A common misconception that often deters many would-be solo travellers is the fear of loneliness. The fact of the matter is, though, the fate of your trip is entirely up to you. If you are looking to make new friends on your next solo trip, follow these tips for being liked the world over.
Most people love talking about themselves. When you’re travelling, you’ll find simple questions go a long way. Ask others about their hometowns or their travel destinations, and then dig deeper. If you stumble across shy travellers, try to bring them out of their shells by asking about pets and relatives. Any simple icebreaker could be the start to a beautiful friendship.
Even if your accent sounds strange or you forget key phrases, when you make an effort to learn the country’s language others notice. Befriend locals (or other struggling language novices) by asking them to teach you more phrases. Most people are excited to demonstrate their knowledge. Learning a new language is a great way to meet locals–and to know what they really think of you.
Before you leave home, find out who (in your network) is in the area. Arrange a meet up when you arrive and you are sure to meet more locals. Remember to also connect online with people you meet, this way you can contact them in the future.
One of the easiest ways to make friends abroad is staying in hostel dorms, especially if you are younger. Here you can find travellers from around the world and explore the city together. Even if you are timid, others will naturally want to mix with their hostel mates. Hostels often have bars or mixer events, which are meant to be easy meeting places for travelling strangers.
For a more personal accommodation experience, try Couchsurfing. This online community of travellers lets backpackers stay in local homes. It is a great way to meet city natives.
If resorts are more your speed, a great place to meet people is the hotel bar. It is easy to strike up a conversation with travellers much like yourself over a drink
Trips, activities and excursions are a great way to meet like-minded travellers. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it excites you. Chances are, the experience is likely a new one for everyone there. Don’t take yourself or your outing too seriously and you are sure to find others who want to be around you.
Staying calm in emergency situations (even minor ones) can earn you major points with other travellers. Know how to dial for help and where to make a travel insurance claim and you will quickly earn the respect of others around you.
The true keys to making new friends are happiness and confidence. Always have a smile on your face and something nice to say and you are sure to find friends in no time.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Jirka Matousek; cropped from original