As a fellow introvert who travels to countries around the world SOLO, I know way too well how nerve-wracking it can be to make friends with other travelers at your hostel. I vividly remember almost having a panic attack at my first-ever hostel stay in Guatemala because I just couldn’t get myself to socialize. So if you’re feeling the same way, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! What I can say is that practice and experience do help a lot. After staying at a fair share of hostels in different cities and countries, I’ve picked up a few tips that can inspire, or maybe even teach you how to make friends in hostels. And please don’t be so hard on yourself if you can’t implement all these tips right away! Heck, I wasn’t able to do any of these on my first trip!
1. Ask A Simple Question
Asking simple questions is a great way to break the ice with other travelers at your hostel. Sometimes, we think way too much about how to approach someone that we chicken out before we even blur out our first words. But it really doesn’t have to be so scary. All we have to do is ask a simple question, and see where that’ll take the conversation! If the conversation leads nowhere then so be it! At least we learned something about the other person.
Here are a few examples of what you can ask:
- Where are you from?
- Which other cities around here have you been to?
- Why did you decide to visit (*insert the country you’re at*)?
- How are you liking this city?
- Which restaurants have you been to around here?
- Which travel destinations here do you recommend visiting?
- What’s your travel plan?
- What’s your favorite country in the world, and why?
2. Join Hostel Social Events
Almost every hostel that I’ve stayed at provided group tours and social events such as karaoke nights, board game nights, open mics, bar hops, pool parties, and more. There’s almost always something going on in hostels. So don’t hesitate and just sign up for one of these events. You never know who you’ll meet!
Personally, I love going bar hopping with my hostels because a little bit of alcohol seems to always get everyone to loosen up a bit. And as an introvert who is terrified of small talks and awkward conversations, being a bit tipsy can be super helpful in terms of starting conversations. BUT BUT BUT! Alcohol should never be the solution and learning to socialize without alcohol should be the ultimate goal.
PRO TIP: Book your hostels through HostelWorld because it has pretty in-depth reviews and ratings. And you can also see what social events a certain hostel provides.
3. Talk To The Receptionist
Most receptionists working at hostels are fellow travelers like yourself. Some of them even work there in exchange for free accommodation. Depending on the popularity and size of the hostel, the receptionists’ workload can vary quite a lot. But in my experience, most receptionists tend to have free time to socialize. So you just can’t seem to pluck up the courage to talk to other travelers, then go up to the receptionist and ask a few questions about the hostel or the city. Since they work at the hostel, it is kind of their responsibility to take care of their guests. Whether it’s through answering simple questions like where the bathroom is, or socializing with you.
I’ve personally made friends with a few receptionists at my hostels by just asking them simple questions. And every one of them was more than happy to talk with me and share some travel tips and recommendations.
4. Sit In The Common Area
Rule number 4 of how to make friends in hostels as an introvert: “Position Yourself Where Others Can See You”! Point, blank, period.
This tip is as straight forward as it seems. As introverts, we have a natural tendency to gravitate towards our beds as soon as we come back to our hostel after a long trip. And I’m not saying that’s not okay, because we truly need our alone time to recharge. But, instead of retreating back to our safe space immediately after we enter the front door of the hostel. Challenge yourself to sit in the common area for an hour or two. You can even start off with 30 minutes each day. Slow and steady wins the race, lol!
And by positioning ourselves in an open space, people are more likely to approach us then if we’re hiding underneath the covers, listening to sad 90s R&B in our bunk beds.
5. Say “Yes” More
Saying yes to invites can be difficult for introverts because deep down inside we just want to be by ourselves. But I’m telling you! Saying yes has been the biggest factor in helping me make friends at hostels. Most hostels have a nice blend of introverts and extroverts. Some are always sitting there quietly reading their books or writing in their journal, and the other half is always playing their guitar, screaming at the top of their lungs, and asking for more beer.
So naturally, as an introvert, you’ll likely be approached by tons of extroverts at a hostel. And you know, as a self-protection mechanism, we introverts like to say “no” to avoid awkward situations. And I’m 100% guilty of this. BUT I’ve realized that every time I forced myself to break the habit of rejecting others, I ended up having the most fun of my life. Almost every hostel I’ve stayed at, others have asked me to join their trip. And by saying yes more (sometimes I still say no because I’m simply not interested), I’ve experienced life-changing moments that I’ll cherish forever.
6. Relax & Don’t Stress About It
The more we try to force a certain outcome, in this case, making friends at a hostel. The more stressful and nerve-wracking it becomes. At the end of the day, what matters the most is whether YOU are enjoying the moment. Making more friends is NOT positively correlated to the amount of fun you’ll experience whatsoever. And one thing that I’ve discovered is that. The more relaxed and content you are, the higher the vibration you emit, and the more awesome people you attract on your trip. It works every time!
All in all, put yourself out there, but don’t force anything. Simply let it be, and the universe will surprise you in the most unpredictable ways.
Now Go And Have Fun
I hope you enjoyed this post on how to make friends in hostels as an introvert. For more travel tips and inspirations, make sure to check out:
- Top 15 Affordable Hostel Essentials That You’ll Need
- 20 Gorgeous Travel Bullet Journal Layouts and Ideas You’ll Love
- 10 Affordable Travel Must-Haves For Your Next Adventure
- How To Pack A Suitcase: Easy Tips & Tricks
- First Time Staying In Hostel? Everything You Need To Know
- San Marcos Guatemala Travel Guide