Travelling alone can be a great experience for anyone looking to try something new. While you may be travelling solo, you may still need a friendly face from now and again. Hostels are great for their price (a must if you are travelling with a student budget), location and ease, but they are also the perfect location to meet other travellers. Use these tips to make friends at hostels, no matter where you visit.
Choose the right hostel
Do your research; there is a hostel out there for anyone – from top-notch European hostels to amazing Asian dorms. If you are looking for a holiday full of late nights and crazy adventures, stay away from hostels that are targeted to couples or say they are kid-friendly. If you are looking for a tamer scene and a calmer atmosphere, then avoid legendary party hostels with designated social nights, these are usually targeted for those looking to be super social – instead opt for hostels that offer quiet courtyards or private bedrooms.
Make sure you read the reviews beforehand and compile a list of hostels that fit your taste. If you want to meet new people, then aim for hostels that advertise to your age group.
Stay in a multi-share room
While your own space may sound appealing, multi-share rooms are where friendships are made. The close quarters and lack of privacy make it easy to strike up a conversation; you usually cannot stay so close to other people without talking at some point. But judge the situation carefully, if it looks like your roommates are getting ready for bed, let them sleep, but if they are talkative and excited, ask about going out or making plans for later.
Do not hide in your bunk
Just staying in a dorm room is not enough to make friends. Even in a room with lots of people you will have your own space, and it is easy to just sit in your bed with a book or look through photos of your latest adventure. But you do not want to appear unapproachable or uninterested. Make sure you take advantage of the communal areas that are unique to hostels; cook dinner in the kitchen or read in the courtyard. Bonus: cooking in a hostel is a great way to eat cheap no matter where you travel. Just being outside of the dorm room will make you seem more sociable.
Go to the social events
If you chose a hostel with designated social nights, take advantage of them. Check the hostel notice boards or ask at reception when the next event is. Usually big hostel chains set up bar crawls or free walking tours for guests. These events are always good conversation starters, too. Ask your roommates if they would like to go together.
The great thing about staying in a hostel is that you already have something in common with everyone around you. Strike up a conversation about the city you are staying in or ask about their travel plans. As other travellers see you chatting with someone, the more approachable you appear and there is a good chance others will join in on the conversation.
Don’t be clingy
So you tried and unfortunately failed, that is okay. The first person or group of people you tried to make friends with might not always be the friendship of a lifetime, but take the hint. Do not be upset if they were not interested in going out with you; simply move on. Hostels are full of people, so just ask another traveller about their next destination or their plans for the night.
Meeting new people is one of the greatest experiences about traveling abroad, but be careful. Get to know people a bit in the hostel before you plan an evening with them. If at any point you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, go with your gut and tell them you are tired and calling it a night; chances are your instincts are right. If you do go out with some new friends, make sure you remember your hostel name, you know where you are going and you have enough money to grab a cab if you need to.
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