If you google the characteristics of an introvert you’ll find that they’re the type of person who enjoys being on their own and having their own space, they find being around other people quite draining after too long, and people often think they’re quiet and shy.
If you feel like you are an introvert judging by these few traits then you may feel like hostel life is not for you, especially if you’re constantly hearing how social and party like hostels are and perhaps this is putting you off travelling all together but I’m here to tell you that this should not be the case!
I wouldn’t say I’m an extreme introvert but if I had to pick out of the two then I’m definitely more introverted, yet I have stayed in more hostels than I can count since my travel bug bit in 2010.
Recently I have enjoyed travelling more with friends however when I first started travelling it was a case of – if I wait for someone to come, I’d be waiting forever, so I decided to travel solo and I have always been ok with that. I love time by myself and I enjoy my own company. Solo trips usually mean that I have to stay in a hostel due to costs, which again is fine, (as long as no-one snores!) however solo travel and hostels can seem slightly daunting and exhausting for an Introvert. I’ve certainly had times where I’ve hated hostel life but I’ve also had times where I’ve loved it.
From my experience of travelling and staying in hostels as a solo traveller I have picked up a few tips a long the way and ways of looking and thinking about hostels that have helped me enjoy them and made me want to keep booking them so I can keep travelling on a budget so here they are!
Firstly do your research and check the reviews. Not all hostels are party hostels with a buzzing social scene. Check out how the hostel describes themselves, if they’re a party hostel with a onsite bar open all night then you’ll quickly realise this and write that hostel off. Also, check out what other people have to say in the reviews. Often people will complain that there’s no common area meaning that it’s hard to be social, however to me, and to an introvert that’s not necessarily a bad thing and that on occasions has made me book a particular hostel.
Know that you will find time alone. As I said, I’ve stayed in countless hostels and dorm rooms and honestly there’s usually always time when you are alone in the room, or at least times when its quiet and no one is talking to each other. When travelling everyone runs on a different schedule, some people get up early and are out all day, other people stay in bed most of the day and go out late into the evening so everyone’s days are always crossing over. Often you’ll never even see everyone in your dorm room and if the room is busy then you’ll more than likely find a quiet spot in the lounge or bar area where you can chill for a while.
Book a smaller room. I’ve never been one to book into a 12 bed mixed dorm unless absolutely necessary. I tend to stay in 4 or 6 bed female dorms and I will make my choice of hostel dependent on this availability. It makes sense that if you share with fewer people, they’ll be less noise (usually) and fewer people who you have to go through the standard, ‘whats your name, where are you from, where are you going next’ discussion with. (Although, honestly, I have met some of my best friends following that standard conversation in a hostel room so try to keep an open mind)
And on that note, Remember that you’ll find other people like yourself. Hostels and travelling in general is for everyone so you’re bound to get a mix of people. Yes you’ll get the social butterflies, some annoying, some really nice but they just drain you. People who think they know it all and people who feel like they don’t need any new friends anyway but you’ll also meet quiet people like yourself. People who want to see the sites during the day and then come back and get an early night. People who are happy to go for breakfast or dinner with you but would rather do their own thing during the day too.
You may be lucky and find that person on the first night of your trip and end up travelling with them for a long time, or you may need to wait and trust that they are out there and will come along when you really need them during your trip (again, I speak from experience).
And finally, be ok with being alone. You may be a well-practiced introvert who knows themselves and knows that being alone and not wanting to talk to people all the time is totally ok, but you may be less confident and new to the travelling world and worry that people will think you’re boring if you say no to hostel drinks or a group day out and that you wont make any friends but don’t ever worry about that! Your travels and trips are your own and no one else’s and as long as you’re doing what makes you happy then that’s all that matters!
I hope these tips help you and motivate you to stay in a Hostel if its something you’ve been worrying about.
Let me know your experience of hostels in the comments below or by tweeting me!
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