Traveling alone can be a bit intimidating, especially if you don’t know anyone in the city where you are visiting. Even if you have your whole trip itinerary planned out, it’s good to arrive at your hostel with an open mind. There are so many benefits to meeting travelers during your trip. It’s not only safer to travel with a buddy but it’s also more enjoyable to have someone to talk to as your wandering the streets. Remember that other people want to meet you so it’s important not to feel weird introducing yourself or initiating a group activity. Some of the most interesting people I have met began as random strangers at hostels where I was staying during my travels.
Be Friendly to Staff: Even if you had a horrible flight and are completely jet-lagged, remember to smile when you walk into your hostel. Hostels are often run by young students who are either locals to the city or are in the process of traveling themselves. You aren’t staying at a five-star hotel, so there is no need to act reserved around hostel staff. It’s a good idea to inquire about daily tours offered through the hostel or recommended lunch and dinner spots.
Participate in Group Events: Many hostels offer discount daily tours around the area and this is a great way to make friends with other travelers. Some places even offer nightly activities like pub crawls, which allow you to meet locals and other travelers from around the globe. If there is a complimentary breakfast, this is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation. The day is just beginning so many travelers will probably still be planning their itinerary for the day, so just ask if you can tag along.
Be Social: If there is a community lounge or outdoor deck, go out and introduce yourself. Chances are there will be other solo travelers who are looking for a travel buddy. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn about other cultures through the new people you meet, but you will have company as you tour around the city. If you are staying in a 6-12 person dorm, make a point to talk to your bunk-mates. The rooms are often small, making it nearly impossible to avoid other travelers so you might as well be friendly from the get-go.
Image via Oh-Barcelona.com‘s flickr stream