accordingly.
Our stay was so enjoyable that both my husband and I agreed that going forward we will check into booking a hostel first wherever we go with our kids. At the moment I am researching which of Hostelling International's locations might work for us for a summer trip in Paris.
Would you consider staying in a hostel with your kids? Let us know in the comments below!
A Note from The Nomadic Travel Mama: I was a guest of Hostelling International. As always, the views and opinions expressed are honest and my own.
All photos by Farrah Ritter.