I know a lot of people get nervous about traveling alone. Loneliness is a very real part of long term travel. It’s especially hard if you are shy and traveling alone. I’m not normally shy but in a foreign country surrounded by strangers, it is easy to be withdrawn. But I’ll give you some tips for making friends at a hostel even if you are a little shy.
Things to look for in a hostel:
The way your hostel is set up really effects your visit. Some people like quiet hostels and others like party hostels. Here’s some things to look for when you are booking your hostel.
- Common Room: A lot of people travel alone. People use the common room as a space to have down time. Just go to the common room and introduce yourself to someone. Yes, it is that easy.
- Kitchen: It saves you a lot of money to cook your own food. Also, cooking and eating is the best way to bond with people.
- Bar: A hostel is much more fun if you have a bar in the common room. Everyone drinks, talks and eventually goes out together. That’s how I met this lovely lady, Rosie. She made Paris so much fun!
- Breakfast: Not only is breakfast a nice perk but you can take some of the stuff with you for snacks during the afternoon. It saves you a lot of money. Also, introduce yourself to someone at breakfast. Perhaps you can find someone who wants to go to the same sights as you.
- You don’t need to have all of these things for your hostel experience to be great but at least one feature will make a difference in your stay.
Ways to introduce yourself:
- Simply go up to someone and introduce yourself, for example. “Hello, I’m Sima from America.” Travelers love making friends especially if they’ve been traveling alone for awhile.
- Cooking in a hostel is a money saver and a great way to get to know people. Whether you cook something and share it or ask around if people want to cook together. In Bilbao, we made burritos and gave out three to other guests. Later, we all went barhopping. It was a easy way to get to know people.
- I ask people what they are doing for dinner or later that night. In Houston, we all pitched on a pizza, drank beer and went out together later. Everyone needs to eat!
- Invite people with you places, whether it’s an afternoon walk though a neighborhood or partying in the city, just shout out, “Who wants to come with me to…” In Tel Aviv, I ‘d go to the lounge and announce what I was doing and often someone would come with me.
The most important thing about hostel life is being open to new people and experiences. The best part of making friends in hostels is you might never see them again, so just be you and all else will follow.
Let me know if these tips were helpful!