Meeting new people is often scary. Then throw in the fact that you’re travelling in a new country (possibly solo too) with tons of new sights and sounds to digest and initiating friendships can become even more daunting.
Ask any world traveller and they will tell you that making a friend on tour, is making a friend for life. At Travellers Choice we’ve seen lots of new friendships start and blossom while on tour, so here are our top tips for initiating friendships and making a great first impression when travelling.
Be social, don’t hibernate
Sitting alone in your hotel or hostel room is a big no-no. It may seem safer and less daunting in there but unless you really need the rest and relaxation, we suggest getting out of your room during downtime and socialising. Most hotels or hostels have awesome social areas or bars where like-minded travellers can meet and swap stories from the day. Put yourself out there and talk to other people in your group or fellow travellers about what they’ve seen and experienced that day. Asking for tips and travel suggestions of where to go and what to see are often great ice-breaker questions that can help you initiate conversations.
If a tour has organised an optional group outing, go. These are also great opportunities to make a new friend or two. Chatting to your co-passenger on the bus or train is also a good way to start-up a conversation with just one person and may make it easier for you if you’re shy to talk in front of a group.
Use your social network
Whether travelling alone or in a tour group, use your social network platforms like Facebook to ask your friends and followers for tips or suggestions on the country or city you’ll be visiting. Ask for suggestions of cool places to visit, bars or clubs where you could possibly meet new friends and locals too. Ask if anyone knows a friend or family member living in that city that they can put you in touch with. Having a common connection or starting up a conversation over social media first, might make it easier to initiate a friendship in a foreign country.
Find common ground
Depending on what you may be interested in – be it adventure sports, running, seeing museums and galleries or listening to live music – book yourself onto or join group activities and excursions that are doing what you love to do. Taking some runners for a jog with you or joining the group to watch a local gig is an excellent way of connecting with like-minded travellers who enjoy the same interests.
Remember to always be yourself and enjoy every experience you can when travelling to a new place. Rest-assured that everyone is feeling just as awkward or nervous as you but with time (and a little confidence) you will be able to kick-start friendships that will last a lifetime.