One fear of people that would like to travel solo is always that they won’t be able to meet new people when they are travelling and will spend most of the day alone.
And that’s a totally retable fear to have: Overall, one of the best if not the best part about travelling is to be able to make friends from all over the world. And you wouldn’t want to miss out on that.
If you don’t meet the right people or don’t meet any people at all it can often make or break your entire trip!
One common tip for solo travellers is to stay in a hostel as that is one of the easiest places to meet new people. And that is correct! But there are so many different types of hostels out there and not every hostel will be as social. So it can be challenging to pick the right hostel for a solo traveller.
So I’ve put together my best tips for choosing the right and most social hostel as a solo traveller.
These are all factors that I consider when I am booking a hostel as I do want my trip to be as social as possible. Here are my best hostel tips for solo travellers!
1. Check what the hostel situation is like in the city/country that you want to visit
Now maybe this one is controversial, since you have most likely already chosen were you are travelling to. How the hostel situation is like, shouldn’t impact your travel destination but for me it actually does.
Since meeting people for me is one of the best parts of travelling, how the hostel is like will massively impact my overall experience of the trip.
Therefore, if I am still researching about where to travel to and haven’t actually booked anything, researching hostels is pretty important.
Are there a lot of hostels? Do there seem to be a lot of backpackers? Do hostels in general offer activities? What are the overall reviews of the hostels?
If a destination has two hostels and they have bad reviews I know it probably won’t be the best trip so I will look for another destination instead.
2. Make sure the hostel has a common area
This is super important and might be the most important hostel tip for solo travellers! You do want to have a common area because otherwise you can only socialise in your room and if your roommates are lame then there goes your hostel experience.
A common area can be a bar, a terrace, a couch with a TV, nice sitting area outside etc. It doesn’t matter but there should be a place where you can hang out during the day that is not your room.
3. Choose the right dorm room size
You might be thinking that the larger the dorm size, the higher the possibility that you will meet someone nice in the dorm room. But that is not necessarily the case. The larger the dorm room, the less social and the less likely you are to talk to every single person that comes in.
The dorm size that I find to be most social is the 6-bed dorm, so I will usually opt for that or also the 8-bed dorm but that can be a hit or miss. 4-bed dorms are also pretty social but also a hit or miss at times.
But technically, the smaller the dorm, the more likely you are to introduce yourself to your new roommates and the easier it is to start a conversation.
4. See if the Hostel is located in a backpacker area
How do you know if the hostel is located in a backpacker area?
What I usually do, is check the map function in Hostelworld where I get to see the location of all the hostels on the map. The part where most of the hostels are located is what I like to call the backpacker area. It does make sense, since more hostels more backpackers. Duh!
Usually in that area you will also find a lot of tour desks, bars and while it might not be the cheapest area it is the area where you will most likely be meeting other people or where pub crawls will be happening etc. So it is always a good idea to choose a hostel in that area.
5. Check how many beds have already been booked in a dorm
I like to think of this as my secret solo traveller hostel tip but I am sure somebody else has already come up with this idea. Either way, it does work! So here is my favourite hostel tip for solo travellers.
So if you go on Hostelworld or whatever platform you are booking your hostel with, you can often see how many beds have already been booked when you select a dorm.
If for example you are selecting a 6-bed dorm and it gives you the possibility to book up to five beds, then that means that one person has already booked this dorm. And if it is just one person then the chances are high that that person is going to be a solo traveller! And it is always so much easier to connect with other solo travellers.
Of course they could cancel, or you’ll end up in another dorm but I have used this technique before and have met great solo travellers while travelling solo.
But also, keep in mind that usually you will not be able to select more than 8 beds so this technique will only work for 8-bed dorms or less.
6. See if the Hostel offers activities
The best hostels are the ones that offer activities. If they are doing these regularly they will usually advertise them on their website or in the Hostelworld description. These activities can be anything from free yoga lessons, to bike tours, to pub crawls or organising a dinner together.
Activities are the best way to meet other fellow travellers that are staying at the hostel. And especially if they are free, there is no reason not to join them.
7. Read the reviews and look for the overall hostel vibe
Keep an eye out on any information that describes the overall hostel atmosphere. Often people will write something about how easy it was to meet people or that even though there was a social area it wasn’t really a social hostel. These comments always give you a good idea of what to expect or make you opt for a different hostel instead.
8. Look for a place with a bar
Wait, hear me out first! Of course, heaving a bar in a hostel often makes it more of a party place but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
Either way, a bar is a great place to socialise and meet other people. It might be weird to hang out by yourself in a normal bar but it is pretty normal to hang out by yourself in a hostel bar.
After one or two beers, it is also a little easier to talk to strangers and even if you don’t want to drink, hostel bars are usually a pretty social place and a great place to meet other fellow travellers.
9. Know your crowd
Know what you are looking for in a place and what type of people you want to hang out with as well. If you are not a party person, then don’t stay in a party hostel. A party hostel will also attract a party crowd.
Based on the reviews, you can usually get a pretty good idea about who is staying at the hostel. It will often indicate people’s age range and if they were travelling as a couple, solo or group sometimes as well. Just see if you think that would be a fit or not before you book a hostel.
10. Check which nationalities are staying in a hostel
Now, I am not saying to particularly check which nationalities but more like if there seem to be a lot of people from just one country. More to check if it seems like there are lot of groups staying in the hostel or if there are a lot of languages that you don’t speak.
It obviously is a lot harder to socialise if there are groups or if you don’t speak the language (But brush up on some language skills anyway).
In Hostelworld there sometimes is an option to see like the Top 5 nationalities that have booked the hostel at the same time. However, that is just an option for some hostels as far as I know. But read more about how I use Hostelworld to find the perfect Hostel.
Of course, these statistics don’t really tell you much about the type pf people staying in the hostel. But for example I really don’t like speaking German when travelling (or ever) so if I see a lot of German people I would prefer a different hostel.
So maybe based on your previous experience this information might help make your final decision if you are deciding between a couple of places.
Some hostels that were great for solo travellers
Here are just a couple of places that were amazing for solo travellers and check out why. This might also give you an idea of what to look for in a hostel.
Pink Palace, Corfu, Greece
Dinner was included in the price and they would seat you on group tables so you would always have to sit with new people which was great to make friends. Also the dorm rooms at the Pink Palace were pretty small and there were a couple of event and parties so it was easy to socialise.
Retox Party Hostel, Budapest
Definitely only for people that like to party, but they offered events every night. Often the staff would take people out for brunch and hung out with the guests all the time. Mostly a hostel, where you don’t see much of the city but just hang out at the hostel all the time since it was so easy to meet new people and you just kind of get stuck there. Great times!
Florentine Backpacker Hostel, Tel Aviv, Israel
There was a great common area on the rooftop, they had communal dinners and the staff would take people out to the bars every night for those people that wanted to join. Made it super easy to meet other travellers!
Also check out my Top 10 favourite Party Hostels
Bambuda Castle, Boquete, Panama
The hostel had the option to join for a dinner so you didn’t have to cook and could socialise at the same time. There was a fantastic common area. The hostel offered lots of tours and great facilities such as a jacuzzi, indoor pool and views of a volcano.
And that concludes my top hostel tips for solo travellers. Of course even if you follow all of these steps, it sometimes is just pure luck. But by following all of these tricks and hostel tips for solo travellers I usually always end up with a hostel that fits my travel style and I often meet amazing people.
Of course, getting there has been a bit of trial and error so hopefully, these will help you make a few less errors than I did back in the days.
Feel free to reach out if you have any further questions.
Have a lovely day x
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