Back to backpacking?

Many of us have fond memories of tramping through Europe or across Canada, living on the proverbial five dollars a day. Those days are long gone, of course, and most of us are beyond lugging anything resembling a back pack.

What hasn’t changed, however, is the vast network of hostels that are located in virtually every city around the world. Notice that we’re not calling them “youth” hostels anymore, and you may consider them as a viable means of seeing a lot more of the world than you could otherwise afford.

Hostels definitely aren’t for every 50 plusser, but they do offer clean and convenient accommodation at ridiculously low prices. Especially in Europe, (and increasingly in North America) hostels and their staff have always welcomed guests of all ages. Dormitory-style accommodations are offered in 5,000 locations in 70 nations, for adventurous travelers who like the idea of spending $25 or less (usually much less) per night.

Membership is open to anyone, and a number of hostels offer services ranging from laundry facilities and bike rentals to hot tubs and swimming pools. In urban areas, you can often use your hostel card to obtain discounts on museums, restaurants,nd shops, and yes, there is a senior’s discount.