HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WHILE TRAVELLING9 min read

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HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WHILE TRAVELLING

You would be surprised by the amount of people who decide not to travel solo out of fear they won’t meet anyone and somehow be pointed and laughed at as a loner. Firstly let me just say that does not happen as travellers are the most inclusive people you will meet.

OUT OF ALL OF THE THINGS I WORRY ABOUT WHILE TRAVELLING SOLO THIS IS NO LONGER ONE OF THEM

It sounds embarrassing to openly tell someone because it exposures a tiny bit of vulnerability but it’s what a lot of us think about. Regardless of who is happy to admit it, it can put off even the best of us off.

IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK

From personal experience I’ve never had an issue meeting people I get along with. I would go as far as saying I usually meet my best friends in the first few days on the road and from there its plain sailing.

As I travel more and more I have begun to appreciate my own time which means I am able to choose who I spend time with – If I have done a bit of travelling with you then you’ve passed the test.

David Simpson and friends at Pub Crawl Koh Tao, Thailand. How to make friends while travelling

How to make friends when travelling

There are a multitude of options when it comes to meeting new people, the thought of which can be quiet daunting (that’s why youre here) but the reality is far from it!

HOSTEL

The first thing I do when looking at destinations is choosing the right hostel. I prefer small hostels as they tend to have a better vibe. Here people generally get to know everyone else and activities are done as a group making it virtually impossible not to meet anyone.

HOSTEL DORMS

If you are concerned about not meeting anyone and decide to stay in a hotel then you are already at a disadvantage. Out of pure luck I have nearly always meet my buddys in the dorms I was put into. I was even put into an all female dorm once and I ended up travelling with 3 girls for the next 3 months.

HOSTEL COMMUNAL AREAS

Hostels have communal areas or chill areas exactly so people can meet and have a chat. So the next time you see someone siting in the common area they are likely there for the sole reason to meet someone, so get chatting.

HOSTEL TOURS

I always make sure the hostel I am staying at has an abundance of tours and activities that I can join. Doing tours with other people in your hostel is a sure fire way to meet new people. All you need to do is just spark up a little small talk and let it go from there.

David Simpson and friends at Melbourne, Australia. How to make friends while travelling

How to make friends when travelling

ACTIVITIES
WALKING TOURS

Whether a public tour or better yet a private hostel one you are more than likely going to get talking to someone else. Look for someone on their own and break the ice. Remember they are in the same boat and more than likely looking for someone to talk to as well.

TOUR GROUPS

Tour groups with a set itinerary is probably the most popular option for those are dipping their toe into the world of solo travel. I done this in New Zealand for several reasons and the bond you create with your group is incredible, I wouldn’t have changed it.

BREAKING THE ICE
SAYING HELLO

I know chatting to someone new can be daunting but it really isn’t. Sometimes a simple hello is all that is required. You have to remember that everyone else is in the same boat and is probably having the same headache.

MAKE YOUR INTERESTS KNOWN

When talking to someone try and get into the conversion of your interest and hobbies and see if you have anything in common.

ASK THEM A QUESTION

For a conversation to work it needs to be a 2-way thing. Talking about your trip and asking for some tips is a great starting point as generally backpackers love to help. However, don’t dwell too long on this but be sure and ask them about how amazing their trip is, after all, everyone loves to talk about themselves! Listen attentively and jump on anything you like the sound of and in no time,  you will be having a full blown conversation.

David Simpson and friends at full moon party at Koh Phanghan, Thailand. How to make friends while travelling

How to make friends when travelling

HAVING ONE FRIEND MAKES MEETING MORE MUCH EASIER

I usually find once I meet someone, it’s then easier to meet more. I always try to include other solo travellers when I’m part of a group, as I understand what it’s like. It’s also much easier for me to break the ice than it is for them. They will be hugely appreciative of it.

I’ll never forget my buddy John Tuff who I met in NZ tell me I was one of the most inclusive people he’d met on the road, especially to those travelling on their own. It was never something I was aware of, just something that was part of travelling and he was the same. But it was always nice for it to be recognised that I’m not a dick 100% of the time.

  TIPS:
  • Take part in all sorts of activities as soon as you arrive.
  • Just a simple hello might be enough.
  • If you see another traveller on their own, invite them to join you.

APPS
COUCHSURFING

This is an app that was originally developed to find free accommodation for people travelling the world. It has also doubled up as an app to meet new people around the world. There is also a ‘meet up’ feature which is good and connects groups of solo travellers in a specific town or city.

SOCIAL MEDIA

I have a small but close knitted following as I tend to interact quite a bit when I’m on the road. As my travels have so far taken me to almost every country there is a good chance of having a follower all around the world. So don’t be shy to hit up someone who lives in at your next destination. At worst they might say no!

MEET UP APPS

There are many other apps that are great for meeting up with locals or other travellers. Travel Buddy, ePenPal and a host of dating apps are all great options. Generally they all have a good record of being safe but do tell someone of your plans and whereabouts before going to meet strangers.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Please remember that it’s never as hard as you might imagine. Other travellers tend to be some of the most open and friendliest people you’ll ever meet and within no time you will have the pick of the bunch! Leading you to wonder why did you worry in the first place!

SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
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Question Time

  • Did you find these tips useful?
  • How do you meet friends when travelling?

Let me know in the comments below . . .

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