Have you ever gone travelling solo? Conde Nast Traveler reports that the hashtag #solotravel had over 3.9 million posts on Instagram earlier this year. And while travelling solo is more than a social media moment, this number does show that it’s becoming more and more commonplace. And rightly so, given that it is one of the most fulfilling experiences you can reward yourself with. Not only do you get to discover more about yourself, but you also have complete control over your itinerary, such as which sites to see, tours to take, and food to eat.
However, there’s a crucial element that all explorers should think about as they embark on their solo travels — the people they’ll bond with. Simply put, we are social creatures who need meaningful connections to survive. It might be a cliché, but it is indeed true that no man (or woman!) is an island. And who knows, the friendships you’ll make along the way might even be your favourite part of the holiday. That said, we’ve rounded up our top tips on how to make friends wherever your feet and passport take you.
Do a Partial Digital Detox
In How to Avoid “Travel Stress” … the Next Time!, Lisa shares how she realised that her smartphone was one of her most significant sources of travel stress. This is a great insight, as it reminds solo explorers to focus on the world around them instead of the palm-sized screen in their pockets. Despite being a vital tool for travellers visiting a foreign country, your phone should only be used when necessary, so that you can truly immerse yourself in your getaway.
Moreover, you’ll appear more approachable and friendly when you aren’t busy using your phone. To comfortably enjoy your time off, take your eyes off your phone, and make eye contact with the people around you. Don’t forget that a smile goes a long away, and is a quick and easy method for naturally connecting with others. Ultimately, a great trip isn’t measured by the number of pictures taken, but by the total of memories you made.
Stay in a Hostel
Aside from allocating more money for your holiday budget, staying in a hostel is one of the easiest ways to make connections on your holiday. From your dorm room to the common areas, a hostel stay will help you gain friends who are on a similar journey as yours.
After all, Forbes points out that contrary to popular belief, hostels accommodate visitors from all walks of life. So, there’s a great chance you’ll be surrounded by solo travellers with fascinating stories in any hostel you choose. And don’t worry if bunk beds aren’t your cup of tea — you’ll probably be out and about most of the time with your new mates, anyway!
Learn the Language
Travellers often forget that a language barrier can serve as a massive roadblock in their excursions, especially if English isn’t their first language. Thankfully, all is not lost, as having even just a basic understanding of the language or knowing useful phrases can help you conquer these challenges.
And here’s where your smartphone comes in handy — Insider has a list of 7 travels apps to help you break down barriers and charm the locals as well. Indeed, knowing a local phrase or two in Asian countries like Thailand, Korea, and Japan, which Expat Bets explains are home to some of the friendliest people in the world, can be a bonus when you’re looking to make new friends. This way, you’ll feel more at ease to explore what our beautiful world has to offer with new people with this same passion.
Wherever you decide to study for your adventure, it’s important to remember that solo travels are mostly about empowering yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone. And if you’re suffering from a bad case of wanderlust, be sure to explore the Joy Della Vita blog’s helpful guides and reviews.