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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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