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  • Writer's pictureRich Heinsman

Hosteling with Children... Yes, it's actually FUN!!

With the holidays finally behind us, odds are good that your family is in desperate need of a vacation! But whether you want to bundle up and head outside, or whether you're dreaming of a getaway with all the comfort of the indoors, you'll find a host of gems to choose from in Chattanooga. The variety of entertainment options available, in addition to Chattanooga's charm and southern hospitality, will make for a great vacation for the family for the experienced and the not-so-experienced hostel traveler, alike.

Hostel travel has grown exponentially in popularity over the last few years. Many travelers have found it to be uniquely suited for both the adventurous spirit seeking out culture and connection and the practically minded person looking for convenience and the best bang for their buck. This combination means it should be on every parents' list as a way to provide cost effective, enriching experiences for the whole family.

One of the benefits of hostel travel is its social atmosphere. Let's face it, after a day or 2 in sometimes VERY close proximity (say, after a long car ride), kids and parents, alike, may be a stir crazy for some non-familial social interaction. The communal area of a hostel is a perfect spot for crossing paths with others while parents enjoy their morning coffee, dad does some laundry, or the kids eat an afternoon snack. In the common areas, families can find new friends, trade stories with other travelers, and get tips on places to visit around town.

Hostel travel is also convenient and cost effective. For example, at Scenic City Hostel families may easily rent out a room of bunk beds for less than the price of a traditional hotel room. Bunk beds even include their own personal lights, fans, and USB ports so that kids and parents staying in the same room don't have to fight over outlets or bedtimes. Hostels also provide access to full kitchens, a fact that is not lost on many parents who have growing, hungry kids. And hostels have the added convenience of being centrally located to a variety of entertainment options, minimizing the hassles of parking and traffic, freeing up more of your time.

Just like a hotel, hostels also provide the privacy, safety, and comfort that everyone craves after a full day of activities. At Scenic City Hostel each private room is complete with a tempurpedic mattress, a soft down-alternative comforter, and a flat screen tv, perfect for some much needed downtime.

For those families new to hostel travel, we've got you covered with some tips and tricks below to help you enjoy your first visit.:

Consider bath time. For parents with young children, you may want to consider “practicing” or rethinking bath time prior to visiting, as most hostels are shower-only.

Remember to pack towels. Towels are an amenity not provided in most hostels in order to keep the cost down. So don't forget to throw one in your bag as you pack for your trip!

Need extras? Call ahead. Please remember to call ahead to reserve extras, such as a pack-n-play, should you need one for your stay.

Play it safe with sleep time. We encourage parents of young children to bring a white noise machine or phone app to ensure that everyone sleeps well.

Bring a stroller. Due to its central location, be sure to bring a stroller for young children, as it may be more convenient to walk than drive.

Lastly, plan to make friends and have a good time! And be sure to encourage your children to do the same.

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