If you have an introverted personality, or are traveling somewhere solo, hostels can sometimes seem like daunting places. There are big crowds of people who are confident, outgoing and have often had quite a few drinks. For those that are perhaps a little shy or are going it alone, how do you go about making friends in that sort of environment?

Well it won’t happen without some effort on your end, but by using the following 7 tips you’ll be well on your way to making some dear hostel buddies!

Choose your hostel wisely

Before you can make friends in a hostel, you have to book into one. Thankfully, the internet makes choosing the best hostel for friendship creation easy! The big sites like TripAdvisor and Hostelworld have a huge amount of reviews on most hostels which feature an ‘atmosphere’ rating. This rating is your best bet in finding a hostel that has a friendly, communal feel.

Stay in dorms

You aren’t going to meet anyone by locking yourself away in a private suite. By booking into a dorm you’ll be essentially living with people, which makes striking up a conversation a piece of cake! But beware – smaller dorms (4-6 people) tend to be far better than large dorms (10-20 people) for mingling.

Get involved with hostel group activities

A hostel worth its salt will generally host a few group activities during the week. They could be super relaxed, like a Sunday ‘family’ dinner or a movie night. They could be a bit more touristic, like walking tours or an adventure sport outing. They could be wild, like a pub crawl or a beer pong tournament. Whatever the case, find a group activity that interests you and get involved! It’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Relax in communal spaces

If you just feel like reading a book or mucking around on your laptop, do so in a communal space rather than from your dorm bed. Simply sitting down with other travelers is often more than enough to spark a conversation and a fast friendship!

Invite people on trips

Do you have a local site that you want to check out? Why not invite others from the hostel to join you? Don’t be afraid of being politely declined – the invitee will always be appreciative that you thought to invite them in the first place! Sure, you have to put yourself out there, but if you get a sense that someone might share the same interests as you, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Be a YES man or woman

Perhaps someone has invited you to check out tourist spot with them. If that’s the case, it’s time to channel your inner yes man. Yes, you’d love to come with them. Yes, you might as well have a drink after you’ve seen the sights too. Yes, you should be best friends forever.

And finally, realize that you have more in common with everyone than you might think!

The very fact that you’ve ended up in the same part of the world and in the same hostel as your fellow travelers tells you more than you might imagine about how similar you are. You’ve all chosen this destination, for one reason or another. Likewise, you’ve chosen this hostel. You’re all interested in travel, and you’re all undoubtedly fun individuals. Who knows where the similarities will end!