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Hostels: Fun Places to Stay When Traveling, No Matter What Your Age (Hostelling International-Montreal)

Updated on November 8, 2013


Before you say, "Not me!" think again. Why not stay in a hostel? Whether you’re 18 or 60, it can be a wonderful experience.


“We were 63 and 74 when we stayed at the hostel in Montreal, our first hostel experience. I think some of the young people took note of our age, but we enjoyed their company, and they seemed fine with us. And we weren't the only 'seniors' there, either.

"We did climb three flights of stairs to reach our room each time, make that four flights from the basement café/kitchen. Think of it as good exercise!”


Perhaps there are two times in life to be the most adventurous...when you are very young and before you get too old!

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Auberge du Jeunesse (HI-Montreal)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Youth Hostel in MontrealIn the heart of Montreal.
Youth Hostel in Montreal
Youth Hostel in Montreal | Source
In the heart of Montreal.
In the heart of Montreal. | Source

Accommodations

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Private room for 2 with private (en suite) bath.Private bathWith showerDorm room for 6.Floor plan for the 3rd floor.   Room 317 is the private room shown above.
Private room for 2 with private (en suite) bath.
Private room for 2 with private (en suite) bath. | Source
Private bath
Private bath | Source
With shower
With shower | Source
Dorm room for 6.
Dorm room for 6. | Source
Source
Floor plan for the 3rd floor.   Room 317 is the private room shown above.
Floor plan for the 3rd floor. Room 317 is the private room shown above. | Source

Cheap and Fun

Keeping expenses down is a major reason to hostel. In Montreal, a private room with two twin beds and a private attached bath (en suite) is listed for $80 Canadian per night per room. (If you really want to save money, stay in the male or female dorm rooms with 4-10 sleep mates and shared bath for as little as $25 CAD.) All prices are even lower if you become a member of Hostelling International.

Towels and made-up beds with sheets, pillows, and blankets are included.

The private room and bath were extremely clean, if plain, but brightly painted yellow and orange, and quite cheerful even with a window view of another window and a brick wall. These rooms are comfortable for sleeping and dressing, but are not for spending a lot of time. The lobby and the café/kitchen, however, are other matters entirely.

Besides who would want to stay in the room? C’est Montreal!

The Cafe

The basement café serves coffee, sweet rolls, scones, muffins, cereals, yogurt and milk, plus made-to-order eggs dishes for breakfast and sandwiches and other fare. Breakfast buffet prices at $6.95 CAD. Light meals are served other times and the café stays open until midnight.

It’s a great gathering place any time of day. A spot to sit and plan your day, catch up on TV news, or people watch, which we enjoyed immensely.

At night, the cafe becomes a bar, serving wine, beer, and more.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
The cafe.The communal kitchen area is adjacent to the cafe.No alcohol is allowed in the rooms, but the cafe becomes a bar at night.
The cafe.
The cafe. | Source
The communal kitchen area is adjacent to the cafe.
The communal kitchen area is adjacent to the cafe. | Source
No alcohol is allowed in the rooms, but the cafe becomes a bar at night.
No alcohol is allowed in the rooms, but the cafe becomes a bar at night. | Source
Musee des Beaux-Arts
Musee des Beaux-Arts | Source

A Sweet Location

Another top reason for staying at a hostel is location, location, location. We walked the short few blocks to the Museé des Beaux-Arts for a day at the museum, then down Crescent Street to find some of the best sidewalk cafes and pubs in the city. We enjoyed our favorite meal in Montreal—a terrific late lunch of pasta carbonara at Dundees. (New Town and the pub by Sir Winston Churchill across the street were pretty good, as well. We tried one each day.)

Close to Places

Click thumbnail to view full-size
On rue Crescent, Dundees can be seen across the street from the pub Sir Winston Churchill.Close to downtown.These bikes can be rented and dropped off at sites throughout the city.Pedestrian street near Jacques Cartier
On rue Crescent, Dundees can be seen across the street from the pub Sir Winston Churchill.
On rue Crescent, Dundees can be seen across the street from the pub Sir Winston Churchill. | Source
Close to downtown.
Close to downtown. | Source
These bikes can be rented and dropped off at sites throughout the city.
These bikes can be rented and dropped off at sites throughout the city. | Source
Pedestrian street near Jacques Cartier
Pedestrian street near Jacques Cartier | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Metro at night with street musicians.  Walking up the trail to Mont Royal.View of the city from Mont Royal.
The Metro at night with street musicians.
The Metro at night with street musicians. | Source
Walking up the trail to Mont Royal.
Walking up the trail to Mont Royal. | Source
View of the city from Mont Royal.
View of the city from Mont Royal. | Source

Getting Around

Since we drove to Montreal, parking was a big concern. But the hostel has arranged for $10 per 24 hours parking just a block and a half away. We parked our vehicle for three days, and used our feet and the very close by subway to get around the city.


The only time you might want a vehicle is to make it to the top of Mont Royal. It's Montreal's version of New York City's Central Park...except it's a mountain! However, this is Canada, and most people hike up the trails to the top rather than driving.

Communal Kitchen

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Communal kitchen with 3 stoves.Toaster area.
Communal kitchen with 3 stoves.
Communal kitchen with 3 stoves. | Source
Source
Toaster area.
Toaster area. | Source

How to Save Even More

The best part of hostelling in Montreal, though, is that for this sweet location, you just won’t find a better price.

And if you’re really up for saving money, cook your own meals. The café is combined with a communal kitchen and dining area. You can buy part of what you want at the café and cook the rest or just do all your own meal preparation. We brought along our homemade granola, and just bought milk and yogurt at the local store.

This is a good place to use Starbuck’s Café Via. Although instant coffee may not sound appealing, Café Via actually tastes quite good compared to the more expensive and somewhat weak $1.50 coffee from the café.


The kitchen is a marvel of communal efficiency. Three stoves and three or four sinks with plenty of work areas and a wall of cubbyholes for storing dry goods. Commercial sliding glass door refrigerators lining another wall are for common use. Forms, pencils, and tape are provided to identify belongings. It’s all on the honor system. Every Thursday, mystery bags without ID are discarded.

Poster in the communal kitchen.
Poster in the communal kitchen. | Source

The kitchen is also fully equipped with cooking pots, pans, eating and cooking utensils, plates, bowls, cups, saucers, glasses. Everything you really need and enough for 15 or 20 people at once to be served. You use what you need, wash it and put it away. It has the pleasant feeling of recalling college dorm living or ones salad days.

The Lobby at the Hostel

The young people we encountered were so courteous, the energy infectious, the staff extremely cheerful and helpful. The lobby is filled with arrivals and departures, backpacks and chatter. It has great sources of information by just asking or browsing the seemingly hundreds of tourist brochures.

Remember, Montreal is French speaking. But they also love their tourists. Hostellers come from all over the world speaking many languages, but it's easy to find people who speak English.


The Lobby at the hostel.
The Lobby at the hostel. | Source

Whether for budget, location, or just for the experience, try hostelling...no matter what your age.

Hostelling Everywhere

A
Auberge du Jeunesse:
1030 rue Mackay, Montreal, QC H3G, Canada

get directions

Comments

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    • JSParker profile imageAUTHOR

      JSParker 

      6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Yes, we saw rooms like that at the Montreal hostel, but fortunately we had a private room and bath and it was very nice. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany

      I have stayed in a hostel in Dublin with my husband a few years ago. Thanks God it was only 2 nights. The room was small, for 4 persons and 2 up and down beds. I did not mind the small room but I did mind the coming and going of the 2 persons in our room, in the middle of the night. It was an experience though. Thanks for sharing and for your follow;-)

    • JSParker profile imageAUTHOR

      JSParker 

      6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Delighted to have your visit, Peggy! Of course, Elderhostels has now become Road Scholars and I've heard nothing but good things about them. They are educationally oriented, many retired people, and a very good value from what I've heard.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have never stayed in a Hostel but know some people who used to go to several different Elderhostels and they took some classes. Had a good time doing it. Something to consider for the future. Thanks for this good information. Voted up and useful.

    • JSParker profile imageAUTHOR

      JSParker 

      6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Thanks extended-stay for your comments and votes. These make a Hubber feel the effort is worthwhile!

    • JSParker profile imageAUTHOR

      JSParker 

      6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Welcome, Sandy Frost. We recently took a group tour to China and a couple of our fellow travelers told us what great times they had staying in hostels in various countries around the world.

      Hostels make it easy for voyagers not familiar with a country to find safe, clean and economical lodging, regardless of age. Nowhere does Hostelling International (HI) specify that hostels are for youth only.

    • Sandy Frost profile image

      Sandy Frost 

      6 years ago from India

      Yes, though, hostels are usually denoted as stay-space for students and job executives, these are much cheaper and convenient alternatives than hotels and lodges. Comparatively low prices, hygiene rich atmosphere and safetiness, these all make them a better choice for those who travel a lot or go outside on regular tours. Very nice hub, thanks.

    • JSParker profile imageAUTHOR

      JSParker 

      6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Hi friend, thank you for your comment! Seeing the hostel right next to Pike St. Market in Seattle kinda broke the ice. I was willing to look into hostelling at that point for future travels. I'm really glad we did it. Next time, though, I'll ask for the first floor!

    • profile image

      L Arbor 

      6 years ago

      Great post! Love the photos. After reading your piece, I think it would be fun to try a hostel. I might have been intimidated to try before reading your Hub.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      I think it was Elderhostels. Yes, they did sometimes use college dorms but I thought they also did regular hostels but I was probably wrong.

    • JSParker profile imageAUTHOR

      JSParker 

      6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Happyboomernurse, nice to hear from you! Thanks for mentioning tours for seniors; I'd be interested in finding out more about those. I am familiar with Road Scholars, formerly known as Elderhostels, though I haven't done a tour. They sometimes stay in college dorms, which is another option for budget travel, during the summer, anyway.

      Hi Danette. One thing I didn't even ask about is whether those private rooms are also available on the first floor which would eliminate the stairs, except for those up to the entrance. I liked your comment about not being a senior. I find it amazing that I feel like I'm one of the kids at the hostel, and it's a shock to realize that they see me as, well, "senior"! I think one reason I wanted to stay at the hostel is I missed that opportunity after HS and college and always had a yearning for it.

      Alicia, thank you so much for your comment. I really loved the video and was amazed at the beauty of the buildings used by HI around the world. I heard about a guy who took on a project of visiting and photographing every Starbucks in the US (can you imagine?) but I'd like a project of visiting those hostels!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the information about staying in hostels. I'd like to travel to many places, but air fare and hotels are so expensive. Staying in a hostel sounds like a great idea. Your photos are great and the video is very interesting. I'll certainly think about staying in a hostel if I make another long-distance trip.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      My husband, too, would not be able (or willing) to climb 3 flights of stairs at least twice daily. But I would and I think this is a great idea! Like you and others here, I never really thought about it as an option for "seniors" (I'm not one, just everyone else thinks I am by my age LOL). I will definitely keep hosteling in mind if I get a chance to make another trip somewhere.

      My son went to Europe with a friend after HS and they stayed in hostels. They had a great time, did the "backpacking" trip around Europe - Germany, Austria, Eng, etc.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      I used to think that Hostels were only for young people but I think there are some senior tours being offered now (read about it in a magazine but never wrote down who offers them.)

      This sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing it. My hubby would have difficulty with the stairs but it's something our adult son might like.

      Rated up and useful.

    • JSParker profile imageAUTHOR

      JSParker 

      6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Hi Mary! I thought the same thing. I think I first got the idea that we could hostel when we were in Seattle and saw the hostel right next to Pike Street Market. I was so jealous of the location, I looked it up online and saw they had private rooms with baths. But they were already booked. Thanks for your comment!

      princesswithapen - Thank you so much for your comment. Anyone who wants to budget travel anywhere, my advice is to see if there's a hostel. The video by HI that's in my hub shows multitudes of hostels around the world, and they are gorgeous. Take a look at the one in China! Blew my mind.

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 

      6 years ago

      Staying in hostels seems like a good idea for budget travelling. I will definitely keep a copy of this hub if I ever visit Montreal. Good hub!

      P

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I always thought Hostels were for back-packers; just for young people. Thanks for letting me know I was wrong. Good Hub. Informative.

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