How to Make Friends When You Travel
Planning on going travelling? Considering backpacking solo or taking a gap year? Worried about meeting new people? Wondering how you can improve your chances of making friends? View our top tips on how to avoid being lonely when travelling.
1. Choose The Right Accommodation
Staying in hotels and guest houses might provide a better level of comfort and luxury but one of the best ways to have fun socially is to stay in a hostel. Hostels are a great place to meet other travellers from all over the world and a lot have good facilities e.g. common areas, bars, pools or games rooms. Some hostels organise events, competitions and excursions which are a great way meet other people. On most accommodation booking websites there are also reviews where you can check previous feedback. Some hostels are more social than others so choose carefully.
2. Stay in Dorms
Staying in hostel dorms is a great way to throw yourself in at the deep end and make friends. There are downsides including a lack of privacy and having people who snore at night but this is one of the most socialable places to meet new people. You will likely meet other travellers who will be doing things or going to destinations and you can tag along.
3. Book a Tour
By going on a tour you are guaranteed to travel with other people. There are lots of adventure tours available and also short excursions and day tours in most worldwide destinations. You will meet like-minded people who also want to explore.
4. Be Friendly & Social
If you are open and friendly the chances are you will attract people to you. Don't hide behind your laptop or phone, try and engage people in conversation, ask questions and be interested in other people. The world is a small place and the chances are you will bump into the same people again and again especially in countries like Thailand, Australia and New Zealand where most people travel the same routes.
5. Be Helpful
Being nice and kind to others goes a long way. If you see any other travellers in need of help offer assistance e.g. carrying bags and helping with directions etc. People will be grateful and remember this.
Another simple example is cook food in a kitchen (if your accommodation has shared kitchen facilities). Make more food and offer this to other people. This is a great way to strike up a conversation.
7. Be Flexible
It is always good to have a rough idea of what you want to do and where you want to go, but try to be open to changes in your itinerary. Sometimes you will meet people along the way who might be going somewhere or doing something totally different than you have previously thought. They might invite you to go with them which can completely change your experience.
8. Learn a New Language
Language can be one of the main barriers when travelling abroad especially in a foreign speaking country. Not everyone in the world speaks English and to improve your chances of making friends you might want to book a language course abroad. Even just learning basic words and phrases will help. Language classes can also be a lot of fun, for example if you would like to travel in South America, you could book a Portuguese language course in Brazil or learn Spanish in South America - there are options throughout the world.
9. Hop-on Hop-off Bus Passes
Depending on your destination there is likely to be some kind of bus service connecting the country. Hop-on hop-off bus passes are usually cheaper and more flexible than organised tours and allow you to see new places in your own time and also meet other travellers at the same time. Top rated companies include Oz Experience in Australia, Baz Bus in South Africa, Kiwi Experience and Stray Travel in New Zealand and Bamba Experience in South America. All are flexible and can be booked all year round.
10. Be Confident
It can be quite daunting trying to make friends with people you have never met before but you have to be brave.
11. Don't Sleep
Okay, not sleeping is a bad idea. But the best chances to meet people is to be active at night and in the morning as both times of the day offer good chances to put yourself in a position to meet others or get invited to do things.
12. Join a Structured Experience
13. Work Abroad
Working abroad can be a life changing experience. You will usually get to live in one destination for a period of time and settle. Some companies offer packages which include group flights and accommodation meaning you are guaranteed to make friends.
14. Say Yes to Everything
Saying no closes doors but saying yes opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You never know what your day will be like if you be open to anything! Instead of staying in quiet by yourself you could be going on an adventure, doing a bungee jump, or partying on a pub crawl.
It's the people you meet along the way which will really help you have an unforgettable experience whilst overseas. Hopefully our recommendations will help you meet potential friends for life.