One of my absolute favorite parts of traveling is the weird and wonderful people you meet along the way. But I’ll admit that making friends isn’t always easy. Especially when you’re already out of your comfort zone as you tend to be while traveling. But as challenging as it can be, putting yourself out there can open you up to meeting some unforgettable people. So here are 5 tips for leaping your hurdles and meeting great travel buddies.
Avoid Big Groups
Big groups are intimidating, and it’s easy to get so invested in the people you are traveling with that you forget about meeting the people around you. Traveling with at most, one other person or even going alone makes you much more approachable. Not only does it make it easier for others to approach you but it will give you more motivation to reach out to others yourself.
Stay in a Hostel
No really. Hostels are perfectly set up for meeting people. In a hostel, everything tends to be communal, making it hard not to meet people. Of course, you can avoid people if you choose but if you know how to take advantage of the environment, hostels can be great places for meeting people. It is over communal dinners in hostels that I have met some of my closest travel friends. I recommend offering to share a meal with the people you meet in the hostel. Maybe you teach people how to make a traditional meal from home, or maybe you all pitch in and create something new together. Whatever you make, food is a universal way of bringing people together.
You’ve shared a meal and the night is still young! Take advantage of the ultimate social lubricant, alcohol. Going out on the town is a great way to meet cool people. Of course, it is very important that you pace yourself when drinking with strangers, especially if you are going on your own. But if you can be responsible, going out with some new friends can be a great way to bond quickly. It is even easier if the bar has a foosball or pool table, or bringing along a simple deck of cards.
Learn the Language
It is no secret that traveling is easier for multilingual people. And maybe you won’t have time to become fluent in a language before your trip, but even a few words can go a long way. Showing people that you are at least trying to learn about their language and culture can help people warm up to you. Of course, no matter how many languages you speak there will always be people you have a language barrier with and that’s what Google translate is for! Language barriers are not as intimidating as they seem with a little creativity, patience, and good humor.
Have an Open Schedule
Stay open to opportunities. That means open to inviting people to join your plans and open to changing yours to join other people. Don’t be afraid to stay somewhere one day longer or to go on a detour you never thought of taking. You’re on vacation! Travel plans are only meant to be loose guidelines. It’s always the most unexpected and exciting adventures that happen when things don’t go to plan.
Some of my best travel adventures happened because I opened myself up to strangers. Of course, there are always precautions that have to be taken when meeting strangers, but for the most part, experiences are very rewarding. Let traveling be an opportunity to meet people you never would have otherwise, and you might just end up having experiences you’ll never forget.