I stayed in a HOSTEL! ALL BY MYSELF! And I had so much fun.
Unlike the Hostel movies, I lived to tell the tale. Not only that, but I really enjoyed it! I stayed at the Hostelle in Amsterdam, and I had an absolutely wonderful time. I met some darling people: the sisters traveling from Great Britain, the mother and daughter duo from Germany, the Japanese lass who traded me an apple for a Stroopwafel...it was a pleasant experience. I thought I would be the oldest there, but I wasn't. There was a group of ladies in their 60s who were hosteling all over Europe! I enjoyed morning coffee with the girls, and we often walked the six blocks to the train station together. I knew them for just a few days, and haven't talked to any of them since, but when I was there and with them, we were friends. It was great.
This particular hostel came with sheets and a pillow, as well as a locker under my bed. I was told to bring a lock, and I did. That way I was assured that I would be the only one with access to my stuff.
Some tips to hosteling when you're over 40:
1. Make sure you have clear directions to the hostel. I walked for 6 hours trying to find my way. After 26 hours of traveling, that is the LAST thing I wanted to do!
2. Make friends. The youngsters there are just as interested in what your experiences are, as you are in what they do.
3. Find a core group. They will help you with your plans, tell you of things they have experienced that you may want to see, and in general be your go-to group.
4. BRING SHOWER SHOES. Just trust me on this one.
5. Keep to your own space in the room. Rooms are small. Don't drape your towel over somebody else's bed rail. That's just rude. Keep your items in your luggage. Nobody wants to trip over your bra in the middle of the night.
6. Share. Sharing my Stroopwafel was in my heart. Getting an apple for my train ride to Germany in response was just as nice.
7. Keep an open mind. You may not like everybody in your room, but chances are that you will like somebody.
8. Basically, when you're hostelling, follow the golden rule. Do to others how you want them to do to you.
9. Check, recheck, and triple check. Many hostels have age restrictions. Surprisingly, many of the restrictions are for us older folks. That's okay! Let the young ones have their hostel! Find a hostel that wants YOU as much as you want to be there.
10. DON'T BE AFRAID! Just Hostel. It will change your outlook on travel, and save you a few bucks along the way.