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For college-age people, a backpacking holiday is one of the great pleasures of summer; for their parents, it's one of the great worries. It's hard enough to let your kids go off on their own, harder still when you're unsure where they're going to stay. You'll feel better if they make travel plans with advice from hostels.com, one of the largest databases of hostels around the world: more than 7,000 are currently listed. The facilities are rated by visitors who have stayed there (categories include "security," "location," "cleanliness" and "fun"), which means no unpleasant surprises on arrival. The site...

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