10 Ways to Make More Friends in Group Accommodation
Staying in hostels that offer group accommodation is an excellent way to meet new and interesting people, even when you’re already travelling with friends or family. If you're not used to this sort of communal living, however, it can be daunting. So how do you go about making new friends when staying in a hostel? Here are a few practical tips to help make it a lot easier:
- Start By Asking a Few Friendly Questions. Folks that stay in hostels with group accommodation options tend to be the sociable type. Being in a foreign land surrounded by strangers encourages people to make new friends, and asking a few polite questions is a great way to open up future discussions.
- Hang Out in the Communal Sections – Many hostels have a lounge or bar where residents can relax and mingle with one another. Spend some time in these areas and it will be a lot easier to strike up conversations and meet new people.
- Split Up the Group In Ones Or Twos – Friends or family can be a hard clique to crack into, especially when everyone is keeping others out with in-jokes and closed conversations. Split up your group into smaller units when mingling with others, and it will be easier for others to merge with the bigger group.
- Engage With Other Groups and Cliques – Just as other people may find your group intimidating, so too can it be intimidating to penetrate other social circles that appear daunting from the outside. However, most of these groups are travellers just like you – eager to get to know others and swap stories with one another.
- Cook Up a Tasty Dish In the Kitchen – Many hostels have kitchens where occupants can cook up their own meals. If you manage to find yourself in a place with an open kitchen, prepare a signature dish that will get people’s heads turning to ask you about the source of that savoury smell.
- Lubricate Conversations With a Few Drinks – This advice is probably as old as time itself, but it’s still worth remembering when you want to engage with others. No need to get sloshed, but a few drinks helps loosen tongues and makes it easier for everyone to slide into the steady rhythms of banter.
- Sign Up For Tours, Trips and Activities – Many hostels with group accommodation have bulletin boards with posters highlighting local events and activities. Sign up for these activities, and it can help you and your group meet others not just from your hostel but also from surrounding accommodations as well.
- Take Some Time to Chat With the Staff – It can be easy to overlook the people who provide their services to you, especially in a busy hostel. Yet a simple word of thanks, a question or a genuine complement can help you make friends who can offer a unique perspective based on their experiences in the hostel.
- Join In With Friendly Conversations – Conversations in many hostels are usually more open, especially in the communal areas where mingling is to be expected. Don’t be afraid to butt into conversations, although common courtesy and politeness apply of course!
- Engage With Those Who Want to Engage – Last but not least, be respectful enough to withdraw when others give clear signals that they don’t want to be disturbed. Most folks in hostels are open to mingling, but there are a few exceptions where people just want to be left alone. Don’t be offended when you encounter these types.
Staying in group accommodation can be one of the most fulfilling travelling experiences you can have. You'll meet new friends, mingle with people from other cultures and open yourself up to all kinds of new and interesting experiences.
Ben Spencer works for Hostelling International. Offering more than 4000 hostels worldwide, their website dedicated to groups features 250 hostels specifically suitable for school trips, corporate team building trips and families. For the best group accommodation, join our community and say hi to the world. HI is the only global network of Youth Hostel Associations and a non-profit membership organisation with over 100 years of experience.
Writer and Online Marketing Manager in London.