The beautiful thing about travel is the freedom to explore the great unknown any way you’d like – whether with friends, family, or by yourself. While there are numerous pros and cons with either option, making friends abroad will undoubtedly influence the overall outcome of your trip. You might not need to take friends with you on your holiday to make sure you have a great time, but the people you meet over there will greatly enrich your experience.
Travelling solo forces you to break out of your comfort zone and interact with new and interesting people from all around the globe – people you might not have ordinarily mingled with if you had the security blanket of a friend. These are the moments that help us grow as a person and discover who we really are. This may sound slightly corny, but it’s true – it’s the random friends we make while travelling that make the trip.
So, how does one simply ‘make friends’ while on a solo journey of self-discovery? This may seem like a slight contradiction, but hey, who said self-discovery had to be done on your own?
Embrace the hostel lifestyle
Not only are hostels a traveller’s best friend because of their affordability, they also serve as the ultimate social hub. When it comes to making new friends, travel blogger Kate McCulley suggests staying in a hostel dorm for the best chance of striking up conversation. After all, it’s virtually impossible to stay in the same room as another person without the “so where you from?” conversation being struck up. These four simple words can invariably lead to lifelong friendships, valuable local information, or maybe even a couch to crash on when you find yourself in their corner of the world.
As discussed by Dave Weatherall, founder of That Travel Blog, when we struggle to make friends during our travels, this can quickly lead to us feeling homesick. It is for this reason that he suggests connecting with like-minded travellers who are also on-the-go. One such way to meet more of your wanderlust kin, is through Couchsurfing. One serious plus is the free accommodation, but the real benefit comes from staying with locals and meeting some truly incredible hosts and fellow travellers.
Do you know of a way to save money, cut down on your carbon footprint and make friends all at the same time? Samantha King, the founder of Traveling King does, as she discusses the many benefits of ridesharing.
Not only will you be able to share vehicles with strangers to reduce traffic, but you might also find yourself with your new best friend as you make your way through the bustling streets of a foreign city. Win-win.
There are numerous reasons as to why making friends as you travel is a must, but put simply – life is better shared.