Have you ever experienced the feeling of wanderlust? Wanderlust is the intense desire to travel, see the world, and have exciting, new adventures.
However, in order to travel, you likely have to do some planning.
You’ll have to allocate a budget, choose your destination and itinerary, and decide whether you’re going solo or with a group.
While traveling with a group can be beneficial in many ways, many people enjoy going solo as it allows more opportunities to meet others. Part of the joy of traveling for these solo travelers comes from meeting people of different cultures, whether they be locals or fellow travelers.
If this piques your interest but also sounds scary or intimidating, you’re not alone.
Before traveling solo, it might be helpful to get some advice from a therapist, who you can talk to about your specific fears or setbacks, and help you develop some healthy ways to work around them.
In the meantime, you can check out these tips and advice on how to meet new people and make friends while traveling.
On Your Itinerary
When traveling with the goal of meeting new people, there are several things you can think of in advance of your trip, including where you stay, who you travel with, and the amount of “free time” you build into your schedule.
This way, you can incorporate dedicated times to try to meet new people into your itinerary before you even leave.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Stay at a youth hostel. One of the best ways to meet like-minded people while traveling is to stay at a youth hostel. If you’ve heard about youth hostels before, you may have noticed that they tend to get a bad rap. However, this is just generally just a stereotype, and many hostels all over the world are safe and clean. Most people who stay in youth hostels are young travelers looking to meet and befriend other young adults. Some hostels even organize special events and parties that facilitate meetings between guests.
- Go solo or find similar-minded travel buddies. As mentioned before, traveling solo is perhaps the best way to meet new people. If you travel alone, you’re free to decide exactly what you want to do and when. However, solo travel cannot be a reality for everyone for numerous reasons; choosing to travel with friends who have the same goals for the trip as you can be a more approachable alternative option.
- Plan for time devoted to social activities. Whether you are a hardcore planner or simply like to go with the flow, it can be helpful to allocate some time specifically for activities that will help you meet new people. This can be visiting bars frequented by students, going on day tours, or using social media to your advantage for meet-ups.
Conversation Tips and Tricks
No matter how much you incorporate these kinds of activities into your itinerary, it can still be challenging to jump into a conversation with someone you don’t know.
Part of this may simply be overcoming the fear of saying something.
Follow these tips to help make that first leap into your new friendship:
- Look up from your phone. You may notice a lot more than you realize by simply looking up out of your phone or book. When we solo travel, it might be necessary to look at a map or get some recommendations from a travel blog, but when you are at a bar or restaurant, try putting the reading material away for a moment. If you catch someone else’s eye and give them a smile, it could be the key to a conversation that leads to an incredible friendship.
- Compliment someone. One of the best ways to strike up a conversation could be to offer up a compliment. People tend to feel more open to chatting when they feel flattered, and you have just shown them that you’re a kind and chatty person that would equally enjoy talking with them. Whether it be about a clothing item, hairstyle, or simply the way they command the room, a genuine compliment can lead to a deeper conversation.
- Ask questions. Another great way to strike up a conversation is to ask a question. It can even be something simple, like asking about where someone is from if they know of anything nearby to try out, or even for directions. By asking about someone, you open up a whole world of conversation, but asking about logistical information can also lead to a lengthy and engaging chat.
Safety Comes First
Whether you’re traveling alone or in a group, trying to meet new people, or sticking to your crew, it is always important to keep safety in mind.
Always stay alert and never go to someone’s home without getting to know them well.
Find a good balance between practicing safety measures and letting your guard down enough to chat with a stranger.
Keeping caution in mind, it’s safe to say that even if starting up a conversation with someone seems scary at the end of the day, it can lead to some amazing friendships.