Based on what I can learn from online sources, probably not at this point, with one exception. You situation may be very different, though.

First, I had to learn how to pronounce “hostel”!

Per the Cambridge dictionary, the American pronunciation sounds like “hahss-tel”. The UK pronunciation sounds like “haus-tel”.

What is a hostel?

Wikipedia defines hostels as

hostel is a form of low-cost, short-term shared sociable lodging where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed in a dormitory, with shared use of a lounge and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex and have private or shared bathrooms. Private rooms may also be available, but the property must offer dormitories to be considered a hostel.[1][2] Hostels are popular forms of lodging for backpackerscycle tourists, and gap year travelers. They are part of the sharing economy.[3] Benefits of hostels include lower costs and opportunities to meet people from all over the world, find travel partners, and share travel ideas

Who stays at hostels?

While anyone can generally stay at a hostel, they have historically oriented towards young travelers. Until recently, travel guides referred to them as youth hostels.

From online market research, about 2/3ds of those who stay at hostels are under age 30 or age 35 (depends on the survey).

Some older travelers also stay at hostels, but from the online stories, all had been staying at hostels since about age 20. In other words, they did not just decide to stay at a hostel at age 50.

Historically, hostels catered to the 20-something backpacker, providing an inexpensive place to sleep, communal kitchens, and a dining area that served as a meeting place. Meeting other travelers at hostels is a top feature of the hostel community.

Some hostels are evolving and offering “upscale hostel” experiences. These tend to include private rooms or semi-private group rooms and have been recently renovated and updated. Costs per night are higher, of course, but much less than hotels in their area. A private room with one queen-size bed was quoted at around USD $70 in multiple cities checked (with prices much higher than that in some locations – but with more amenities).

Some online stories about hostels are titled “How to stay at a hostel if over 30“, or “Eight hostels for travelers who are too old to stay hostels” implying, in all seriousness, that hostels and the hostel experience is mostly oriented to youth travelers.

Is a hostel for you or me?

My best guess, as a naive, inexperienced traveler over age 60 is that most hostels are oriented towards a different demographic – and am concerned I may not fit in with the general vibe. I have no problem hanging out with younger people – just not sure they want to hang out with old folks!

An exception might be upscale hostels, plus as noted in several sites, hostels not located near public transportation tend serve older travelers by default. How so? Access is usually via private car, and many countries restrict car rentals to those over age 25, so by default, these hostels tend to serve older travelers. (But define “older”?)

My assessment is hostels are not likely the right place for me (and/or my wife), especially on our first or second trips abroad. However, we may investigate upscale hostels more, later on.

The attraction to a hostel, especially if traveling solo, is meeting other travelers, and to learn from their travel experiences.

But after investigating this I have concerns we may have missed this opportunity by virtue of being old now.

What do you think?

I have not stayed at a hostel, nor have I even seen one! Which illustrates my travel naivety.

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

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