A couple of coincidences in my own life illustrate some of the changes.
I've recently been volunteering to help with reading at my grandchildren's primary school. Child protection is a big thing these days and I've passed the checks. The children in the class where I volunteer have been asked to bring in pics of themselves as babies to see who's recognisable and that, by a roundabout route has led to several of my old pics being submitted. One is this one of me youth hostelling solo at Whitby as a 14 year old:-viewtopic.php?p=81384#p81384
IIRC, in those days YHA rules permitted unaccompanied children from age 12 with parental permission, signified only by an unchecked signature on the membership card. I started unaccompanied youth hostelling when I was 13 in 1958.
One of the things I remeber about that visit to Whitby YHA was that most of the place was occupied by an unruly "SJP" - school journey party as they used to be known. I particularly remember they were all boys older than me who seemed to spend their time shouting "ratbag" at each other.
My younger grandson - approaching his 11th birthday is going on a school "residential" from today until Wednesday and although it's referred to as Whitby, I think they are going to Boggle Hole. Child protection requirements will presumably mean that there will be no independent travellers there.
FWIW junior member rate for bed (1/6d) evening meal and breakfast (2/6d each) totalled 6/6d for the bednight ie 32½p. Times change.