Traveling alone can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. I met a woman on a plane once who told me that traveling solo gave her insight into her capability and strength and by the end of her trip she was proud, fearless and full of great stories. She also mentioned that the people you meet along the way are the best parts.
We understand it can be difficult to approach others especially if you’re alone. Sometimes the hardest part is letting go of your anxieties and the fear of being shut down or feeling awkward. Here are some simple tips to make friends abroad without feeling like a total weirdo:
1. Starting a Conversation
Many people are like you and feel it can be difficult to be the first one to engage conversation. Asking questions about the place you’re visiting and having a curiosity for the way of life there opens doors to conversations and potential friendships. Ask people their story. Being a good listener is important because people will take your genuine interest as a sign of respect.
There are little things you can do to be more open and welcoming to people. For example, taking off your headphones while walking around. Or, if you’re stopping for a drink, sit at the bar instead of a table. This is much more inviting and casual.
2. Not Staying In a Private Room
Not staying in a private room is an excellent way to make friends with other travelers. Some people dread the idea of a hostel and sleeping in a room with people they don’t know. The truth is hostels are not always the dirty, gross rooms we may think they are and they’re usually just as clean as hotel rooms. Many solo travelers stay in hostels because it’s too expensive to afford a hotel room on their own. Almost all hostels have female only dorms or rooms that range from 4 to 12 people. Therefore you can choose according to your comfortability level. Hostels organize special nights that anyone can come out to where being social is encouraged. Individuals who stay in hostels are expecting to meet travelers from other places; so striking up a conversation with someone is rather more normal than strange.
Airbnb.com is a great option for staying in a place where other travelers are. Adjusting the search settings on the website will help you find some quality options that respect your comfort.
3. Keep Doing the Things You Love
You are certainly more likely to meet people you will jive with at places you like to be. Keep going to concerts museums, shops and points of interest that intrigue you.
4. Take a Class or Join a Tour Group
Taking a class such as yoga or painting can give you a chance to meet the locals. People will either notice you’re a new face or hear you have an accent and become intrigued and begin to ask you questions.
Joining a tour group is another great way to meet people. You’re already put together with other travelers who are looking to meet people while discovering the area. Making conversation will come much more naturally in an environment where it’s encouraged.
5. Apps or Websites
Apps and Websites such as Tinder or Couch Surfing allow you to meet people in your area whether they’re travelers or locals. You can put in your bio on Tinder what exactly you’re looking for to avoid any confusion. Couch Surfing lets you find places to stay with other travelers or fun people who live in the area. It’s a website that’s growing in popularity every day because of it’s simple approach to meeting people while finding a place to crash.
Everyone you meet will think you’re bold and brave for traveling solo. So never feel like the weird person who’s all alone when what you’re doing is very admirable. Remember; trust your gut while traveling alone. If an individual or place makes you uncomfortable then simply leave. Many people are in the same boat you are and would love to make a new friend abroad. So relax, enjoy yourself and let yourself be open to possibilities and new friends.