6 Tips for Making Friends Abroad
Think about your favorite travel memory from a past vacation.
Perfect. Now think about what made it memorable. Chances are that it was at least as much about the person or people you were with as it was about the physical place itself.
The best sites in the world can only be made better with the right people, just as the trickiest misadventures can suddenly become funny with the perfect sidekick. That’s why making friends throughout your travels is just as important as planning the perfect itinerary or packing the suitable clothing.
But making friends along the way isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve put together this list to help you connect with others in new places. Give them a try, and you’re all but guaranteed to have some unforgettable experiences.
Seek Friends of Friends
If you’re heading somewhere new and want to meet up with locals, the first step is to tell everyone you know. You never know who might have some long lost friends in your destination of choice from a semester spent on exchange, or whose cousin decided to move halfway around the world to get away from it all. You may not know someone at your travel destination, but you probably know someone who knows someone.
Traveling by yourself doesn’t mean that you won’t get to share your adventures with others—in fact, it often means the total opposite. Traveling alone encourages you to connect with others, whether it’s the local bartender or another solo traveler staying in the same place as you.
Stay in Hostels
Maybe it’s the shared dorm accommodations, or maybe it’s the events put on by the staff. Whatever it is, hostels make it easy to connect with other travelers. This is the perfect way to find adventure companions or to get tips on other nearby destinations. And no, not all hostels are dirty or party-central—do your research, and you just might be surprised.
To make friends, you have to be friendly to everyone you meet! That means putting yourself out there and taking time to connect with the people that you meet. Ask questions and listen—that’s often all there is to turning a stranger into a friend. You shouldn’t have to fake it too hard, as the people you meet abroad will often have fascinating stories to share.
You can find your life partner online…and you can find travel companions, too! Whether you connect with locals by way of a couch surfing site or find a friend on a Facebook page geared towards your destination of choice, the internet is the perfect place to meet like-minded people around the world. One caveat: don’t forget to use your internet safety smarts.
Travel With a Group
Whether you book a tour as part of your trip or as your entire trip, traveling with a group means that you’ll have the opportunity to meet other people with practically all the work done for you. You already share a love of travel and an interest in the destination that you’re in—now find out what else you share in common with your newfound travel buddies!
Magee Walker was a late bloomer to the snowboard scene, but thankfully discovered the joys of the sport after moving to Vancouver and spending weekends in Whistler. She’s now lucky enough to call Whistler her full-time home and spends her days conquering the mountain, by foot in the summer and by snowboard boot in the winter.