Sometimes, when you are set out on the adventure of your life, there will be times when you might feel lonely. But, it doesn’t mean that the traveling experience isn’t awesome, it’s just that adding a few more mates to your journey makes it more fun and exciting.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a very comfortably sociable person or you are a shy, introverted person, there are a lot of ways you can make friends during your stay at the hostels. Here we have listed eleven helpful points for you that can come handy.
1. Pick a dorm instead of a private room
If you pick a private room instead of a dorm and isolate yourself from the rest of the crowd, it will be quite challenging to make an approach to making friends. Whereas, if you pick a dorm room during your stay you have a far better chance of making friends effortlessly as you will blend in with the crowd sharing the room quite smoothly. In these kinds of situations, even if you are not good at starting a conversation you could start with small talks like simple greeting or simple questions. You could use this routine to understand if the person is approachable or whether he/she doesn’t have any interest in being friends; no matter what, try to be welcoming and attentive with roommates as you will have to sleep sharing room with them later.
Most importantly, don’t hold yourself back; you have set out on the adventure of your life so be on full-on adventurer mode. If you uncover your passion and interest to your roommates, you might find new best mates in this memorable expedition.
2. Hang out in the cafeteria or common areas
One of the advantages of staying in a hostel is that they have tons of communal areas where you can get sociable. You could use these areas to socialize with the travelers and tp escalate the bonding process using common grounds.
If the hostel you are staying at has a bar or cafeteria facilities, you could use this opportunity in your favor. Usually, it’s quite easy to identify the solo travelers from the crowd in bars and cafes; if you are not good at introducing yourself to a bunch of people at once, you could start from befriending the travelers who are sitting alone at their table. You can talk first to start the conversation, you could start by complimenting the hostel, fun things to do around or places that you shouldn’t miss. Further, if the person is wearing a sports jersey, carrying a guitar, cameras or you see any special feature that makes them stand out from the crowd, you could use that aspect to advance the communication.
3. Sign up for activities and group events
Generally, hostels regularly organize excursions, trips, activities, and pub crawls which are a great way to make new friends in the hostel. These types of activities are practiced by the big chain hostels so the guests get a chance to get involved together in different kinds of activities and know more about each other and no one has to spend their time in isolation.
If you are a solo traveler, it may feel daunting to join such events alone as you see everyone else walking with friends or partners, even so, dare to participate in such events, one way or another you will be communicating with the mass along the trip.
Even if you are an introvert, you can start the conversation by commenting on the landscapes, people, culture, and tradition you are witnessing or quietly pointing out your thoughts and asking questions. You have to be mindful of not hiding at the back of the group if you are alone as you might feel like being left out.
Likewise, if the hostel runs group events like cooking classes, stand-ups, or cultural programs representing local lifestyles, you could take part in such programs where you can freely make friends. To find out what’s new, you can check out the notice board in the hostel regularly for such types of activities or ask the receptionist if anything interesting in the locality is going on.
4. Wake up timely for breakfast
Some of the hostels include facilities like providing free morning breakfast; in such cases, there is a high possibility that all the guests in that hostel will be at the buffet area. During breakfast you will be able to share the table with other guests, you can also take this opportunity to identify the solo travelers and enjoy a shared meal interacting about the expeditions you have set out on.
The breakfast table is also the place where the travelers map how to spend their day and what interesting things they are about to do. So, if you really bond well with travelers at the table you could tag along with them if their plans seem more fun or you could simply pass out the fun ideas you got on the table to see where it leads. Also, it doesn’t have to be a person you just met at the buffer, if you bonded really well with someone during your introduction in the dorm, you could use this opportunity to really dive in to know them and to prepare the plan for the day with them if they seem interested.
5. Have a friendly approach
If you don’t approach anyone like reading books on the bed, not joining the ongoing conversation in the dorm or putting your headphones on in the common areas, this kind of behavior sends a strong signal that you are not a friendly person and that you are not interested in making any friends. Even if you are sitting alone no one might approach you if you look full of yourself or got an annoyed expression on, so try being charming and putting a smile on that face constantly.
Overall, don’t let your shyness stop you from meeting the interesting people around you. Different types of tips like having a positive attitude, having a welcoming body language, and being confident will take you a long way in expanding your friend circle. Finally, be authentic and be yourself, if you are able to express your true self and not create a fake persona to attract people, you will attract people with similar interests whom you can truly forge strong bonds with.
6. Be friend with hostel staffs
Even though the staffs are behind the desk, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to connect to you or hear about your adventures. Almost every staff in the customer care sector is down to earth and always friendly. Bonding with them also has a lot of advantages; they can recommend the star located in the locality, upcoming fun activities, and also guest with similar interests as you.
The hostel staffs stand apart from the hotel staff, they are encouraged to be part of the hostel no matter which field they are contributing to, so they will be more involved and interested in your adventures. Also, while hanging out with hostel staff you have opportunities to meet other guests from where you can start the conversation.
7. Use the hostel kitchen
Most of the hostels provide a separate kitchen to the guests where the guests can cook their own food. This is one of the most effective areas where you can bond over the love of cooking, food items, and chatting up the guest using the kitchen at the same time.
If you have some culinary knowledge it will be a plus point for you, you could teach the recipe of your exotic dishes or invite other guests to share the meal with you.
Further, if you have already bonded with other members of your dorm you can work together with them to come up with a meal plan each contributing dish they excel at. It is said that bonding over food is quite special, sharing love, grace and delicious dishes with each other will give pleasant sensation and warmth like a family. So, you will not be just sharing the meal, you will be forging a lifelong strong friendship.
8. Avoid being a hanger-on
In your adventures, you will not only meet people who will be fond of your company, but you will also encounter a few people who will not like hanging around you. You have to be respectful of their decision and not be upset because they don’t want to join you or come out of the dorm when you request.
You should learn to quickly move on from those situations and try to understand their decision as well as circumstances. Being a hanger-on is a worst trait during your stay at the hostel, you should be able to catch the drift if someone doesn’t want to be around you or stop being persistent if you see your roommate completely exhausted. If you don't get positive signals from your roommates, then look for someone who is up for the plans you have made, this way the person who is wholly into your arrangement will join and you guys are bound to have a blast.
9. Get a travel app or join an online travel forum
There are tons of applications and online forums who has aimed to make your solo traveling experience pleasant? If you have hard time making an immediate friend you can use the aid of these apps and forums that are set to introduce you to the travelers in the destination you are planning to visit.
You can introduce yourself on these platforms and seek for people with similar interests; the advantage of these types of apps and forums are that you don’t have to waste a lot of time meeting someone and trying to figure them out before planning to tag along with them. You can quickly understand likes, dislikes, hobbies of the adventurers in these types of platforms and befriend the people who have similar interests like you or plan a trip with them. Some of these types of forums also plan trips where the members can tag along if they want, so you can easily introduce yourself to the members joining the same expedition as you.
10. Develop a passion for learning foreign language
If you want to explore the culture and tradition of the place you are visiting the depth you can prepare yourself with learning a bit about their native language. This way you can quite effortlessly befriend the local natives.
Learning every single language on the earth might not be possible but, you can use several translation apps that will help you communicate with the native people. Even the basic greeting and simple phrases will help you set a good impression among the circle, giving you an opportunity to bond pretty quickly. People will appreciate your effort in trying to speak their language even if your skill in the language is limited. Likely, if you sense the natives in the dorms who seem like they can communicate in English, offering what you can in their native language will form a bond between you and them instantaneously.
11. Be mindful and play it safe
After everything said and done, you have to keep in mind that the people you are hanging out with are temporary; you might find only a few people that you can very strong bonds with and keep in touch after the trip is over.
So, even if you like some traveler's plan and want to tag along with them for a fun-filled night and clubbing, be careful about playing it safe and not doing anything illegal. You have to do a thorough study of your destination and point out things that are considered disrespectful and banned; this way you won’t be getting in any trouble in your exploration. If you feel it’s unsafe at some point, call it a night; tell them that you are tired and leave. Also, even if you are headed out for the night make sure that you have got enough money to get a cab in case you don’t feel like keeping on with the adventure. You have to be very careful about not ending up somewhere dangerous and in the area, you are totally unfamiliar with; so properly map out the areas and remember the hostel name so you can get back even if you wander off the herd.