Make Friends Travelling Alone

Bored Travelling Alone? 7 Tips to Make Friends With the Locals

How do you make friends travelling alone?

People often ask me this question whenever I tell them about my solo travels.

So, I thought why not ask the best person about this?

Yes, YOU!

If you are connected with me on Instagram, you would have seen the Insta stories I floated asking you ‘How to make friends with the locals’

I must say, every single time, I’m overwhelmed with the tremendous response I get from you.

And so, I picked up some amazing, creative, funny and unique responses from you all, added mine and collated it in the form of a blog post which you are reading right now.

So, without any further delay, here are the top 7 tricks to make friends with the locals while travelling solo. (You’ll be surprised with how effective no. 5 is)

7 Tips to Make Friends While Travelling Alone:

While travelling solo, you make friends either with fellow travelers or with the locals from the places you visit.

While its easier to make friends with other travellers (as you both share similar interests) it does require special skills to develop a bonding with the locals.

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Chapter 13: Reunion, Much Awaited. 😍. . . Shot on Google Pixel 2 XL. 📱 Aug 2019. Chinnar, Kerala, India. . . Unaware of the countless days I had spent imagining our reunion and the troubles I had to go through to reach here, he just looked at me from the corner of his eyes, puckered his lips slightly and then took a long drag on his Beedi. . . A little disappointed, I showed him the pics from my previous visit and kept scrolling each pic gently, so that he would recognize too. . . When our selfie appeared, he looked at me, matched it with the pic on my screen, and finally uttered those 3 magical words, in his typical accent- ‘’Howu are yew?’’😃 . . ”First class!”- I was quick to respond.😅 . . I had rehearsed this conversation so many times in my head, it was anything but a Deja Vu! . . His smile broadened until the dimple appeared.☺️ . . He took a final drag on his beedi and crushed the butt beneath his chappal. . . He then pulled a chair, carefully picked up his uniform vesting on it and hanged it on the window pane. . . I wanted to run my fingers along the buttons of that uniform. . . Who knows untold stories might be waiting behind the fabric to catch on to my fingers…😍 . . . Stay tuned. 🔜 Like Travel Stories? Follow👉 @solotravelerpravin for more. . . #chinnar #kerala #solotrip #goansolotraveller #solotravelerpravin #goatonortheast #googlepixel #mobilephotographer #igtraveller #indiatravel #indiantravelblogger #shotonpixel #mobilephotographyindia #snapseedindia #googlepixel2xl #natgeoyourshot #yourshotphotographer #tripotocommunity #lonelyplanetindia #outlooktraveller #thrillophilia #indiashutterbugs #hilltations.of.india #cloudfarm_munnar #munnar_vibes #tripkerala #kerala.vibes #indiabeats #travelbugindia #teampixel . . @sonybbcearth @natgeoindia @natgeoimagecollection @lonelyplanetindia @thrillophilia @outlooktraveller @official_photographers_hub @madebygoogle @hillstations.of.india @cloudfarm_munnar @munnar_vibes @kerala.tourism @tripkerala @keralaphotos @kerala.360 @kerala.vibes @tripkerala @teampixelin @tripotocommunity

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My solo trips to Kerala helped me a lot in this regard and thus sharing the same tips with you below:

1. While travelling alone, YOU have to make the first move:

Over the course of my solo trips, I have learnt that if you are traveling alone to Kerala and wish to know more about this place, it’s traditions and cuisines, you need to make friends with the locals.

While it might be a little difficult to mingle with any stranger, here are a few proven ice-breakers (includes my personal experiences too).

2. Hide your watch and ask them time?

A few ways to break the ice while travelling solo in public transports are asking fellow passengers, especially the locals, about the time left to reach the last stop.

While you may get varied timings from them or at times overly-accurate timings like “ektaalis minute lagenge”… It still helps break the ice.

3. Be contextual

Asking fellow passengers to open a seemingly tight window of a Govt. bus and joking about how muscular they are, if at all they manage to open it, still helps.

Unsuccessful attempts involve more passengers in this ‘task’ of opening the window and naturally helps break the ice.

You can use similar tricks depending on the situation like asking a passerby to help you with an address, asking them to click your pics, playing a funny YouTube video in the bus and (deliberately) tilting the screen to allow others to watch it too.

This surely removes the initial awkwardness with strangers.

Making friends while travelling

4. Compliments always help:

One thing that is bound to work, almost 100% of the time, is when you praise the city infront of the locals.

Hearing praises from a tourist is so joyous to them, they’ll tell you everything about the places nearby, which Google’s grandpa would never ever imagine exists!

5. The Most Underrated Tip: SMILE

I can’t stress enough the importance of a big bright smile while trying to communicate with the locals.

If you are travelling to remote places, chances are the locals there might not have seen these many tourists and would really feel awkward (Yes! more than you) to communicate with a stranger.

Interacting with them with a constant smile will ease the tension and help get rid of the initial awkwardness.

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Chapter 11: Here's One Reason I Keep Coming Back to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary😍 . . Shot on Google Pixel 2 XL.📱 Aug 2019. . . . I had visited this sanctuary in 2016, which is when I had first met Shankar- one of the oldest forest guides in the sanctuary. He knew these forests like the back of his hand. . . I was hoping that using the same skills with which his grandfather might have led the British range officers to the mysteries of this land, he would lead me too, to some blinding light.😇 . . As usual, I didn’t have any bookings but I was lucky I had the pics from my previous visit from 4 years ago to show at the reception. . . I feared they wouldn't recognize me and refuse to allot a bed as I'd arrived after the closing hours. . . To my surprise, the reception lady recognized me instantly and with utter joy, disbelief and a bright smile, offered me a handful of home-made chocolates.😋 . . I turned around, covered my face with my left palm and swallowed the whole bunch of it. . . I wanted to prolong the sweetness as long as I could. I licked my palm rather shamelessly, relishing every crumb of chocolate left on it, and with traces of chocolate all over my lips, smiled back…this time not as 'bright' as hers.😄😋🤐🍫 . . . Curious to know more about my experiences in Kerala? 😀 🔜 Follow @solotravelerpravin for more.😀✌ . . . #chinnar #kerala #solotrip #goansolotraveller #solotravelerpravin #goatonortheast #googlepixel #mobilephotographer #igtraveller #indiatravel #indiantravelblogger #shotonpixel #mobilephotographyindia #snapseedindia #googlepixel2xl #natgeoyourshot #yourshotphotographer #tripotocommunity #lonelyplanetindia #outlooktraveller #thrillophilia #indiashutterbugs ##hillstationsofindia #cloudfarm_munnar #munnar_vibes #tripkerala #keralavibes #indiabeats #travelbugindia #teampixel . . @sonybbcearth @natgeotravellerindia @natgeoimagecollection @lonelyplanetindia @thrillophilia @outlooktraveller @official_photographers_hub @madebygoogle @hillstations.of.india @cloudfarm_munnar @munnar_vibes @kerala.tourism @tripkerala @keralaphotos @kerala.vibes @tripkerala @teampixelin @tripotocommunity

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6. What is travel without food!

If you manage to crack this right, you’ll be revealed doors to some amazing local food eateries in the town.

All you need to do is pretend that you are hungry and craving for some local food while interacting with them. But this is not as simple as it sounds.

You need to first master the above 5 tricks and win the trust of locals and only then they’ll tell you about the hidden food joints.

If you are lucky, they may even invite you over for dinner. (Like how I got lucky in Kolhapur, India. See below)

My personal experience of making friends while travelling solo:

Once I was travelling in the general compartment of Konkan Kanya Express (Konkan railway). It was a 12-hour journey from Goa to Mumbai and I didn’t have a confirmed seat.

After around 3 hours, all of sudden this co-passenger, who was also sitting on the floor, took out his phone, opened Ludo game and placed it before me.


We hadn’t even interacted during this whole time despite sitting right next to each other.

I looked at him, gave a node, and started playing.

We had so much fun playing Ludo and hearing each other’s stories, I wasn’t even tired despite not having a proper seat during the entire journey.

We ended up exchanging no.s and are still in touch 🙂

So, these were some practical tips that have helped me make friends with the locals while travelling.

I hope it’ll help you too while travelling alone.

Over the years of travelling solo, I’ve had some amazing and unforgettable experiences. In case you wish to read about it, head over to this page.

You can also connect with me on Facebook or Instagram in case you have any travel-related queries.

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