Traveling alone is a sensational experience. You can enjoy all the freedom you want, being totally free to decide what to do and when. There’s no need for compromise, and you’re always in charge of the pace and schedule. However, sometimes even the most experienced solo travelers can feel a sense of melancholy (and perhaps even loneliness). A fundamental part of the travel experience is meeting new people, discovering different cultures and sharing adventures with others along the way. Here are some tips for building those important traveler relationships along the way…
1. Leave your shyness at home
Some people are a little timid and wonder if it’s possible to make friends on the go. First of all, it’s definitely doable, but you’re going to have to leave your shyness at home. Take a moment and think about your situation. You’re in a new country, thousands of miles from home. You’re already pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, so what do you have to lose?! Who cares if you make a bad impression! You won’t have anyone to remind you about it once you move on to your next destination if you don’t want to. Perhaps the most important advice we can give you is to just have fun and try not to be shy.
2. Be flexible
Personally, while traveling I have met so many wonderful people. I still hear from many of them, and see them when I get the chance. Some have even become traveling companions for various trips. Most however, are just people with whom I shared an experience. The fact remains that they all helped to make my various trips unique and special. Be flexible! Try to meet others and learn to appreciate their individuality. Let yourself go!
3. Stay in a dorm
Sharing a room with other people allows you to have more opportunities to chat and share your experiences. Everything in the room can be an excuse to start a conversation and make new travel buddies. You can always share travel power adapters as an icebreaker 😉
4. Get involved in hostel activities
Most travelers are already aware that hostels are the perfect place to meet other adventurers. Guess who else knows this: the staff! That’s why hostels are always doing crazy and wonderful activities for its guests. Also, try to spend as long as possible in the public areas of the hostel when you’re not out seeing the city. It’s not uncommon for spontaneous adventures to ignite from a small spark of casual conversation. Get involved! You won’t regret it!
5. Free walks
We can definitely say that most of the major cities in the world have free walking tours on offer. Not only will you have the opportunity to take a free tour and learn about the most important parts of the city you’re in, but it’s the perfect setting to exchange a few words with your fellow curious travelers. Ask questions and get involved. The guides also usually have some awesome tips about where to spend the evening!
6. Meetup afterwards
This tip doesn’t really apply if you’re going on a solitary journey of self-discovery in Kenya. But you’ll be surprised to discover that wherever you go there will almost always be someone from your home country who can point you towards any hangouts or communities of other expats. Try to find out if there are any pubs or restaurants run by your countrymen/countrywomen! It’s more common than you might think…
7. Pub Crawls
Drinking make everyone more friendly 😉 So why not take part in a pub crawl? As well as having the opportunity to spend an entire evening in the company of new travelling acquaintances, you will get to see the city in a different light to the one your daytime adventures will show you. Obviously be sensible! Remember that you’re there to enjoy yourself, make friends and enjoy the city, not to get so wasted that your memories and safety are compromised. Ask the hostel staff for their local tips on the best places to go!
8. Make the most out of our differences
Why not introduce yourselves to someone of a different culture? So many people in countries around the world speak at least broken English. You’ll see the world is not as large and lonely as some people think it is.
9. Use technology
Dating apps put people in contact, with the idea that you never know what could happen from interacting with someone you might never have crossed paths with normally. There are so many apps out there, not just for dating but for just meeting people in general. Why not use those on your travels to try and meet some new people? Be sensible and safe though of course!
10. Remember, you’re not alone
Another piece of advice that I feel it important to pass along (and perhaps the most important bit) is to remind you that there are many people who travel alone or who simple want to share their experience with others. Try not to feel intimidated and enjoy the adventure! You’ll find a lot of people in your position who will be just thrilled to meet you!