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The Backpackers guide to solo travel

Published:
February 9, 2018

Solo Travel

I was terrified to travel alone before my first trip, terrified until I got to the airport. When there was nothing else to think about and it was just happening, people came out of nowhere to talk with me and I made dozens of friends within my first week of solo travel. I knew I made the right decision and never looked back. When you feel fear, remember it’s the indicator you’re about to do something awesome!

Fear

I tried everything to get somebody to go with me on my first trip out of the country. I thought that solo travel was for introverts who enjoyed being alone for long periods of time. I thought I would spend all my time alone in a strange place where I couldn’t even communicate with anyone.I was scared I’d be lonely and I’d get into a situation I couldn’t figure out on my own. I was just flat out scared.

Solo travel isn’t really “solo” travel. Anyone who has done it knows that 90 percent of your time is actually spent with other people. You meet friends EVERYWHERE. Hostels, bars, restaurants, tours, tourist hotspots and even at bus stops. Solo travelers seem to magnetize to each other and with a simple “Do you have any fun plans today?” You both can end up spending entire weeks together and become close friends or sometimes you might even fall in love!

A few ways to meet friends while traveling (All of these I have done successfully)

See a group of english speaking people about your age, buy a 6 pack of beer and set it down on the table introducing yourself and asking if anyone wants a beer.

Say “hello, do you speak english?” to people as you walk down the street or especially at touristy places, after they say “yes”

respond with “”I absolutely love this place, where are you from?” follow up later with “Any fun plans today? I was thinking of going to _____ if you wanted to join.” BOOM a new lifelong friend was just made, you’re welcome.

Walk up to a person who looks like a solo traveler and say absolutely anything. Most solo travelers are great being alone but when someone comes up to them and starts talking it’s a nice feeling.

Hostels

Hostels are the single easiest place to meet other travelers. I’ve spent entire weeks tagging along with friend groups or meeting other solo travelers. Often there will be 4 or 5 solo travelers that create a super solo travelers group and go on adventures every day together. “Where are you from” and “How long are you traveling for?” are the two most common conversation starters. If you feel awkward actually asking to hang out with a group, just let them know your awesome plans and they will likely say “Oh I was wanting to do that too! Do you mind if I tag along?”

Meeting locals is not as easy but I like to meet them either at bars or anywhere people get together really. I’ll hang out with waitresses/ waiters or I’ll start talking with someone at a bus stop and end up staying with them and their family for days.

It’s all about remembering that you will literally never see these people again (unless you want to) so you might as well go up to them and talk with them. I still to this day have to remind myself that very basic fact before going up to a stranger. It’s not the most comfortable thing but it’s worth it.

ADVENTURES & GUIDES

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