Travelling solo, in whatever guise, used to have a bit of stigma attached to it; it used to be something that you didn’t do unless you were, well, a bit of a loner. Thankfully, that has now changed and more and more of us are discovering the huge benefits of heading off and travelling on our own, with no uncalled for stigma attached.
Solo travel is a fantastic way to spend a little ‘me’ time, without the need to compromise; basically, when you travel alone you get to dedicate your adventure to exactly what you want to see, without having to think about someone else. It’s basically the chance to be totally selfish, which we are all allowed to do from time to time.
Despite that, meeting new people whilst you’re out and about on your solo travels is just as important, because these people are probably like-minded, meaning you can swap travel stories, learn tips, and you may just meet a new life-long friend. You don’t have to spend your entire adventure with your new buddy, but a fleeting social get-together is always a good thing.
Despite that, just how do you manage to meet new people when you’re travelling alone?
Thankfully, it’s quite easy.
Look into organised tours
There are bound to be excursions and organised tours no matter where you are visiting, and this is a great way to meet people who are on the same adventure as you, and probably have the same interests as you. Striking up a new friendship, or even just a conversation for a couple of hours, is a great way to enhance your travel, because everyone has a story of their own, and you never know who you might meet!
It’s good to talk!
The simplest method is just to talk! This sounds so easy but in practice it’s not as simple as it sounds. If you are a little shy about simply striking up a conversation with a stranger, start small; make eye contact, smile, make a comment about the weather – you never know, that person might also be thinking about how they can approach you, and they’ll be relieved you made the first move! Some of the best travel friendships start with a simple “hello”, or “lovely weather”.
Make use of hostels and their facilities
Hostels are full of solo travellers, because a) it’s the cheapest way to stay alone, and b) they are a great place to meet new people. Anyone staying in a hostel is either on holiday or they’re travelling around, basically doing exactly the same thing as you. Head down to the hostel bar in the evening and simply start a conversation, you really do have nothing to lose, and you might find out some handy tips and recommended places to see – travel is also about swapping stories and tips.
Find online forums
Of course, we should always exercise caution with speaking to people online that we don’t know, but if you’re sensible about it then you could find people who are heading out to the same places as you, and you could easily arrange a meet up. This also gives you the added bonus of getting to know them a little before you meet, which takes away some of the awkwardness.
Keep your body language open
And finally, it really is all about body language. Be approachable, and people will, literally, approach you. A smile really does go a long way.