Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

How To Make Friends At A Hostel


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Elladine Hitchcock



Traveling can be an incredible adventure, but it can also be a bit lonely if you’re exploring new destinations on your own. However, staying at a hostel can be the perfect solution to combat that solo traveler’s solitude. Hostels not only provide budget-friendly accommodations but also offer a social environment that can help you make friends from all around the world. So, if you’re wondering how to make friends at a hostel, you’ve come to the right place!


Hostels are designed to encourage social interaction among guests, which means there are plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow travelers. Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveler or someone taking their first step into the world of hosteling, this article will provide you with practical tips on how to make friends and create unforgettable experiences during your hostel stay.


Throughout this article, you’ll discover useful insights on choosing the right hostel, engaging in hostel activities, participating in group tours or events, and how to approach conversations with other guests. Additionally, we’ll delve into the importance of being open, respectful, and considerate of cultural differences, and how sharing meals and helping others play a role in forging meaningful connections.


Furthermore, we’ll explore the importance of exchanging contact information and maintaining friendships online, even after leaving the hostel. By implementing these strategies, you’ll not only make new friends but also create a supportive network that will enhance your travel experiences and potentially lead to lifelong friendships.


So, get ready to embark on a journey of friendship as we dive into the wonderful world of hostels and discover how to make friends while enjoying the adventures of travel.


Choosing the Right Hostel

When it comes to making friends at a hostel, one of the first steps is choosing the right one that aligns with your interests and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a hostel:

  1. Location: Opt for a hostel situated in a vibrant and central area of the city or close to popular attractions. This increases the chances of meeting fellow travelers and participating in local activities.
  2. Reviews: Read online reviews to get an idea of the hostel’s atmosphere and social scene. Look for positive comments about communal spaces and opportunities for interaction.
  3. Facilities: Check if the hostel has common areas such as a lounge, kitchen, or outdoor terrace. These spaces are ideal for mingling with other guests and striking up conversations.
  4. Activities: Research if the hostel organizes social activities, such as group tours, pub crawls, or game nights. These events provide excellent opportunities to meet fellow travelers and engage in shared experiences.
  5. Room Types: Consider the type of room you prefer. Dormitory-style rooms with bunk beds offer more chances to connect with other travelers, while private rooms may provide a quieter environment.

By selecting a hostel that promotes social interaction and aligns with your preferences, you’ll be setting the stage for a memorable and sociable stay.


Common Areas and Shared Spaces

Common areas and shared spaces within hostels serve as the heartbeat of social interaction. These are places where travelers gather to relax, work, cook, and socialize. Here’s how you can maximize your opportunities for making friends in these areas:

  1. Lounge Areas: Spend time in the hostel’s lounge or communal area. Strike up conversations with fellow travelers who are also using this space as a hub for relaxation and socialization.
  2. Kitchen: Prepare meals or snacks in the shared kitchen. This is a great way to meet others, bond over cooking experiences, and maybe even organize a meal together.
  3. Outdoor Terraces: Take advantage of any outdoor spaces the hostel might have. Whether it’s a rooftop terrace or a garden, these areas often attract guests looking for fresh air and a chance to unwind. Join in conversations or activities happening in these spaces.
  4. Workspaces: If the hostel provides dedicated workspaces or coworking areas, utilize them to meet digital nomads and other like-minded individuals. Strike up conversations about your work or exchange tips on traveling while working remotely.
  5. Gaming or Common Rooms: Many hostels have game rooms or common areas with activities like board games, ping pong, or pool tables. Engage in friendly competition and bond with other travelers over shared interests.

Remember, the key is to be approachable and open to conversations with other guests in these shared spaces. Making eye contact, offering a smile, or initiating a simple greeting can go a long way in creating connections and building friendships.


Participating in Hostel Activities

Hostels often organize various activities and events to encourage guest interaction and create a sense of community. Participating in these activities is a fantastic way to meet new people and make friends. Here’s how you can make the most of hostel activities:

  1. Group Tours: Many hostels offer guided tours to local attractions or popular destinations nearby. Joining these group tours allows you to explore the area with fellow travelers while bonding over shared experiences.
  2. Pub Crawls: Hostels frequently organize pub crawls, taking guests to different bars or clubs in the city. This is an excellent opportunity to let loose, have fun, and get to know your fellow travelers in a relaxed and social environment.
  3. Movie or Game Nights: Hostels often arrange movie nights or game nights where guests can gather and enjoy some entertainment together. Take part in these activities to connect with others who have similar interests.
  4. Language Exchange Programs: Some hostels offer language exchange programs where guests can learn or practice different languages with native speakers. These sessions foster cultural exchange and can lead to meaningful connections.
  5. Cooking Classes: If the hostel offers cooking classes or food-related workshops, sign up for them. Not only will you learn new culinary skills, but you’ll also have the opportunity to bond with others over a shared love of food.
  6. Community Events: Check if the hostel partners with local organizations or hosts community events. These events could include volunteering opportunities, cultural celebrations, or music performances. Participating in these events can introduce you to both locals and fellow travelers.

By actively participating in hostel activities, you’ll find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals who are looking to make connections and create unforgettable experiences during their travels. Embrace these opportunities and let the shared adventures forge long-lasting friendships.


Joining Group Tours or Events

Group tours and events organized by hostels provide excellent opportunities to meet new people and have shared experiences. Here’s how you can make the most of these activities:

  1. Sign Up: When you arrive at the hostel, inquire about any group tours or events being organized during your stay. Sign up for activities that interest you and align with your travel plans.
  2. Introduce Yourself: During the tour or event, take the initiative to introduce yourself to others. Strike up conversations by asking about their travels or sharing your own experiences.
  3. Be Open to New Experiences: Embrace the activities on the tour or event and be open to trying new things. This will create a positive and adventurous atmosphere that encourages bonding with fellow participants.
  4. Practice Active Listening: Engage with others by actively listening to their stories and experiences. This shows genuine interest and helps foster connections.
  5. Participate in Group Discussions: Engage in discussions during the tour or event, sharing your thoughts and insights. This can lead to deeper conversations and the discovery of common interests.
  6. Exchange Contact Information: If you hit it off with someone during the tour or event, don’t hesitate to exchange contact information. This will allow you to stay in touch and potentially meet up later in your travels.

Remember, group tours and events provide a shared experience, making it easier to connect with other participants. Take advantage of these opportunities to step out of your comfort zone, make new friends, and create lasting memories along the way.


Engaging in Conversation

One of the most effective ways to make friends at a hostel is by engaging in conversations with other guests. Here are some tips to help you initiate and maintain meaningful conversations:

  1. Start with a Simple Greeting: Begin by offering a friendly “hello” or “hi” to fellow travelers you encounter in common areas or shared spaces. This simple gesture can open the door to further conversation.
  2. Ask Open-Ended Questions: Instead of asking basic yes-or-no questions, ask open-ended questions that encourage in-depth responses. For example, instead of asking “Did you enjoy your day?”, ask “What was the highlight of your day?”. This allows for more engaging and thought-provoking conversations.
  3. Show Genuine Interest: Listen actively to the responses and show genuine interest in what the other person is sharing. Ask follow-up questions and delve deeper into the topic to foster a deeper connection.
  4. Share Your Own Experiences: Offer your own stories and experiences related to the topic of conversation. This not only adds to the conversation but also helps to establish a connection and foster a sense of camaraderie.
  5. Be Respectful: Respect cultural differences and avoid sensitive topics unless they are brought up by the other person. Be open-minded and understanding, creating a safe and inclusive environment for conversation.
  6. Embrace Language Barriers: If you’re in a multilingual environment and find yourself conversing with someone who doesn’t speak your language fluently, be patient and use non-verbal cues to communicate. A smile and gestures can go a long way in bridging the language gap.
  7. Find Common Interests: Discover shared interests by discussing travel destinations, hobbies, books, movies, or music. Finding common ground is a great way to build connections and have engaging conversations.
  8. Suggest Activities Together: If you find a person you connect with, suggest doing an activity together, such as exploring a local attraction, grabbing a meal, or even joining them on their next adventure. This allows you to spend more time together and deepen the friendship.

Remember, the key to engaging in conversation is to be genuine, curious, and respectful. By actively participating in conversations, you’ll create opportunities for meaningful connections that can turn into long-lasting friendships.


Being Open and Approachable

When it comes to making friends at a hostel, being open and approachable is essential. Here are some tips to help you create a welcoming and friendly vibe:

  1. Smile: A simple smile can do wonders in breaking the ice and making others feel comfortable approaching you. Smiling sends a positive and friendly signal to those around you.
  2. Be Approachable: Avoid burying yourself in your phone or laptop and instead make yourself available for conversation. Sit in communal areas and be open to interactions with other guests.
  3. Initiate Conversation: Take the initiative to start conversations by introducing yourself or asking about the other person’s travels. Don’t be afraid to break the ice and make the first move.
  4. Show Interest: Show genuine interest in others by actively listening to their stories and experiences. Ask follow-up questions and engage in meaningful conversations to create a connection.
  5. Be Respectful of Personal Space: While being open and approachable, it’s important to respect others’ personal space. Avoid invading their personal bubble and understand when someone may prefer to be alone.
  6. Be Positive: Maintain a positive and friendly demeanor. Avoid complaining or being negative, as it can be off-putting to others. Instead, focus on sharing positive experiences and creating a pleasant atmosphere.
  7. Be Non-Judgmental: Embrace diversity and different perspectives. Avoid making assumptions or passing judgment on others based on appearance or background. Everyone has unique stories to share.
  8. Encourage Inclusivity: Be inclusive and welcoming to individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. Respect and embrace diversity, fostering an environment where everyone feels accepted and valued.
  9. Offer Help: If you see someone who looks lost or in need of assistance, offer your help. Whether it’s giving directions or offering recommendations, extending a helping hand can initiate conversations and create connections.

By embodying openness and approachability, you’ll create an inviting atmosphere that encourages others to approach you and facilitates the formation of new friendships.


Respecting Boundaries and Cultural Differences

Respecting boundaries and cultural differences is crucial when making friends at a hostel. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Personal Space: Respect the personal space of other guests. Avoid invading their personal bubble and be mindful of their need for privacy and alone time.
  2. Noise Levels: Be considerate of noise levels, especially during quiet hours. Keep conversations and activities at an appropriate volume to ensure a peaceful environment for everyone.
  3. Cultural Sensitivity: Hostels attract travelers from different cultures and backgrounds. Take the time to learn about and respect the customs, traditions, and social norms of other guests. Avoid making insensitive comments or assumptions about their culture.
  4. Language Barriers: Language barriers can sometimes make communication challenging. Be patient and understanding when conversing with someone who may not speak your language fluently. Use non-verbal cues, gestures, and translation apps to bridge the gap.
  5. Respect Gender Boundaries: Be mindful of gender boundaries and cultural norms, especially in shared spaces such as dormitories and bathrooms. Respect the privacy and comfort levels of others, and be aware of any designated gender-specific areas within the hostel.
  6. Cultural Exchange: Embrace the opportunity to learn from other cultures and engage in cultural exchange. Ask questions, listen, and participate respectfully in discussions about different customs and traditions.
  7. Religious Practices: Respect the religious practices of others. Be aware of any specific rituals or customs that may be followed by guests and ensure that your behavior is considerate and understanding.
  8. Food and Dietary Restrictions: When sharing meals or cooking together, be mindful of any food allergies or dietary restrictions that other guests may have. Respect their choices and accommodate their needs to create an inclusive environment.
  9. Consent and Boundaries: Practice consent and respect personal boundaries. Be mindful of physical touch and avoid making anyone uncomfortable. Always ask for consent before initiating any physical contact, such as hugs or handshakes, and be attentive to body language and verbal cues.
  10. Be Open to Learning: Approach cultural differences with curiosity and a willingness to learn. Embrace the opportunity to broaden your understanding of other cultures and build meaningful connections based on mutual respect.

By respecting boundaries and cultural differences, you contribute to a harmonious and inclusive environment that fosters genuine friendships and promotes cultural understanding.


Sharing Meals and Experiences

One of the best ways to forge connections and make friends at a hostel is by sharing meals and experiences together. Here’s how you can make the most of these opportunities:

  1. Communal Meals: If the hostel has a kitchen or dining area, consider preparing and sharing a meal with fellow travelers. Cooking and eating together create a sense of camaraderie and provide a chance to learn about different cuisines.
  2. Potluck Dinners: Organize potluck dinners where each person contributes a dish from their home country or a favorite recipe. This allows for a diverse and enriching culinary experience while fostering cultural exchange.
  3. Invite Others: If you’re going out for a meal at a local restaurant, invite other guests to join you. Sharing a meal outside the hostel can provide an opportunity to explore the local cuisine and create memorable experiences together.
  4. Share Travel Experiences: Engage in conversations about your travel experiences and listen attentively to others’ stories. Sharing anecdotes, recommendations, and travel tips can create bonds and foster a sense of camaraderie.
  5. Plan Activities Together: Propose group activities such as hiking, sightseeing, or exploring the city together. By experiencing activities as a group, you’ll create shared memories and strengthen your friendships.
  6. Attend Local Events or Festivals: Research local events or festivals happening during your stay and invite others to join you. Attending these events together not only exposes you to the local culture but also creates opportunities for bonding.
  7. Learn from Each Other: Use meal and experience-sharing moments to learn about different customs, traditions, and practices from other travelers. Embrace the opportunity to gain insights into different cultures and foster understanding.
  8. Be Inclusive: Extend invitations to others who may be traveling alone or seem new to the hostel. Creating an inclusive atmosphere ensures that everyone feels welcome and has the chance to connect with fellow travelers.
  9. Share Resources and Recommendations: Share useful resources, such as travel guides, maps, or apps, with others. Offering recommendations for attractions, restaurants, or local hidden gems shows generosity and may spark new adventures together.
  10. Document and Celebrate: Capture moments together by taking group photos or videos to commemorate your time at the hostel. These shared memories can be cherished and serve as a reminder of the friendships you’ve formed.

Sharing meals and experiences creates a sense of community and fosters lasting friendships. Embrace these opportunities to connect on a deeper level and create unforgettable moments during your time at the hostel.


Helping Others and Offering Assistance

One of the most rewarding ways to make friends at a hostel is by offering assistance and helping others. Here are some ways you can lend a helping hand:

  1. Share Local Knowledge: If you’re familiar with the area, offer tips, and recommendations to fellow travelers. Share your insights on the best local attractions, restaurants, or hidden gems.
  2. Assist with Language Barriers: If you speak the local language or are more fluent in it than other guests, offer to assist in translating or communicating with locals. Helping others overcome language barriers can make their experiences smoother and more enjoyable.
  3. Offer Directions: If someone is looking for directions or is unsure about how to get to a particular destination, lend a helping hand. Provide clear instructions or guide them to their desired location.
  4. Share Resources: If you have guidebooks, maps, or other helpful resources, offer to let others borrow them. Sharing these materials can save fellow travelers time and money.
  5. Provide Travel Tips: If you’ve been to a destination that others are planning to visit, share your firsthand knowledge and provide useful travel tips. From transportation options to local customs, your insights can enhance their experiences.
  6. Offer a Helping Hand: If someone is struggling with heavy luggage or needs assistance with a task, offer your help. Being kind and lending a hand demonstrates empathy and can often lead to meaningful connections.
  7. Share Skills or Expertise: If you have a particular skill or expertise, such as photography, cooking, or playing a musical instrument, offer to share your knowledge or give lessons to interested individuals. This can create a fun and interactive environment.
  8. Be a Listener: Sometimes, all someone needs is a listening ear. Be there to listen attentively, offer a shoulder to lean on, and provide support when needed.
  9. Offer Company: If you notice someone sitting alone or looking for a companion for an activity, be open to joining in. Your presence can provide comfort and reassurance to a solo traveler.
  10. Support Each Other’s Goals: Encourage others to achieve their goals, whether it’s conquering a fear, trying new experiences, or pursuing personal growth. Celebrate their achievements and offer words of encouragement.

By offering assistance and helping others, you not only impact someone’s travel experience positively but also create meaningful connections and friendships based on kindness and support.


Exchanging Contact Information

Exchanging contact information is a crucial step in solidifying the connections you’ve made at a hostel. Here’s how you can go about it:

  1. Exchange Social Media Handles: Share your social media handles, such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, with fellow travelers. This allows you to keep in touch, follow each other’s adventures, and stay connected even after leaving the hostel.
  2. Swap Phone Numbers: If you feel comfortable, exchange phone numbers with those you’ve connected with. This provides a more direct and immediate means of communication.
  3. Use Messaging Apps: Utilize messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, or WeChat, which are popular and widely used internationally. These apps allow for easy communication and can help you stay connected with new friends from around the world.
  4. Create a WhatsApp Group: Consider creating a WhatsApp group with your new hostel friends, where you can share travel updates, photos, and make plans to meet up in the future. A group chat can help you maintain a sense of community and keep the conversations going.
  5. Exchange Email Addresses: If you prefer a more formal means of communication, exchange email addresses with fellow travelers. This can be useful for sharing longer updates or maintaining contact for future travel plans.
  6. Share Travel Itineraries: If you’re planning to travel to the same destinations, share your itineraries with each other. This allows you to coordinate meetups along the way and potentially explore new places together.
  7. Make Future Travel Plans: Discuss your future travel plans with new friends and see if there are any opportunities to meet up in different locations. Planning future adventures together can be an exciting way to maintain and strengthen your friendships.
  8. Keep a Hostel Guestbook: Some hostels have a guestbook where guests can leave their contact information. Consider adding your details and checking if others have done the same. This provides an opportunity for unexpected reunions or future connections.
  9. Stay in Touch: Once you’ve exchanged contact information, make an effort to stay in touch with your new friends. Send a message, share photos, or reach out from time to time to maintain the connection and nurture your friendships.

By exchanging contact information, you extend the potential lifespan of your friendships beyond the hostel walls. Stay connected, support each other’s journeys, and who knows, you may even plan new adventures together in the future!


Maintaining Friendships Online

Maintaining friendships online is essential for nurturing the connections you’ve made at a hostel, even when you’re physically distant. Here’s how you can keep your friendships alive through virtual means:

  1. Engage on Social Media: Interact with your hostel friends’ posts on social media by liking, commenting, and sharing their updates. This shows your continued interest and support.
  2. Share Travel Updates: Keep your friends informed about your travel adventures by posting updates and photos on social media or sending them directly if you’re comfortable doing so. This allows them to stay connected to your journey and vice versa.
  3. Plan Video Calls: Set up video calls through platforms like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom to catch up with your hostel friends. It’s a more personal way to stay connected and have real-time conversations, no matter the distance.
  4. Participate in Online Challenges or Activities: Join in on online challenges or activities together. This can range from photo challenges to virtual game nights, fostering a sense of togetherness even when physically apart.
  5. Share Recommendations: Continually share travel recommendations, book suggestions, or interesting articles with your hostel friends. This keeps the conversation active and allows you to provide value by sharing useful information.
  6. Plan Reunions or Meetups: As travel allows, make plans to reunite with your hostel friends in different destinations. Coordinate your travels and set a date to meet up in person again for new adventures.
  7. Remember Special Occasions: Take note of birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant events in your hostel friends’ lives. Send them well wishes or small virtual gifts to show that you care and remember these important milestones.
  8. Start a Travel Blog or Podcast: Consider documenting your travels through a blog or podcast and share it with your hostel friends. This allows them to stay updated on your experiences and provides a platform for discussions and conversations.
  9. Arrange Group Challenges: Set up group travel challenges where you compete with your hostel friends to complete specific tasks or visit unique destinations. This adds an element of excitement and friendly competition to the friendship.
  10. Be Supportive: Offer support and encouragement to your hostel friends, especially during challenging times. Be a pillar of support, lending an ear and providing guidance when needed.

Maintaining friendships online requires effort and consistency, but it’s a valuable way to keep the connections alive and continue sharing experiences even when physically apart. Embrace technology as a tool to nurture your friendships and create lasting bonds.



Making friends at a hostel can be an enriching and rewarding experience that enhances your travel journey in countless ways. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can create meaningful connections, forge lifelong friendships, and make memories that will last a lifetime.


From choosing the right hostel to engaging in conversations, participating in hostel activities, and respecting boundaries and cultural differences, each step plays a vital role in fostering connections with fellow travelers. By being open and approachable, offering assistance, and sharing meals and experiences, you create an inclusive and welcoming environment that encourages friendship and camaraderie.


It’s important to remember that friendships formed at hostels can extend beyond the duration of your stay. Through the exchange of contact information, maintaining connections online, and planning meetups in the future, you can continue to nurture and strengthen these friendships, even when you’re physically apart. The beauty of modern technology allows you to share updates, support each other, and plan new adventures, keeping the spirit of your hostel friendships alive and thriving.


So, whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure or traveling with friends, don’t overlook the incredible opportunity to make friends at a hostel. Embrace the social atmosphere, step out of your comfort zone, and be open to new connections. The friendships you make along the way can add depth and richness to your travel experiences, providing a network of support, shared adventures, and cherished memories.


So, get ready to embark on your hostel adventure – make friends, explore the world together, and create lifelong bonds that will make your travel experiences truly extraordinary.