Travelling alone is an experience like none other, but most people tend to associate going on vacation with making unforgettable memories. To do this, you’re going to have to make a few friends, but if you’re an introvert, it can seem a little nerve-racking. However, it’s not as hard as you’d think.
10 Tips To Help Make Friends While You Travel
At first, it might seem a little strange to walk up to a stranger and talk about yourself, but when it comes to travel you can forget about regular social norms. Even if you think you have nothing in common with the people around, you have one big thing to talk about and that is travelling and your love for it.
1 Stay At A Hostel
If you’re travelling abroad, one of the best things to do is to stay in a hostel. The accommodation isn’t exactly glamorous, but it is pocket-friendly and will help you make a ton of new friends. When you choose a dorm room, you will automatically start mingling with the people around you and questions like “where are you from” and “where are you travelling to next” will pop up.
If a dorm room isn’t your thing, you can always choose a private room in a hostel and you’ll still make friends. You can meet fellow guests while eating breakfast, or maybe just play a game of foosball with them. The opportunities are endless.
2. Try Couchsurfing
Are you having a hard time finding a decent hostel? No problem. The next best thing is Couchsurfing. This concept is quite a trend today, especially among solo travellers. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, Couchsurfing is a practice where locals offer a bed or couch to a traveller for free. If you’re wondering how it would help, Couchsurfing helps you open your mind a little more and helps you meet travellers on the same wavelength as you.
The upside to this kind of accommodation is that you get to interact with a local, who will be able to give you a better insight into the city your visiting, not just your usual tourist experience. If you’re hesitant, you should know it is entirely safe to do (in certain countries). Thousands of solo women travellers have tried this and have made lasting friendships.
3. Bond Over Food
One of the best ways to get to know someone is to have a meal with them. After all, the fondest memories are made gathered around the table. You can head to your hostel dining room or a little diner and make friends over plates of good food. Try and get to know a few locals while on vacation and who knows? They might invite you over and cook you a delicious dinner.
Also, if you’re a foodie, this is the best way to meet other food-obsessed travellers like yourself.
4. Visit Tourist Sites
A lot of travellers these days tend to stay away from tourist attractions to stay away from crowds. However, this is a great way to meet new people and make friends. When you are surrounded by so many people when you’re so far away from home, you tend to open up and you’ll want to connect with them. Who knows you might even find someone from your own home country at a tourist spot in the city?
5. Go On A Pub Crawl
If you’re a young traveller who loves to party, going on a pub crawl is the best way to make friends. These night outs can often into an adventure by just downing a few pints of beer. You don’t even have to be drunk, just have a little alcohol and the next thing you know, you’ll be a social butterfly.
What’s important is to remember to drink responsibly and you’ll be surprised at how many new friends you make. A number of hotels and hostels have special “pub crawl” events, where you can sign up for a night of fun and be taken to the best pubs by a guide.
6. Learn The Local Lingo
In many countries around the world, it is possible to just coast by on English and a lot of sign language. But if you want to get to know the locals, we’d suggest you pick up a few common phrases in the local language.
If you’re willing to learn a little more than the basics, you can get to know more locals (apart from the English speaking ones) to give you a better experience of the city you’re travelling to. There are also a number of apps that will help you speak a few phrases to make foreign travel a lot easier for you.
7. Find Virtual Travel Buddies
If you’re a shy person who wants to make friends when you travel, no need to worry. The internet is a wonderful place, where you can do a little research and meet people. You can download apps like Backpackr or Tourlina or visit websites like Virtual Tourist to meet travellers online.
Here, you can plan a few activities with your new travel buddies who are visiting the same places as you. If you’re a solo woman traveller, you can configure your app or website to meet fellow female travellers, so you can enjoy a safe vacation.
8. Go On A Planned Group Tour
A solo trip is an exciting prospect for sure, but if you’re a little hesitant, you can always choose to go on a group tour. There are a ton of benefits of travelling in a group. For one, there’s safety in numbers and two, you can make friendships that will last you a lifetime.
These group tours are often completely organised, so you can have a blast without actually having to pre-plan anything. You’ll get picked up and dropped at your doorstep and you’ll have a number of like-minded travellers to make friends with.
9. Start Conversations
Most of us are extremely nervous when it comes to making conversations with strangers. But again, when you travel, you’re mind is open to new things. Make small talk with people around you. Look for someone you have something in common with. For example, if you’re in Italy and you hear someone talking in English or your native tongue, strike up a conversation with them.
Another great thing to do is compliment someone you think you have something in common with. Maybe say, “Hey! I love your t-shirt. Where did you get it from?” and next thing you know, you’ve made a new friend. It can seem intimidating at first, and there might even be some awkwardness now and then, but don’t let it change your mind about making conversations.
10. Be Open To Trying New Things
When you’re in an unfamiliar country or city, it’s easy to only stick to the regular tourist activities from a guidebook. A good way to break away from this is to go along with something your new friend suggests (only if it is safe, of course). A new experience that you have not planned has the ability to change your life.
This experience could be trying a delicacy you’ve eaten before, an adventure activity like bungee jumping, or even a random road trip to the closest town. Keep your mind open and amazing things will happen.
BONUS!!: Get On Social Media
Social Media is the best place to keep the friendships you’ve made on your travels. You can always keep in touch with them over Facebook Messenger, keep a track of their travels on Instagram, and share things you’ll enjoy over the internet.
You can always share details or an itinerary of the next place your visiting and might end up meeting someone who is travelling to the same place.
Here a few tips to make you the friendly as you want to be when you travel. While a few of these will go beyond your comfort zone, you’ll find they work. Also, remember to stay safe. If you feel something is wrong, go with your gut and avoid it. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation!
Have we forgotten a handy tip to keep in mind when you travel? What do you do to make friends on vacation? Let us know in the comments below.