Hostels are brilliant places. Whether you’re planning for your first hostel stay, or want to smile nostalgically over the times you once spent in a hostel. I guarantee you will hear/have heard at least half of these, if not all, in every hostel you step foot in.
1. Where are you from?
One of the most exciting parts of travel, aside from meeting locals and experiencing new places, is meeting other travellers from a huge number of cultures and nationalities. I met a girl from Myanmar in Tasmania, a guy from Australia in Sweden, and a girl from the US in Vanuatu. You might also have a few surprises as you meet people who may live in the same city, or even down the road from you!
2. Where is that??
Okay, hopefully, most people would have at least heard of your home country. But it’s likely that people will not have a clue where your home town is (unless you live in the capital!). It’s often funny trying to explain and narrow it down sometimes.
So as an example, I lived in Gloucester, a small city that even British people wouldn’t always recognise, so it goes kind of like this… “Do you know Cheltenham? Bristol? Bath? Oxford?” If any of these places are met with a look of confusion… “I’m not that far from London.”, is usually met with an “Ohh yeah, I know London!”.
3. How long have you been travelling?
People will be curious to know where you’re at in your journey. Is this your first day in the country, or are you a well-travelled nomad with 40 years of wisdom we could only dream of?
4. When did you arrive?
This is helpful to gauge how knowledgeable a person might be on the location and just an interest in their story. E.g. did they arrive today too? Do they love it so much that they decided to extend their stay from a day to a month?
5. Where did you arrive from?
Have you been to other locations, or are you fresh off the plane from your home country? People love to compare and share travel stories, and you both might end up connecting over that incredibly long bus journey you had to endure to get to this hostel!
6. How long are you staying for?
Often people will want to compare how long they are staying. Is it a flying visit, or do you have lots planned? You might learn about a place or activity you may have missed!
7. What have you seen so far?
In relation to the current location generally. Which of the popular tourist sites have you seen? Were they any good? Is the gondola ride truly only a tourist trap or is it worth it?!
8. Have you been to (x) tour/activity/destination?
If you have somewhere, in particular, you’re desperate to get an opinion on, this question is a common one to see if someone else has been there!
9. Do you want to come with me to (x) tour/activity/destination?
If you’ve both not been there and you’re both keen, why not go together? This has definitely got to be one of the best hostel questions out there 🙂
10. Where are you going next?
The next town, the next country? People love to compare journeys and plans to see if anything is similar, and for inspiration on what they should do next. Maybe you’re both booked onto the same bus or train!
11. What are you cooking?
OK, this should be kitchen-specific… but if you are cooking something good and impressive-looking, people will flock to you. Part curiosity, part looking for an invite!
12. Can I turn the light off?
A slightly mundane one, but extremely essential all the same! The first person who wants to sleep in the room will usually chirp up with this one.
13. Do you want this shampoo/bag of rice/jumper?
Music to my ears! Yes, please! If you’re on a tight budget (let’s face it, most backpackers are!) then half a bottle of shampoo or a packet of rice or pasta will be a welcome gift to tide you over until you move on to the next place.
I met a girl in Australia who was jetting off to hot and humid Bali, so she left me with her big, cosy jumper for an Aussie winter that I wasn’t quite prepared for! Don’t forget to pay it forward and help someone else out with any leftovers too 🙂 you can usually leave food in a designated box in the kitchen, and half-full toiletries and clothes can often go in other designated ‘sharing’ boxes hanging around!
14. Can I borrow some salt/pepper/oil/shampoo?
To be honest, if the hostel-free food box doesn’t contain at least 4 pots of salt I’d be surprised. But oil is a common one, it’s something people often forget they need before they start cooking. Sharing is caring!
These questions were so novel when I first started travelling and staying in hostels. Now they make me smile as we work through this artful script of discovering each other’s story. Are there any questions I’ve missed? How many do you recognise?