Travelling solo can be the biggest adventure, or your worst misery. The key to making a solo trip something so special that you will be the envy of your friends and future grandchildren is in making new friends.
Luckily, making friends while you’re on the road is a snap! Here are three tips that I always use to make friends while travelling.
1) Stay in a hostel
When you’re in a developing country and spending a strong foreign currency, you can stay in a 5 star hotel for a fraction of what it costs back home. But this is a false economy. As tempting as it is to stay in a luxurious hotel in developing countries, if you want to make friends and find an adventure, the best and quickest way is by staying in a hostel. Just make sure to choose one with good reviews and don’t be afraid to change locations if its not working out for you.
2) Be open
Once you’ve chosen your hostel and you’re getting aquainted with your room. Make the effort to be open with the people around you. This can take some time if you’re shy or reserved, but even if you are quiet people will talk to you. Start with your room mates or people you meet at the dinner queue or on the bus to/from the hostel. Stay open to suggestions – maybe you will find a group who are going to the beach or a local sight seeking place, tag along and you could meet some awesome new travel friends. Also, get into the habit of not rejecting someone based on their age, gender or nationality. That person who is twice or half your age could have had the most interesting life and you may just hit it off!
3) Start the conversation
This is probably the hardest part of all. Having the ability to make the first move so that you can meet people really is a life skill. By our mid 20’s we’ve generally learnt about rejection. And you’ll likely have some fear about saying hello to someone new. Your mission is to learn to overcome this irrational fear. The good news is that when you’re travelling everyone is in the same boat. So just say hello, offer to help, or take the leap and buy someone a coffee. Chances are you’ll make a new friend.
4) Stay in touch
As you travel it is really easy to lose touch. Even with mobile phones, facebook and twitter we can fall out of touch so easily. Now that you have met a new friend (or a few) you are probably going to want to stay in touch – even just to reminisce about the awesome adventures you had on your trip, or maybe to share travel stories down the track. Swap facebook profiles, email addresses, or whatever information you feel comfortable sharing, but then remember to follow up. All it takes is an email or a facebook message to make friends feel remembered down the track.
Image by Pink Sherbet Photography
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