I am an awkward duck.
I’m that person who bumps their head on everything, trips over their own feet and fidgets excessively with my hair in front of strangers. I stumble over my words and talk really fast when I’m nervous, and sometimes, unfortunately, my voice goes high pitch.
Awkward duck indeed.
So how does an awkward duck make friends?
Well dear traveller.. Accept that you are going to have to talk unless you want to be alone the entire trip.
It’s a tough love lesson I learnt the hard way.
Here are some tips on how to meet people when you travel solo:
1. Stay in dorms at hostels – Preferably 5-6 bed one because that will make it, um, more intimate to make friends. When you’re in a dorm room with strangers they’re bound to say hi eventually giving you an opportunity to say hi back and then Vola! The ice has been broken.
2. Be friendly and open – I have a natural “sad” look sometimes or what we now call the “resting bitch face” so it was important that I was extra friendly when meeting people. Being friendly and open makes people comfortable and it really does build relationships because they are bound to want to make friends as well.
3. Go on a tour – most hostels have bike tours or walking tours so sign up and take advantage!
4. Take a class – Cooking, fitness – it’s a great way to meet someone. Ask the person beside you for help and that will open up a window of conversation!
5. Take the train or bus – On a night train to Budapest I was on edge because everyone told me how sketchy Eastern Europe was so I was protective of my luggage but when I got to my cart it was just me and a girl from Budapest who was the nicest human ever. She told me all the secret things to do in Budapest!
6. Get social – Start a blog and announce where you are going and meet some people! I made a status about being in Montreal and a guy I met 2 years prior for maybe 20 minutes messaged me and ended up taking me all around Montreal to the bars, showed me where to eat and really make the trip special!
7. Join a Facebook group – I joined a group called Girl vs. Globe which is a community of woman who travel the world. If you’re going somewhere or have a question just ask!
8. Ask questions – Can’t read the menu? Ask. Don’t know how to get somewhere? Ask. Want a photo of you and a pretty building? Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because in my experience, people are more than willing to help.
9. Say yes! – While being a hermit might be appealing, staying in your room uploading photos to Facebook isn’t going to be memorable, so if someone invites you somewhere say yes!
10. Make the move – Dundundun.. People are probably just as shy as you are so don’t be afraid to ask if someone want’s to go somewhere with you! Just make sure to have small talk first or else you’ll look creepy
How have you make friends while travelling? Any tips for awkward people? Share you tips in the comments below!