Traveling solo? You don’t have to go it alone, especially if you learn about these 3 exciting ways to make pals on your journey.
Traveling by yourself doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time alone. In fact, solo travel can actually be one of the best ways to make new friends. But how can you connect with other people across the world, especially when you’re so far out of your comfort zone? It isn’t so hard, especially if you master these 3 ways to foster friendships as you travel.
Play Some Games with Potential Pals
It won’t be hard to meet people while you travel. Those who are traversing foreign lands tend to flock together, as they’re going through a similar experience and it feels good to share the trials and tribulations of life on the road. Likewise, finding locals who are open to a conversation is never difficult. You’re an interesting anomaly in their world, and they’ll want to talk with you.
Once you do meet your people, you can connect with them in a number of ways, and one of the most pleasant of these is with games. Playing allows you to loosen up a bit as you partake in a structured activity where you have a common goal to achieve. A bit of friendly competition can spark mutual understanding, trust, and respect, while participating in a fun pastime lets laughter into your life.
It’s a good idea to choose a game which everyone will know, like bingo. This fun and fast-paced game is sure to leave everyone in stitches, cementing friendships together and providing hours of entertainment. Before you try your hand at this one, make sure you learn a little bit about bingo’s fascinating history around the world. That way, you’ll be well-prepared to tweak your game to fit the bingo style of whichever country your new friends hail from—and chances are, their version could differ a bit from yours.
However, this is part of the fun with any game, and it will actually help you out quite a bit. Trivial differences offer unique and interesting discussion points, often sparking conversation and helping to break some of the cultural barriers which may come up when trying to make friends in a foreign land.
Bring People Together with a Shared Meal
As many of us know, food brings cultures together and this is a sentiment widely reflected across the world. There’s nothing like gathering around the table together as a family, or welcoming a new neighbor with a homecooked meal.
Nothing brings people together quite like a homecooked meal—what will you serve up to your potential pals?
Food is an expression of who we are, our culture, heritage, and history all displayed prominently on a plate. Once you go on the road, food becomes even more important. Offering food to the traveler is more than a gesture of hospitality, it’s the ultimate welcome package. It’s a sign of trust, safety, and security.
Not only that, but food is a necessity. We all need it, and cooking one meal for a lot of people is easier than cooking many meals for a lot of people—so it makes sense that travelers would share this activity. Breaking bread together is basically the triple-whammy of making new friends: it lets you try new things, it feeds your body, and it feeds your soul.
If you’re in a hostel, you’ll have access to a kitchen. If you don’t, locals likely have kitchens in their homes which they’ll let you use—especially if they get something out of it (your grandmother’s prize-winning blue-ribbon chicken pot pie, perhaps?). Barring that, there are all sorts of ways you can get creative with your cooking, sans kitchen.
If you don’t have access to a real kitchen, follow these easy hacks for cooking in your hotel room without the normal utensils necessary for a meal.
You could arrange a date wherein you cook for everyone, or you could arrange a pot-luck style meal where everyone brings a dish specific to their culture or country of origin. The second one will be easier on you, and it will take some of the stress out of cooking for everyone because you won’t be in the spotlight if your pot pie doesn’t turn out quite like grandma used to make it.
If you’re the kind of person who thrives under pressure, read some tips on how to cook for a crowd. It’s probably best to make large pots and set up a buffet-style meal so that the whole affair is easier and uses less plates, forks, etc. Hopefully, someone will offer to do the dishes for you. But if that doesn’t happen, you want cleanup to be quick and easy.
Book Tours and Excursion Packages Together
Adventuring with others is one of the best ways to make friends. No matter where you go, there are things to do, places to see, public transportation to navigate, and experiences to hop on board with. All these things can take time, effort, and money. Heading out with a friend allows you to forge friendships on a strong base of shared experiences, and it often eliminates some of the stress of going it alone.
Booking a tour or taking a day trip with someone new is a great way to turn an acquaintance into a lifelong friend.
Rather than fostering dependence on other people, doing tours with new friends might bring you out of your shell and encourage you to do things you might not have the confidence to do alone. Furthermore, it’s often cheaper to book tours and excursions as a group than as a solo traveler—making this a real win-win situation for everyone.
That being said, make sure your new friends actually share your interests before booking a tour package with them. You wouldn’t want to get stuck doing something you find incredibly boring, and you definitely won’t make friends with someone while doing an activity which makes them miserable.
Talk to people beforehand, find out what their interests are, and then suggest tours and group packages which fit in with what the both of you have in common. This won’t be too difficult. If they are also traveling, they likely have places in mind that they want to visit. And if they’re local, they probably want to show off their homeland, and they’ll definitely know some sweet spots you won’t find out about in a guide book. As long as you keep an open mind and respect everyone’s wishes, you’ll be making magical memories in no time at all.
Now that you know how to make friends as you travel, you’re ready to head out into the world. Sharing a meal, taking a tour, or playing a game are all perfect ways to connect with others and make friendships that will last a lifetime. If you’re ready to hit the road, take these travel tips with you for a successful journey.