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Making Friends while Traveling

Life is best enjoyed with like-minded individuals, more so traveling.

But if you'd have to go solo, you can always make friends along your way. Be brave, smart and friendly. Here are suggestions from Cultureight Travel.

  1. If the place is totally new, hit the web and find travel web sites specializing on that place. Ensure legitimacy and veracity of the site, though. Participate in forums and find out who could be willing to tour you around. Or better yet, think of family and friends who've been there and ask for friends they would have willing to take you in - or at least give you some piece of advice about the place you're visiting.
  2. Stick to medium-sized inns and hostels. This way, you get to know even the concierge and the people who work there. Ask them about places to go, activities to try. They would probably be partners with tour operators, tour guides who could show you around. Or if you would like a more personal experience of a place, ask them to show you around. Other guests who would hear you may even go with you.
  3. When eating out, choose cafes and restaurants that offer communal seating. Be on the look out for solo diners who appear warm and welcoming. If no one notices you, be the one to start the conversation. Goal is just to meet someone new and have a pleasant conversation with them.
  4. If you are a professional, you may want to check the local organization in the place where you are visiting. This way, you not only get to enjoy the place, you also get to compare and learn more about your profession.
  5. Tap into your hobby to meet new friends? Are you into running? Are you good at playing chess? Look for clubs and groups whom you can safely connect with during traveling.
  6. Pay attention to bulletin boards of museums, consulates and other government institutions. These are definitely guaranteed ways to meet interesting people.
  7. Don't have time to volunteer at home? You can 'do good' at your destination and I promise it will 'do good' for you in return.
  8. Take an educational course in the country you are exploring. Enroll in at least one week-long class. This insures that, you have people to interact with for that length of time. Add to it the bonus of learning. And, if luck's with you, you might even be invited to meet their family.
  9. If you are invited to someone's home and would like to offer a small gift make sure that your offering is culturally correct.
  10. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're at an onsen (hot spring bath) in Japan or hamamm (spa) in Morocco ask the other women in the changing room about proper decorum. I've started more great conversations by asking for help than one can possibly imagine.
  11. Visit the local university. Academic bulletin boards are a tremendous source of cultural happenings. Program content is eclectic and the participants generally very welcoming.

You can definitely enjoy a new place even you go solo if you are smart, cautious and friendly enough. Enjoy!

Resource: Evelyn Hannon or Twitter under the username journeywoman.

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