Making Friends While Traveling Solo

Posted on August 18, 2011

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Friendships formed during travel can last a lifetime.

Traveling solo can be a nerve-wracking experience. On top of the culture shock, you won’t know a single soul, which can be more than a bit intimidating! But don’t fret! With an outgoing attitude and the few simple tips, you won’t have any trouble meeting other travelers and making friends on the road.

By Peter Langlois

Before we get started, remember that the majority of solo travelers are really social and outgoing people. In fact, for many solo backpackers, meeting other travelers is one of their favorite parts of the process. Backpackers are generally laid back, friendly and open-minded people, so making the first step by striking up conversation shouldn’t be fretful. With that in mind, here are our top tips for ensuring you make friends where ever you travel:

  • Stay in Hostels. Hostels are by the far best place to meet like-minded travelers. If you’re traveling alone, stay in a hostel and you’re almost guaranteed the opportunity to meet  people.
  • Ask Lots of Questions. If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that people love to talk about their hobbies, interests, passions and travel plans. Strike up conversation with other backpackers at the hostel by simply asking questions about where they’ve been, where they’re going, and what they like to do when they travel. You might find yourself gleaning a lot of great travel ideas from the people you meet.
  • Be Open and Friendly. I always tell people that unless they intentionally seclude themselves in a corner, it’s almost impossible NOT to meet someone while staying at a hostel. That’s because the environment is naturally social and travelers stay at hostels in order to meet new people.
  • Tag Along. Very few people mind if you ask to join them on their day’s activities or for dinner or a drink, even if it’s last minute as they’re walking out the door. Most people welcome the opportunity to meet someone new and swap travel stories.
  • Dinner Time! If you’re sitting at the hostel lounge and dinner time is approaching, make a general suggestion to the group about heading out together for dinner. Usually someone is hungry and also looking for someone to share a meal with.
  • Join a Hostel-Organized Event. Most hostels organize social events for their guests, such as a barbecue or a night out at a particular bar. Ask the hostel reception if there’s anything going on. If not, they will surely help you find something fun to do.
  • Share a bottle of wine with a stranger. One of the best strategies for meeting other travelers is grabbing a bottle of wine at a local corner store and inviting anyone in the hostel lounge to have a glass. Few backpackers will turn down a glass of wine and a chance for conversation.

Traveling is one of the best ways to meet some really interesting and unique people from all over the world. The simple fact that you can come and go without knowing anyone should give you a sense of freedom to step out of your comfort zone and take a few more risks than you might take if you were at home. So get out there, and be sure to share your stories with us about all the cool people you meet in the process!

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