View from the Hostel HammockFor first time travelers, making friends while traveling and staying in a hostel can be a little intimidating.

You’ve already stepped out on a limb and put yourself out there in the world by traveling but if you’re not already a socially active person, then how do you begin to make new friends with similar interests?

Staying in a hostel is a great place to start.

You’ve already found fellow backpackers that you can relate with. All that’s left is finding others with even more similar interests; for instance, those who also love to travel!

Remember to introduce yourself, ask them where they came from, why they’re traveling and you’ve created the perfect conversation starter!

The Easiest Ways to Make Friends While Traveling

Invite People out for an Excursion

People in a hostel are always looking for a new adventure.  If you’re traveling solo or with a group of friends, don’t be afraid to invite other hostelers out to join you for an excursion.  Whether you plan on getting active and hiking the Arenal Volcano or simply spending a day sea turtle tracking on Miniloc Island with an Asian island expert, you’re bound to catch someone’s attention.  After all, that’s why we travel: for new experiences…for the adventure!

Stay in a dorm room

Instead of staying in a private room, try bunking up with your fellow travelers in a dorm.  By doing this you’re pretty much guaranteed to interact with people as they’re your new roommates.  Just do what normal roommates would do: go out, explore, have fun & talk!

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

– Dale Carnegie

Sign up and attend social events

If you’re still uneasy about walking up to and starting a conversation with a total stranger, try throwing yourself out there and sign up for a social event.  It could be a city exploration, bike ride, tour…anything really.  Once you start signing up and attending social events, you’ll be introduced to people who are signing up for the same exact thing you did which means they have very similar interests as you.  In other words, it’s a great way to start a conversation being you will have something in common with each other.

Research Your Hostel

Hostels come in many shapes and forms.  When booking a hostel, make sure you do your research.  There are times when I prefer to stay at a hostel that’s super quiet while other times I prefer to stay at one that’s more interactive.  Take a look at the hostel you’re potentially staying at; if the rules tend to revolve around quiet time, then odds are this is not the place to stay if you plan on raging all night.  To make more friends, stay at the hostel that suits you best.

Be the First to Start a Conversation

You should never be afraid to start a conversation and, in a hostel, this is a great place to just start chatting with total strangers.  Show up for hostel breakfast, lunch & dinner times.  Spend some time in the arcade room or next to the pool if they happen to have one.  Staying in the more popular areas will give you all the opportunity in the world to start talking with other travelers about their journey.

Bring out the Rum

Worse comes to worse, invite people out for drinks or even bring the drinks to them.  Backpackers are not picky, that’s why we’re backpackers.  So swing by the local store and get a 12 pack of their cheapest beers, go back to the hostel and sit in the commons area.  Cheap beers or not, no backpacker is going to turn down a free beer.

Once you run out of beer, invite people to check out the local pubs & clubs in town.  Alcohol always tends to have the wicked little charm that brings out the happiness in people and is always good to help start making friends…I’ve used it for years and it has never let me down!

Do you have any recommendations on how to make friends while in a hostel?