Maybe you’re on some sort of road to self-discovery or making a point to try and accomplish things completely on your own, that doesn't mean you have to completely isolate yourself and lose all hope for making friends as you travel. It can be easy to just lay low and do everything by yourself, but we all know travelling is lonely enough so when you need to make a friend its good to know how to go about it. There will always be that awkward encounter where no matter how hard you try the conversation isn't going anywhere, but travel is all about learning to be yourself without caring what others think so you can’t let that get you down. These lines have been tried and tested by our fellow travellers here so you can rest assured that they will not let you down next time you are awkwardly trying to find someone to hit the club with at your hostel.
One of the easiest ways to strike up a conversation is to compliment someone on something like their hair or what they are wearing and ask them about it. People love to talk about themselves and when you show genuine interest in something about them they will usually get the conversation flowing for you.
Ask For the Wifi Password
Okay, this one is probably on last resort side where you start walking over to them and forget what you were going to say but can’t stop now because they've already seen you so you have to say something. Travellers are always looking for wifi so just a simple question can ignite the spark for a long-term friendship.
This one is good for any type of person if it’s a local, a fellow traveller, or an employee somewhere you can always ask for advice on where to eat, what to do, etc.
“Did We Just Match On Tinder”
If you are feeling like going for the shock factor or trying to make someone laugh try saying something outrageous and seeing what happens, you might just get a date out of it…or a really uncomfortable awkward silence but hey at least you can say you tried.
“Are You Travelling Alone”
There is no doubt that it is a lot easier to approach someone who is alone. This works great for someone who isn't super confident about approaching a stranger. Worst case scenario; they have zero interest in talking to you and things get really awkward BUT it's just the two of you so no one is there to witness the encounter. Best case scenario; you make a lifelong friend and travel buddy!
“What Are You Guys Up To”
This one is good because if you go up to people just standing there asking them what they're up to it forces them to actually think about what they’ve done and what they are going to do causing a smooth transition into casual conversation.
“Are You Local”
This can also double as a compliment because travellers love to think they look like they know what they are doing and can blend in. If you’re on the street asking someone this you can quickly transition into basic advice questions and go from there.
“Have You Heard About [insert event or place unique to destination]”
Maybe there's a concert, event, or a specific place in that destination while you are there, once you start talking about it you can ease into figuring out what their plans are and joining in.
Ask For A Photo
Only do this if you are near something worth taking a photo in front of as it could be quite awkward to ask for a picture in the hostel kitchen. After they take your photo you can ask if they want theirs taken and then the conversation will flow! If you want to be cheeky take a photo of them on your phone and ask to send it to them over Facebook or text.
Ask Someone To Hold Something
If you really have no idea what to say and are choosing not to listen to this articles’ advice then just go up to someone and ask them to hold something or watch something (nothing valuable) while you go to the bathroom. This instils a trust with each other making you seem vulnerable to the other person feels comfortable talking to you.
Sometimes just a simple “hey” or “hello” is all you need to strike up a convo. Were all in the same boat when travelling and people are generally good so there is no need to be self-conscious or nervous when approaching new people. The more you do it the easier it will become so get out there and start breaking the ice because chances are they are just as nervous as you are.
By Sylvia Spanos