15 hostel ice breakers
Hostels are all about meeting new people, but how to break the ice with strangers? No need to wade into someone’s personal space, it’s time to ditch the nightmares of storming down walls of aloofness, and by the way – the awkwardness is all in your mind.
We asked you, the world’s travellers, for your ideas; so here are your favourite one-liners, friendly intros and downright weird tips for initial social contact:
1. “Hi I’m an American… hey where you going?” – Ed Gilroy
2. “Do you have the password for the WiFi?” – Ragna, HI Norway
3. “Sharing food” – Julia Raasch Ubert
If you’re a solo traveller, it’s tough buying for one. Buy in bulk if you’re staying for more than a couple of days: it’s cheaper, you can bet you’ll find someone who wants to taste your speciality of pasta with beans, and if they don’t then hey – you can always freeze it.
4. “Hey, where abouts have you travelled from?” - Lucy Francesca
5. “Hi, I’m *insert name* .” – Gary Reid
6. “‘Do you want a beer mate?’ That’s it, that’s all you need. Backpackers are fiends for free alcohol, just look at the outrageous Happy Hours on offer at the hostel bar.” – Jono Cusack
7. “Make pancakes” – Kelly Pike
A lot of hostels provide pancake mixture for free: a great ice-breaker, and again, that common theme – free food.
8. “Where are you heading?” – Marc Sorbe
Here’s a line which could potentially change your plans, too: listen to fellow hostellers, be open to ditching the rigorous schedule and do something spontaneous – lose the itinerary and go on a day trip with a new group of people. It might be the best thing you ever decided to do.
9. “Do you come here often?” – Liesbet Maroye
It might be considered a well-worn pick-up line for some, but you could find yourself a knowledgeable local guide.
10. “I just got here – what have you done here that you would recommend? Honestly, I rarely need ice breakers when traveling – a smile is usually enough to start a conversation, even if there’s a language barrier, and if it’s not, then I don’t want to talk to them anyway.” - Joanna Shindler
11. “’I know where you’ve been, you know where I’m going. No travel talk tonight, let’s go.’ – The easy one is of course, ‘How have your travels been going’ or something along those lines, but after telling the same story five times a day for two months you just get sick of it. Sometimes we all just need a break from it and talk about movies and music, not mountains and Manhattans.” – Jono Cusack
12. “When the hostel has games or trivia nights!” – Lauren Perry
… Or bar crawls, or free food evenings, or barbecues, parties, local tours. Hostels put on plenty of events to help get the conversation flowing.
13. “Hello! Do you speak *insert language* ?” – Judy Riddell
Sign language and interpretive dance are always good fun, but communication is easier if you speak the same language. If you don’t – now’s the time to learn!
14. “How many countries have you been to? I’m approaching my 80th. What do you mean you haven’t been to that tiny village in Central America? You haven’t lived, man.” – Alex
Obnoxious travellers will always generate a response, even if it’s not the desired one.
15. “I don’t like it here. There are too many tourists.”
We’re all for straying from the well-worn sightseeing path, but you may find repeating this again and again comes across as a little pretentious. After all, you’re a stranger here too; however you define your terms.