Staying in hostels while you’re out on the road not only makes traveling a lot more budget-friendly, it provides the opportunity to be immersed in a highly social environment, providing a great natural gathering spot for like-minded travelers around the world. According to Hostelworld, 51% of hotel travelers say the most important factor for a great trip is “meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.”
Whether you’re coming from Charlotte, NC, Los Angeles, CA or somewhere in between, making new friends from across the globe is likely to be one of the highlights of your travels. On your next trip, you might even find yourself planning an itinerary that includes visiting some of your favorite travel buddies.
Book a Dorm Room
Your odds of getting to know other guests are better if you book a dorm room as you’ll be living in rather close quarters. You’ll be in a situation that’s natural for conversations, after all, it would be a little awkward if no one talks. If you’re nervous just smile, say hello and perhaps ask where the other person is from. Still, you don’t have to stay in a dorm if that’s not your thing, many hostels offer private rooms, and you’re still be guaranteed a social stay, meeting other guests at breakfast, when taking advantage of activities offered, or hanging out at the hostel bar.
Reach Out to Those Who Are Alone
If you notice someone sitting in a common room alone, it could very well be that they’re shy and just waiting for someone else to make the first move. If they really didn’t want to talk to anyone, they’d probably be holed up in their room. Don’t be afraid to talk first, there are lots of simple questions that make conservation easy in a hostel, as noted above – ask them where they’re from, about some of the places they’ve traveled to, or perhaps for advice such as the best places to go out at night.
Offer to Share Food
Sharing food is a great way to meet people and get a conversation going. Consider picking up some groceries and cooking up a meal in the hostel kitchen, inviting at least a few guests, or all the guests depending on the size of the hostel. If that’s not an option, invite out a guest or group of guests to join you for dinner at that cool new hotspot you discovered.
Meet Up with Hostel Travelers Before You Go
If you’re an introvert and have a hard time starting a conversation with someone you’ve never met, trying meeting someone online first. Apps like Backpackr are great as they allow you to check out the travel plans of other travelers/backpackers that have similar itineraries. You can spend time chatting online to find out if it’s someone you’d like to join you on the mountain trek or whatever adventure you have in mind before meeting up in person.