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Saturday, 20 August 2011

How to Make Friends While Traveling Alone - Page 2

Written by Jessica Festa
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The morning of my flight I was extremely nervous. My palms were sweaty as I tried to act calm and collected in front of my family, like I had everything under control. The thought of eating breakfast made my stomach turn to sludge and my backpack felt like it weighed 1,000 pounds, even after testing it on the scale ten times.

However, once I stepped off of the airplane into London Heathrow Airport, I felt all of my anxiety quickly transform into excitement. Instead of concentrating on being alone, I began to visualize the kind of adventure I wanted to have exploring a country I had never before experienced. And, as soon as my positive attitude surfaced, so did travel buddies. While grabbing my backpack off the carousel and swinging it over my shoulder, I noticed an attractive guy who looked about my age with a similar luggage situation. We smiled at each other as he approached me and asked me if I, too, was backpacking Europe. As it turned out, he was traveling alone, too. From there, we went for dinner and drinks and exchanged contact information, discussing future plans to travel through Germany, Prague, and Vienna together. Day one, and I had already made my first friend.

From there, I discovered that making friends while traveling alone is one of the easiest goals to accomplish. As long as you have a positive attitude and keep an open and friendly demeanor, you can form wonderful friendships with people throughout your travels. Here are some of the best ways I found to make friends while traveling alone.

Stay in hostels

HostelWhile many people may shudder at the word “hostel” and picture a seedy, run down crack house, this is absolutely not the case. In fact, after backpacking myriad countries and staying in dozens of different hostels, I stayed at one in my home city because I loved them so much. While you may not get a private bathroom and the room may not always be as quiet as you like, hostels offer travelers a social accommodation experience. First of all, you are sharing a room with other travelers who are also exploring a foreign land and looking for adventure. These types of people are usually open and looking to meet other travelers to share stories and experiences with. Moreover, many hostels offer social spaces and activities, such as common rooms with games, on premise bars and clubs, and organized pub-crawls. If you are traveling alone, I would recommend looking for these types of amenities when choosing a hostel, as these are great ways to meet other travelers and make friends. 

Do the free walking tours

Many cities, especially in Europe, offer free walking tours that are not only educational, but also great ways to meet other backpackers. When I backpacked Europe for the summer I did about five of the free tours, and on every single one of them I met other travelers with whom I ended up sightseeing and exploring the nightlife.. The companies that organize them also usually host nightly pub- crawls. Because of this, a lot of the people you meet on the walking tour during the day end up being your drinking buddies later on that night.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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