Youth Hostels

Travelling Boomers are hostelling

Joel Marier, Executive Director of Hostelling International Canada, says an increasing number of travellers in their 50s and 60s are coming back to hostelling as empty nesters. 

Hostellers are budget conscious travellers who don't want to be isolated in a hotel by themselves, but would rather meet fellow travellers in the common areas of the hostel, exchange ideas on what's most interesting to visit, and take part in tours and events recommended by the local staff.

Hostels are becoming increasingly comfortable, with more individual rooms, and fewer people in the bunk rooms, while still maintaining shared kitchens where members to cook meals, a common room, and lots of information about local activities.

Hostelling Canada members get a special rate at the hostels, and they get discounts from national partners such as GreyHound Bus and local establishments.  Canadian membership provides access to hostels anywhere in the world.

The Hostel Travelling Experience

Joel says every hostel offers a different experience:

  • A Vancouver hostel has large common areas, including a library and a BBQ patio.
  • The Ottawa hostel is in a reconditioned jail
  • The Shuswap Lake hostel is in a caboose
  • The Algonquin Park hostel is in a century-old frontier hotel in the hamlet of Maynooth (population 200).
  • The Banff hostel builds and ice climbing wall in the winter.
  • The Alpine hostels between Banff and Jasper offer a rustic, cabin-in-the-bush experience...
  • The hostel in Florence, Italy offers affordable rooms close to the main attractions.


Calgarian Ed Hemmings has been involved in hostelling for most of his life.  He describes some recent travelling experiences: