Many of you are probably traveling alone, but do not really want to be alone. Therefore hostels will be your best friend. Unlike hotels where everybody keeps to himself, hostels are all about community. I have made great friends through hostels and will keep staying in them, especially when traveling alone. Here I will share some of my best tips to befriending people at hostels and enjoying the day or more together.
If you want to save money and don’t mind sharing a room with other people, you should consider booking a dorm room. You can start a conversation with others in your room while putting away your things. It is an easy thing to ask someone for their name and where they are from if you are already sharing a room. This is especially convenient if you checked in together, so you know the other person also just got here. Many people do their research so they want to see the same things in the first few days. So if you checked in together, you can tell them what you plan to do that evening or the next day and ask if they want to join. You are not risking much, since the worst that can happen is them saying no.
Free Breakfast or Dinner
Many hostels will offer free breakfast or dinner which you should definitely take advantage of, On one hand, you get free food, so that’s amazing. On the other hand, you will be spending time with other people who are sitting around the table. It is easy to get a conversation going over food. Here are questions that are typical: where are you from, how long have you been traveling, how long have you been here? These are easy questions that will get you talking. You can then ask about their plans for the day or bring up yours and ask if they want to join. Once I was at a hostel in Laos and one girl next to me announced during breakfast that she was going to the Royal Palace this morning and anyone who wanted could join. It was a great idea and worked very well. We became good friends during this visit, which you can read all about it here in my post about Loas.
The Common Room
Many hostels have some kind of common room or lobby where you can sit together with other travelers. It is another great place to meet the other travelers staying at your hostel. Here you can relax and talk to people about their stories. Some have very interesting ones, so it is worth listening. You can talk about what your plans are for the coming days and others might give you suggestions on what is and what isn’t worth it. Other travelers are a great resource when it comes to information about cities you are about to visit, since if they have been there and have gone through what you are about to. Make sure you take advantage of them.
Tours or pub crawls
Many hostels offer many many attractions, such as city tours or pub crawls. Signing up for one of these will give you a legitimate reason to talk to others who also signed up. You will already be in a group doing the same thing, so it is not a big leap to do the same again. Pub crawls have the added benefit of involving alcohol which makes talking to people even easier. These may cost a few bucks, but it is worth it. You will see some of the city, and meet new people. This was the way I became great friends with a group of strangers in Barcelona last year. We bonded during a sangria night and spend the rest of the weekend together. You can read all about that story here in my Barcelona city guide.
Just talk to them
Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Most of the people staying at hostels are young travelers on an adventure. They are ope and friendly and love talking. Talk to the girl next to you in the dorm, by the other sink, at the reception. You don’t have to be creative and not every conversation has to go somewhere. It is just to meet new people and explore your options. If you decide to do something together, that does not mean you have to spend the rest of your trip with them. You can just share the cost for this one activity and go your own way.
I hope I managed to open your eyes to the beauty of hostel friends. All it takes is some courage and a topic. Connecting will not be hard, since the people in hostels are always open, friendly, and ready to talk. So next time you are staying at a hostel just talk to the person next to you.
As always, share your hostel stories with me in the comments below or on instragram @lettersfromatravelinggirl