Whether you are shy or outgoing taking a trip by yourself or even with friends is the best way to come out of your shell and get to know people from all over the world, share a beer and have some of the best nights you will ever experience. There are a number of ways you can meet new people. Travellers like to talk to other travellers, it’s a known fact. I will go through some of the ways that I have made friends and activities I took part in to give me the best memories I could have.
- Stay in a Hostel – I can’t stress this enough, as I explained in my guide on ‘How to Find the Right Hostel’. This is the best place to meet people who are doing exactly the same thing you are, you will meet first time travellers and experienced travellers who can offer you plenty of hints and tips that can be sometimes essential if you are inexperienced. Sleeping in dorms and sharing the day to day routine of waking up and getting ready is the perfect way to start, dorms can be mixed or both male and female only it doesn’t matter as long as your comfortable. This will mean daily interaction and conversation on plans for the day and can lead to an instant friend to spend time with and explore. Common areas and hostel bars are again a great way to get talking to people, coming in after a long day walking around town drinking a cold beer and sharing your day with someone is perfect. You end up telling someone about your day helping them with something to do and vice versa. From that beer the night can go anywhere.
- Take Part in Hostel Activities – If a hostel has any activities going on get yourself involved in. These can be a variety of things, nearly all hostels will offer a free walking tour of the city to help you get your bearings and you will often find these to be hugely popular among guests. Any activities like quiz or movie nights allow you to relax, save a bit on your travel budget and spend some time interacting and getting to know other guests. My favourite one is the events that hostels plan in the bar, this usually is a pub crawl of some kind that will either meet in the bar or at reception. You will get taken 4 or 5 of the best bars in the city where you will have discounted drinks and finish in a club with a new group of friends having the best time!
- Independent Pub Crawls – As well as what the hostel has to offer you can go on various pub crawls that most cities will offer. You can research these either on the Internet, word of mouth or most hostels will offer their own suggestions. It will be similar to what you get with a hostel pub crawl except you will meet at a landmark then be taken to a number of bars and finish in a club. Again some of these pub crawls can offer the best way to relax, have a drink and get to know someone. You will save some money on drinks and entry so it won’t burn a big hole in the wallet and I have been on some with over 300 people on them so without a doubt get involved!
- Organised Tours – Another one that can be arranged through the hostel or independently is tours and excursions. These can range from a cruise, trip to a museum or to a specific landmark and if its something you are interested in you will find other people who will share these with you. These tours can be good especially for individuals as it gets you out in with a group of people and instantly allows conversation.
- Just Say Hello – My favourite out of the lot, just say hello to someone and take it from there, It’s the perfect way to make friends and make a connection with someone. This can be done in a bar or just sat in the local park, locals will always speak to travellers and offer any help or advice if you are looking for it. Sometimes if you are by yourself its just great to have a conversation with someone and learn about where you are staying.
Its entirely up to you how you do this, you may not even want to but I hope this has opened your mind even the slightest into meeting new people on your travels. You can literally strike up a conversation anywhere and get to know someone. I find myself most comfortable in bars to be honest but wherever you are at your most comfortable just give it a go and trust me you will make some truly wonderful connections.
I have build up a number of friends all over the world that I know if I wanted to pay them a visit I can just let them know.