This post may contain compensated links. Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.        

With my friend Ashin Panyin, a monk I met during my 2009 trip to Burma

It’s good to talk!

Whether you’re travelling alone or with a group of friends, one of the main points of travel is to meet new people. When you’re off globe-trotting, you’re opening up your social circle endlessly, and meeting local people and becoming firm friends is one of the most valuable parts of seeing the world; just as precious as the experiences and sights you see.

Despite that, it can be difficult to get past culture barriers, language barriers, logistical barriers, and even shyness in some cases, but it can be done!

Here are a few tips.

Embrace why you are travelling

If you’re a shy person, or even if you just suddenly experience a mild attack of the nerves, remember the reason you are travelling. You don’t have to burst into a conversation about the meaning of life, or some other deep and meaningful chat, instead you can simply make a general comment about the weather, and see where it goes from there! Most people are just as shy as you when it comes to starting a conversation, and are probably waiting for you to make the first move. Simply be friendly, approachable, and smile.

Avoid contentious conversations

With unrest in certain parts of the world, it’s always a good idea to avoid certain topics of conversation, mainly anything politically sensitive, religion, and opinions on what is happening in certain areas. If you know someone well after a while it’s easy to talk about these things, but when you’re relative strangers, avoid it!

Think outside of the box

It’s not only a case of just speaking to people, because there are targeted ways you can make sure you make a few local buddies along the way.  The best way to explore and learn about the place you’re visiting is through the eyes and experiences of a person who lives there.

Consider group excursions

You don’t have to join the full on touristy excursions if you don’t want to, there are many companies who offer off the beaten track, bespoke tours to more rural areas, and these are great ways to meet not only like-minded travellers, but also locals. Be open to learning about their ways of life and their area and you will be on the perfect track.

Think about a home-stay break

Again, you need to be careful which companies you use for this, but there are many home-stay travel breaks you can take advantage of, which mean you stay in a local person’s house, living their way of life, and really getting to know your host family. What better way to meet people and get a true taste of where you’re visiting?

Your greatest travel experiences will always come through meeting new people, and whether that is a group of like-minded travellers you meet up with somewhere along the length of your journey, or whether it is local people in the places you’re visiting, your experiences will be enhanced and more memorable as a result.

Recent Posts
  • Amanda Kendle

    Great tips and yes I totally love meeting locals when I travel – one of the most important parts of travelling, I reckon! Homestays are great – I homestayed all over Russia and that was really interesting (mostly in a positive way ..!!!)

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Start typing and press Enter to search