Making friends can be tough wherever you are, but when you’re traveling alone, it can be even more challenging. You’re going to a new, unfamiliar place where you’ll be around new, unfamiliar people. How, exactly, can you foster new friendships to share your experiences with?
It’s time to step a little out of your comfort zone and learn some tricks for boosting your social game when you’re traveling solo.
Before you go, sit down and do some research about the place you’re going. You should familiarize yourself with some of the language, the customs, the food people like to eat, and the activities they like to do. This way, you won’t feel like a total outsider when you arrive.
The benefit of researching your destination is that you’ll learn about what the locals tend to spend their time doing. You’ll then know some of the hot spots to visit to meet some new people. Be sure to specifically look up what people your age and with similar interests like to do so that you can more easily find people you’ll likely connect with.
Study up on a few helpful phrases, too, in the native language, like:
- “What’s your name?” / “My name is…”
- “It’s nice to meet you.”
- “What do you like to do for fun?”
- “Please” and “Thank you”
- “Where is…?” (Familiarize yourself with directional words, too, like up, down, left, and right)
You can also prepare yourself to meet people who will be traveling to the same place during your vacation before you leave! This is a great way to meet people who speak your language and might be interested in experiencing a new place with you on a few adventures.
There are some mobile apps, for example, that help you connect with people who share your interests. Skout is one of these apps that matches you with like-minded people in your travel destination who are looking for friends. Connect with people who interest you and have some conversations and make plans for meeting before you leave.
Resorts are known for their fun activities they plan almost every day. When you stay at a resort, you practically get a full travel experience in one convenient location.
Many vacation package deals are all-inclusive, meaning that you pay one convenient price for everything from lodging to dining. Most of them include fun activities, too, that give you the perfect opportunity to meet new people who enjoy doing the things you do.
Resorts are known for their mingling events, like concerts, entertainment shows, and more, that can be great ways to strike up conversations with others and create lasting friendships.
If you want to make friends while you travel, then it’s crucial that you feel comfortable making conversations with strangers. If you don’t, then it’s something you should practice before you leave. Strike up a friendly conversation with the grocery store clerk. Ask your doctor more questions than you normally would. Get into the habit of being more open and you’ll find that it’ll start coming more naturally.
On your vacation, ask the locals questions. Maybe you’re touring a local art museum, but you’re confused about the history of some of the pieces. Ask, and they’ll likely be more than happy to answer. A couple of simple questions can quickly turn into a deeper conversation that can end in friendship.
Companies like Airbnb have made it possible for travelers to meet new people all over the world by sharing everything from lodging to experiences. The good thing about using sharing companies is that you know the people you connect with have similar interests, so you don’t have to feel awkward or unwanted.
Couchsurfing is a website that connects travelers to other people who want to host them at their house or share one-of-a-kind experiences with. You can look for people in your destination city who would love to show you around the nightlife scene or help you find the best hiking spots around.
There’s even a company called EatWith, which helps you find locals with which you can share dining experiences on your vacation. Food helps people connect, so it’s safe to say that enjoying an authentic meal with locals is an excellent way to feel at home and spark conversations with new people.
Once you do find some people you’ve connected with on or before your vacation, ask them if they’d like to do something as a group. Let them invite their friends so that they feel comfortable, which can also give you the opportunity to bond with more people.
Fun tours can be excellent icebreakers for people in groups. Go ziplining, tour history museums, go on a kayaking adventure, or embark on a local food tour. Remember to keep the conversations going by sharing some of your favorite memories from the things you’ve done so far and asking others what activities they might recommend for you. Keep these tips in mind and it’s likely you’ll be making friends no matter where you go.