Hints and tips on how to meet people while travelling
If you’re about to go backpacking and travelling for the first time then you’re probably losing a lot of sleep at the thought of making friends while on the road. Questions like “how do I make friends?” and “what if they don’t like me?” are the usual thoughts flying through your head, but let me stop you now – not only will you meet a lot of people while travelling, you’ll make life-long friends too. I can guarantee that, and it’s one of the reasons why backpacking and travelling is such an amazing experience.
I’ve known the shyest girls who have hit the road on their own and come back more confident with a million and one friends, and they’ve all said the same thing; “I was shy at first but I soon realised I had absolutely nothing to be scared about.”
The thing is, you’re not the first person to go backpacking and travelling, nor will you be the last. In fact, millions of people go backpacking and travelling each year, so you’re not short of people to meet!
When you’re on the road you’ll continually meet new people. You’ll meet them in hostels, in bars, on buses and trains, on a tour you’ve just booked. There will even come a time when you’ll want to stop meeting people so you can have some peace and quiet! Honestly, this will happen!
If you’re backpacking and travelling for the first time, then it’s likely you’re going to places such as Australia, New Zealand and Thailand; meeting people in these countries is simple. In fact, it’s actually easier than meeting people at home (there, I’ve said it).
“When you’re on the road you seem to lose your inhibitions a lot more, and you’re willing to chat to anyone and everyone.”
Travellers naturally come together and befriend each other, and you’ve got something in common straightaway; that’s travelling!
Try not to be shy. Introduce yourself to the others in the hostel, ask if anyone is going out and ask if you can tag along. It really is as simple as that.
You’ll find it’s the first two weeks that are the hardest – it takes that amount of time to adjust and build up the courage to speak to strangers on a regular basis. That, and after two weeks you’ll be so bored of your own company that you’ll speak to anyone who walks by!
Hints and tips on how to meet people:
Chat with the other people in your dormitory – this comes naturally. As soon as you walk into a dorm, you’ll say hi anyway. Just build from this. Basically, get chatting!
Hit the bar – there are a number of bars with backpacker nights, and once you’ve got a bit of Dutch courage in you meeting people is easy. Usually there are one or two games going on to help you meet people, but if not spot the person who’s also sitting on their own, go up and introduce yourself. Simples.
Go on a tour or a trek – going on a tour or trek means you’ll be exposed to a bunch of like-minded people. If you’re spending a few days with the group, you’ll get to know them all inside-out. More often than not you’ll continue to travel with a few people after the tour’s over.
Be helpful – share your maps, guidebooks and travel tips. Help carry bags, give swigs of your water, remind everyone to wear sunscreen. A good deed will be remembered and you’ll soon have plenty of people coming up to you.
Go to events that interest you – check out hostel notice boards or the events calendar in a local paper and attend events that encourage mingling. CouchSurfing.com and Meetup.com are particular good websites for this.
Don’t be shy – most travellers are friendly, helpful people who enjoy meeting and hanging out with other travellers.
Buy people a beer once in a while – remember, friendly people make friends, so smile, say hello and offer to buy a beer once in a while.
Phone any contacts you’ve been given – let people who live in the area know when you will be there. You might be able to meet up or they may even invite you for a meal, or even to stay at their place. Even if you don’t meet up, getting some local knowledge is a good thing.
Make the most of email and the internet – keep in contact with other travellers, people you are planning to meet up with, and people back at home. Use the internet to find out about where you are going, if anyone has been there already, or are going to be there when you are there.
Don’t let the language stop you – the best things in life don’t need subtitles. If you’re not hot on the local language then just smile and sign away. Everyone appreciates it when you make an effort.
So there you have it, that’s how to meet people while travelling.
If you’ve got some other hints and tips on how to meet people while travelling then let me know in the comment box below; after all, we’re all here to help each other! Happy travels!