Your bags are packed, the hotel is booked, the sightseeing trips are mapped and your guide is bookmarked for all the quirky markets and out-of-the-way art galleries you want to visit while you’re away. But how do you maintain a social life while abroad?
If you’re travelling alone, it’s especially important to find a few buddies along the way. Even if you’re with a group, it’s a great chance to extend your social circle while away from home, and mingling with a few new people will only enhance your experience.
Here are seven tips for how to make new friends on holiday:
How many times have you caught a stranger’s eye and then looked awkwardly away? This is understandable on the bus to work, but while you’re sitting poolside in Fiji, you might as well meet someone’s gaze instead. You might find them meeting yours.
Sign up to activities
You might be staying somewhere offering tours, adventure activities or mixers. Join in! You could find yourself on a walking tour of the backstreets of London, discovering the untold history of the Victorians who lived there.
Strike up a conversation
Are you enjoying that book? Have you been anywhere you’d recommend? Isn’t the room service here great? Try a few ice-breakers – there’s nothing wrong with small talk. You may pick up a great tip about a brilliant restaurant in Amalfi.
Stay in a hostel
Hostels are built for solo travellers – they’re not all for school leavers on their gap year, and some are very comfortable. It’s the easiest way to meet other people in the same boat. You could find a travel buddy for the next leg of your tour to Estonia.
Singles go on holiday too
Whether you’re on a dating website like eHarmony or doing it the old-fashioned way, a holiday is a great place to meet people in a relaxed setting. Plus, it will give you an idea of their taste in travel – it’s no use meeting someone nice only to find they’re a thrill-seeker and you prefer sitting on the beach with a good book.
Travellers love to recommend great places and warn against tourist traps. You can bond over shared experiences of hair-raising food in south-east Asia or incredible scenery in South America.
Discover new things
Whether it’s a local delicacy, an outdoor activity, or dancing before midnight, holidays are a time to strike out and discover new things. You might find someone special dating Brisbane travellers, or that you have a surprising aptitude for rock climbing.
Remember to always be safe while travelling and make sure you do some research about the local area. Let someone know where you’re going if you’re heading off the beaten track. Be mindful of local customs and always carry a map or smartphone, a little cash and a phrasebook. These are important elements to ensure a successful, memorable and happy holiday.