For some of us, traveling alone is quite a scary perspective. Spending so much time exclusively in our own company might seem difficult, but the truth is that traveling offers many opportunities for establishing new relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds. In fact, this is perhaps the most valuable aspect of traveling. Here are 7 smart tips on how to break your loneliness when traveling alone.
1. Be open to meeting new people
Nothing will help you more than being open to new experiences. That’s the best way to meet new people. If you’re sharing a train ride with another backpacker, break the ice and ask them about their traveling plans. Even if you’re shy, remember that doing things out of your comfort zone is essential if you want this journey to be eye-opening and really valuable.
2. Stay at hostels
Hostels are great for getting to meet new people. They’re crowded with travelers who share similar interests. Even though the majority of those will become your hostel friends, you might find a real traveling soul mate and continue your journey together.
A buzzing hostel is always better than a lonely room in an elegant hotel – hanging out in the communal areas, you’re simply bound to meet lots of interesting people.
3. Befriend the locals
By hanging out with the locals, you’ll get to appreciate their culture and traditions from the inside – and that’s a perspective every traveler would die for. Moreover, local friends know their way around the place. They’ll give you valuable recommendations and warnings about potential tourist traps.
Don’t be shy and initiate contact with locals yourself. Don’t forget that they’ll be curious about you as well.
4. Join a community
If going to pubs by yourself terrifies you, join a pub crawl. Led by local party animals, pub crawls are excellent for meeting new people. If you’re an avid dancer, have a look online if there’s a local dancing club at your location. Sharing your interests with the locals is a great opportunity for breaking the barrier. Finally, check Meetup for local events that attract people who might have similar interests to yours.
5. Take part in tours
Guided tours or excursions are offered for free in every major city. Joining such a tour, you’ll be spending time with strangers for at least a couple of hours, allowing you to meet great people with whom you could have lunch or dinner later. If a tour is really interesting, don’t forget to tip the guide!
6. Contact friends of your friends
Today, practically everyone is using some kind of social network to connect with other people and it’s more than possible that your friends know someone in your destination. Why not chat to them and suggest they introduce you to some friendly locals? Finding at least one connection will help you to start meeting with the locals – a priceless experience for any traveler.
Radiating a positive attitude is the best way to attract people interested to meet you. A smile can easily lead to a conversation, meeting or friendship. When traveling, it’s definitely worth to smile.
Traveling alone, we can learn how to be on our own, becoming our own best friend. Still, humans are social and meeting new people is usually what makes traveling so exciting. Use the tips above to spice up your travel with new connections and, quite possibly, a few lasting friendships.
About the author
Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and is passionate about travelling around Australia.