Meeting new people while traveling is easier said than done for alot of people. Whether extroverted or introverted by nature, the feeling of trying to talk to a stranger can be overwhelming since we are all conditioned to the stranger danger notion since childhood.
But we have great news, the averted upper lip and politely looking away wont work when you are traveling and is certainly not good for your travel health. Once you start practicing you will soon realize it’s the people along with the places you go to that makes it a rewarding experience. Here are some ways you could meet alot of new people and make friends while traveling:
1.Always stay in a hostel
Keep an open mind while traveling, although be wary of scammers but when it comes to other travelers like you, don’t judge the book by its cover. Everyone is in their sweatpants or shorts while traveling. As you travel more and more differences such as age, cultures, languages become more and more irrelevant when you meet people. There is always a chance that the next person you meet will be astoundingly interesting and would have a thing or two to teach you. Also, you will quickly learn where you can find interesting people in your area, such as bookshops, cafes, club etc etc.If you give them a chance to show themselves to you, well voila!! You are interesting too.
2. Our favourite word: FOOD
Sharing your plate of fries or freshly baked quesadilla are a sure fire way to get a conversation started. Just as animals such as cats socialize with us through food, man is a social animal too. Either its a hostel kitchen, or an airbnb you are sharing or a premium high class club you are staying at, sharing food helps you bond with others. Dining is a unique way to enjoy and get to know new people. If food isn;t your thing, try going to events, or yoga retreats or any activity that would put new people on your radar and you on theirs.
3.Learn basic language of the place
Its usually quite okay to get by through just english or an imaginative version of sign language while traveling but learning a phrase or two in the local language gets the door open. Not only does it help you get by but also makes the locals bond and more open to helping you find what you are looking for. Knowing the basics of a language will enable you to connect with locals and know more about a place apart from your regular backpacking crew. Technology can be put to great use in this regard. Some apps like the hostelworld app offers translations to connect with locals in over 43 languages.
4.Go with a travel group
Solo traveling is a drug of its own and as much as it’s fun. It kind of makes it difficult to meet new people if you are introverted. If you are traveling alone for a while, consider going on group tours for a few months or weeks. The friendships you develop while traveling in groups are beyond explanation. These bonds not only last for a very very long time but also share similar interests with you, so you have friends for your next trip.
Lastly, always be flexible with your plan. If you are open enough to try and ditch your plan of visiting some place to sit and have a conversation with a stranger, who knows what good that might bring you. Remember to not force any connection and you will not click with everyone. Approach people, let them approach you. Trust your gut, be careful and enjoy !!