Going solo is great. Do your own thing, forge your own path, soak up all of the me-time you want, etc. etc. But just because you start out travelling alone, doesn't mean you need to stay that way. Making new friends is all part and parcel of the solo travel thing, and it doesn't have to be difficult to find them (chances are, they're looking for you too). Check out these tips to help break the ice:
Sit at the bar
You will always meet the most interesting people sitting at the bar vs getting a table for one. Hit up a local pub and scope out who else is flying solo with a drink or two in hand.
Don’t be afraid to do the most tourist-y things
Your best shot at meeting fellow travellers is going to places where travellers go, plain and simple. If there’s a huge tourist attraction around, chances are there will be other people there who are traveling alone as well.
Show off those pearly whites
Your grandma wasn’t lying when she told you a smile can go a long way. It shows that you’re open, friendly and willing to talk, and sometimes it’s the only icebreaker you need when you’re travelling alone.
Bring something fun
Whether it’s a card game or a game on your phone, playing a game is a great way to break the ice with an individual or a group. They’re often a hot commodity and can make you super popular during the quieter moments during your trip. Even something simple like bringing a prop like a sailor’s hat to a boat party can easily make you the centre of attention, in a good way.
Share a room
Staying in a hostel or with a roommate in a hotel is a great way to meet someone new. Chances are you’ll start to make plans together and form a bond quickly.
At first glance someone may not look like the type of person you usually hang out with, but off the bat you have one major thing in common – an interest in travel, and that’s pretty important. Some of the best friendships we’ve made when travelling alone have been with fellow travellers, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised in so many new friendships with people we’d never expected to bond with.
Come prepared for a convo
If a flowing conversation is challenging for you it’s perfectly OK to have routine questions on hand to use when you need them. Try out a few of these generic ones:
Where are you from?
What do you do for work?
Have you been here before?
Are you in school? What are you studying?
Where have you travelled to already?
Where do you wanna go next?
What do you do for fun at home?
The conversation will soon steer away from the mundane, especially after a couple wines…
Delve even deeper
Talking about more personal topics is a great way to bond with people quickly and open yourself up to instant friendships. Whether it’s your most embarrassing moments, your celebrity crush, your love of a cheesy TV show, or your recent breakup, being vulnerable is an attractive quality. Just use your own discretion about how deep and how quickly your secrets start flying.
Even an innocent question about what time it is or directions or things to eat in the area can be great lead-ins to real conversations. You may bond over how lost you both are, and that usually leads to a pretty fun adventure.
Tour it up
It may seem like the obvious answer, but taking a tour for your whole trip or even for a day or two is pretty much a fool-proof way to meet new people. Check this out if you want more information on travelling with a group.