Travellers Australia

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7 Ways to make the most of your Gap Year

Make Friends While Travelling

“How will I make friends?” is one of the main questions that first time travellers will find themselves asking. A lot of people assume that solo travel requires you to be alone most of the time, but this is far from true.The beauty of solo travel is that you are able to be alone as much or as little as you want. Here are a few ways that you can make friends while travelling on your own:

Stay in a Hostel

The social aspect of the hostel lifestyle simply can not be beat. Sharing a room with like minded travellers sets you up for the perfect opportunity to make roomful of new friends! Hostels also offer endless free activities that are specifically designed to bring people together such as BBQ dinners, live music, game nights, yoga classes, and pub crawls. Depending on the hostels location some might even offer free rentals for bikes and surfboards, which is a great way to explore the town and beaches with your new mates.

Go to Backpacker Bars

Bars and backpackers go hand in hand. Many travellers will spend time in local backpacker bars getting cheap food, cold drinks, and enjoying the company of other fellow backpackers. Major travel destination cities will have an array of backpacker bars for you to choose from and some might even be connected to your hostel! 

Start conversation on public transportation

Public transportation allows you to relax during your commute instead of dealing with the stress and road rage that comes with driving. While on your way to your next destination try striking up a conversation with the person next to you. There’s a good chance that they might be heading to the same place and are looking to make friends as well. By the end of the bus, plane, train or ferry ride you could easily have yourself a new travel buddy. 

Ask for contacts

Take the time to announce your plans of traveling and where you will be going. You’d be surprised with how many people you know that have a friend, cousin, or sister twice removed that is living in your destination area. Asking for contacts and people to meet up with is an easy way to expand your contacts list while abroad and possibly land you with a local tour guide to show you around when you first arrive.

Give everyone a chance

It is inevitable that you will meet people from all over the globe when traveling abroad. Most of whom are completely different than your friends back home. By keeping an open mind and giving everyone a chance you open yourself up to so many more opportunities to make friends. The best friendships are the ones that you never saw coming. By reaching out of your comfort zone you’ll find yourself making new friends with unexpected people in unexpected places.

Be Flexible

While you do meet a ton of people while traveling the amount of time you have with these individuals can sometimes be very limited, often just for an evening or a couple of days. However, the great thing about backpacking is that you have the freedom to change your plans at a minute’s notice. Don’t be afraid to alter your original plans and join in on someone else’s if you aren’t ready to go your separate ways just yet. 

Bring a Deck of Cards

A deck of cards is a great resource for making friends and having some friendly competition. Suggesting a drinking game with cards involved or even a non-drinking game is bound to appeal to someone around you. You can teach them a card game that is popular in your home country and they can teach you one from theirs. Before you know it everyone is laughing and having a good time.

Book a Group Tour

Joining a group tour for a few weeks takes all the stress of planning off your plate and will give you more time to enjoy your surroundings. A group tour will typically have around 20 people in it so it’s big enough to where you can meet plenty of people, but small enough to where you don’t feel lost in the crowd. It is incredibly easy to develop a close bond with the people who are on your tour. You’re living in close quarters, attending countless social events, and experiencing all the beauty that your travel destination has to offer. A group tour is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will leave you with friendships that will last a lifetime.

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