One of the best parts of traveling the world is the people you meet along the way. New people can make the journey better than the destination.
When you’re traveling with a friend, this can be slightly harder to do. You’ve spent months planning the trip together, and it can feel a bit rude to go off and try and meet new people. They could also be a bit more introverted and find it difficult to warm to new people.
To help, here are a couple of ways both of you can get around these issues and meet the brilliant new people that will make you smile every time you think back on the trip.
Keep your hostel room door open
Every good traveler knows if you want to make friends on your journey you need to stay in a hostel. They house all kinds of people, pushing them together and encouraging them to get social. Hostels are a universally known way of breaking down barriers of awkwardness and meeting people on the same journey as you.
When you’re traveling with a mate you can meet new people in a hostel by making your room the go-to for fun and socializing. Turn your room into the party room, with an open-door policy for everyone to come in and play some games, listen to music and generally have a good time after a long day of exploring or before a big night out.
In quieter moments, card games are a fun way of breaking the ice and getting the whole room involved. Think back to your first week of college and get everyone together for some classic games like Rummy, Cheat or Craps. If you’re curious about the rules of Craps, you can read more.
From partying to chilling out, bring the potential of new friendships straight to your door.
Make use of apps
Apps are now a completely normalized way for people to meet each other. They’re used every day in normal life to find friends, dates and hobby partners, so why not let an app help you and your mate find the same abroad.
Before you board the plane, train or boat, do some research into the best apps for travelers and create a profile that makes it clear you and your friend are looking to meet new people during your short stay. You’re probably going to feel a lot more comfortable and much safer using this method with a friend anyway.
Meeting someone you’ve only spoken to over an app can be a scary experience, especially when you’re in a new place. So it helps to have a trusted face by your side to warn off any shady behavior. Alternatively, it’s a way for both of you to find new people to do things with should you want to split up for the day or can’t decide what activities to try.
Sign up for classes or volunteer
Taking a class or signing up for a volunteering project with a charity is a great way to meet like-minded people while you’re traveling. You’re taking a bit of a gamble on the people in your hostel or over an app, so why not make sure you’re talking to people with at least one common interest.
When you volunteer or join a group with a mate, it gives you some safety to lean on as you try and integrate into a group. As you work on the project or learn a new skill you’ll naturally bond with the people you’re doing it with. It can feel like you’ve known them for ages, the sense of accomplishment brings you together.
You should also attend local events, where you’ll be introduced to likeminded people in a more exciting atmosphere. A benefit of having your mate by your side is that anyone they get to know separately is someone they can introduce you to down the line.
Bond with local people
You shouldn’t look to just make friends with other travelers. Some of the best friendships you can build while in a new place are with the people local to it. They can show you and your friend the true culture of a city and the best sights a guidebook could never know about.
Apps like Couchsurfing have made it easier than ever to find a place to stay while you’re traveling, and are full local people who want to open their homes up to new people and new experiences. Like using apps to meet people, this is safer to do in a pair.
Take this opportunity to learn about the people you’re staying with. What are their lives like? Go to restaurants they recommend with them and explore the places they know better than anyone else. The key to this is to talk to everyone local you come across. Who knows, your waiter could become the best friend you make on a trip. The same principles apply whether you’re traveling with a mate or alone. Be open, be yourself and step out of your comfort zones. You’ll have new traveling friends in no time. Make yourself socially available and don’t be afraid to take risks.