When you’re travelling alone for a length of time, it can get lonely if you only keep to yourself. Many travellers find speaking to locals and fellow travellers an essential part of travelling. It is through these conversations and crossed paths that you learn about other cultures, and broaden your view of the world – and this is precisely what travelling is all about. People whom you hit off well with have the potential to become your travel companion for your next leg of journey, or they may even take you to see the hidden gems in their home country.
If friendly encounters are your idea of an adventure, here are some tips to get you comfortable with striking up friendships in a foreign land.
Before you arrive at your destination, it is a good idea to seek out a community of people that you will be interested to connect with while you are there. For example, if you love rock climbing, you can post a message on a rock-climbing enthusiast group enquiring about the like-minded hobbyists there. Chances are, they will be more than willing to help you find places to enjoy your hobby, and you will find people who share your interest there. Using social media to find people with similar interests is a great way to make sure you have a common topic to talk about when you meet.
Talk to people in transit
Travelling almost always means hours on the plane, bus, or train. These are great opportunities to strike up a conversation with fellow travellers sitting next to you. Most people will not be averse to sharing details like where they are heading to and what they will be doing there. Little conversations like these can add up and give you valuable ideas on where to go on your next trip. If you’re lucky, they may be headed to the same destination as you, and may be able to offer you assistance while you’re there.
Participate in local events
Wherever you are travelling to, make it a point to experience a local event. This could be a street festival, concert, or art exhibition. These events attract a lot of people, including locals and tourists, and are great places to meet new people. Meeting at an event also gives you something to talk about right off the bat, starting with the shared experience of the event.
Choose hostels or homestays
Most tourists would choose to stay at hotels when enjoying a holiday. However, if you want to meet new people on your travels, an exclusive hotel may not be the best place to do so. Instead, opt for accommodations with more sense of community, like a hostel or homestay. Some lodging options also have community activities and communal areas for people to hang out, making it an excellent avenue for mingling with others.
These tips will give you ideas on where to connect with fellow travellers and locals while you are travelling. However, as with everything you do, it is still best to err on the side of caution. For your health and safety, you would insure yourself in case you need to cover emergency costs, such as air ambulance costs. Some people will go to great lengths to ensure they get the best air ambulance service. In the same way, talking to strangers should be done with precautions.
As some general guidelines, never give out your personal information and don’t do anything that you are not comfortable doing. For accommodation, it is always best to stick to trusted and reputable services, even for homestays and hostels. With the right steps, you can enjoy the benefits of striking up new friendships overseas while keeping yourself safe.