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The 6 Questions You Always Get Asked In A Hostel

The 6 Questions You Always Get Asked In A Hostel

The “getting to know you” phase of hostel interactions is a well played out scene, with almost scripted conversations happening around the world daily in dingy rooms adorned with bunk beds, participants sitting on greyed sheets with a texture not dissimilar to that of a Cruskit.


If you’re new to this, here’s how all of your conversations will commence from here on in – you best prepare some witty answers. Get it right, have some solid responses at the ready, and you will be the Queen/King Bee of your next hostel.

#1 Where are you from?

The first question must always be to establish where you’re from – this is important for a number of reasons. Firstly we must establish what language is spoken, and whether or not you’ll understand my clever puns and quick wordplay. Secondly, if you’re from Berlin, I need to find out if you know that girl I went to high school with who recently moved to Berlin and maybe lives somewhere starting with M (is it Mitte? Or is in fact… Munich?) Chances are low, but I have to ask. I have to.


This is a particular awkward question if you don’t look like where you’re from – if you’re Swedish and not blonde, if you’re an American wearing a German soccer jersey, or if you’re Aussie and don’t have that surfer tan. The follow up question will come: where are you really from? If I were you, I’d definitely prepare a good response for this one to really ramp up the awkward level – something including the word “womb” will probably do the trick.

#2 How long have you been travelling?

Image: KF / English Wikipedia Creative Commons

The subtext here: are you fresh off the boat, all full of naiveté and ready to get pickpocketed, or are you a seasoned traveller, with a well established rucksack packing routine and headtorch for early morning departures? Are you still carrying around hair straighteners and worrying about pesky things like hygiene, or are you straight into the four-day undies routine? (Don’t act like you don’t know it.)


There’s truly nothing more eye-opening than meeting a person who is straight off the plane on their first trip overseas. I cringe remembering the first time I stayed in a hostel – 18-years-old and full of weird, awkward questions like how dirty was this hostel compared to others, prying into everyone’s financial status and asking everyone how old they were. Also I immediately fell over when I walked into my first hostel, overbalancing with my huge turtle-style backpack on my back. Let us never speak of this again.

#3 How much longer are you going to travel for?

Most Aussies know you don’t go travelling for any less than six weeks, and more likely six months if you can. Especially when the flight from Oz is more than eight hours – if you’re in the Americas, Africa or Europe, and you’ve got an Aussie accent – you’re likely there for a decent amount of time.


Most people are amazed at us embarking on these long trips and wonder how we can afford it. One of the most memorable people I met travelling had been studying for 18 years, had five uni degrees, had never worked a full time job and had been on the road for two years. When I asked him how much money he had (yep, another one of those awkward questions) he told me he had three credit cards with a $10,000 limit on each. I’ve gotta say, I don’t envy the him of the future.

#4 Where did you just arrive from?

Image: Brian Moore / Flickr

There’s a pretty well established tourist beat in most places, so chances are you’ve either just come from the same place I just did, or you’re travelling in the reverse order and have just been to the place I am travelling to next. If it’s the former, I need to assure myself that I didn’t miss out on anything fun that you did, and that I had a better time than you did. ‘Did you manage to get to Stonehenge? Oh you missed out? That’s a real shame because that was literally the BEST thing I saw in Europe… like heaps of fun… oh well, next time’. If it’s the latter, I am now going to mine you for tips. You are now my walking Lonely Planet. Cough up!

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#5 Where are you going next?

See above. Also, maybe if you’re cool I might want to travel with you. Let’s see how you perform later at the hostel bar. If you drink too much and end up sobbing over your lost scarf from three cities back, we’re done.

#6 What’s been your favourite place so far?

Image: Joseph Holmes / Flickr

Are you a typical, “Oh, I just love New York”, or are you a little more obscure? Is your favourite place actually Tromsø up in the northernmost part of Norway because you just love far flung places? Or is it some tiny town where the locals took you in and treated you as one of their own and you can’t tell us where it is because you don’t want tourists to spoil your secret haven? Are you the kind of person who pronounces Barcelona “Bar-the-lona” because you’re just so local, or are you still saying Paris with an ‘s’ on the end like an absolute chump? You can learn a lot about someone from their favourite place, so listen up.

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