Interrailing is a great way to make friends. But for some, the prospect of making friends is daunting initially. There’s no denying that regardless of if you’re interrailing around somewhere new or somewhere you’ve been before, actually striking up a conversation is intimidating. But it’s important to remember that the other people are in the same boat; a lot of people interrail in order to make connections with others from around the world whilst seeing some incredible places. You just might have to push yourself and make the first move.
But how do you make friends in your hostel? We’ve created a guide on the best ways to get to know people, regardless of what country you’re interrailing around. Simple tips that you can use whether you’re travelling solo or with others, you’ll soon have the confidence to connect with others whilst on your trip.
Get to know people in the common room
The common room is designed for socialising. The perfect hub to have a snack, a drink or just relax, it’s great for those wanting to get to know their fellow travellers. So if you head into the common room and there are people sitting in there, don’t be scared to ask if it’s alright for you to join them. The majority of people are friendly and understand how daunting it can be to do that, so it’s likely they’ll be sociable and let you be involved in whatever activity they are doing.
Bring a pack of cards or suggest a game of pool
This leads us to the next suggestion. Either in the common room or in the hostel bar (if it has one), break the ice by suggesting a game of pool or cards. This might feel awkward at first, but after a game or two, it’s bound to take away the uneasiness. A great way to connect with people on a more relaxed level, it will either lead to a friendship or simply a better connection with those staying in the same hostel.
Look for lively hostels
If you’re planning your interrail trip and want to make friends along the way, look for hostels that are welcoming and social. These are the best places to meet like-minded travellers that want to socialise and get to know others. To find these, it’s useful to read reviews that talk about the atmosphere, trips they have to offer and any events they organise. This way, you’ll know when you get to the hostel you’ll have not only have plenty to do, but lots of opportunities to make friends.
Eat with others
This might not sound appealing at first, but food is a great way to get the conversation flowing. Whether you get to know people through a cooking class booked through the hostel or simply eat a meal at the hostel itself, it’s a unique way to help you get more familiar with other travellers.
Go on an organised trip
As mentioned above, a great way to make friends in hostels while interrailing is going on an organised trip. Although many hostels advertise trips on noticeboards, there are also other companies such as Intrepid Travel that organise trips for small groups that you can book before you go. As well as giving you the opportunity to meet others, they are also a great way to explore new places and learn about the culture.
Allow yourself to be spontaneous
When interrailing, whether you’re on your own or with a group, you need to allow for some flexibility. Not only with the transport itself, but also with the activities you do each day. Although it might be tempting to plan every minute down to the wire, sometimes you should allow yourself to be spontaneous.
There might be opportunities along the way to experience things you wouldn’t if you’re constantly on the go. For example, you could meet people in your hostel that invite you on a trip, out to eat or to another event. Of course, if you’re travelling alone you need to have your wits about you, but if you ensure you’re in a safe environment with trustworthy people, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t let your hair down and live in the moment.
Take a class
Want to take part in a class when interrailing? Not only will it give you the chance to learn a new skill, but also make new friends in your hostel. Regardless of what you’re interested in, tons of destinations offer classes in cooking, fitness, crafts, etc. So you’re bound to find one that suits your tastes.
Avoid bigger hostels
If you’re interrailing for the first time, then the thought of a big hostel might be off putting. Similarly, if you’re travelling solo then a bigger, busier hostel might seem intimidating. In a larger hostel it’s also harder to make friends compared to small and mid-sized hostels where socialising tends to come more naturally.
So there you go, there’s a quick and easy guide on how to make friends in your hostels while interrailing. Of course, everyone is different. And what works for some might not work for others. So at the end of the day you need to do what you’re comfortable with.
There are so many opportunities when staying in hostels to make friends, but you do need the initial confidence to go up and break the ice. But once you do so, however, there’s no reason why you can’t make life-long friends that you can create unforgettable memories with.