Traveling on your own has lots of perks. You decide when to take your vacation, where to go, and how long to be away. Each day, everything is up to you... from the time you get up in the morning to the time you to go to bed. Everything you see and do is up to you. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
But, there can be a downside to the independence of solo travel… the aloneness. But, traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be isolated from others. There are many ways to meet and interact with people while traveling. There are even opportunities to make new friendships that may last beyond the time limitations of one vacation. Some folks end up planning future vacations with people they meet while solo traveling. Of course, it's important to always remain conscious of your safety while traveling solo and not to go off alone with someone you do not know.
Here are a few tips for staying social while traveling solo.
Be friendly. Try to maintain a positive and friendly attitude while traveling. Make eye contact and say “hello,” “good morning,” and “good night” to people you meet. Strike up conversations with folks, like restaurant staff, shop owners, other customers, someone standing next to you in a line, etc. If another restaurant patron is dining alone, share some small talk and, if the two of you get along, you may want to dine together. No matter how well a conversation goes, however, do not go alone to a nonpublic place with someone you don't know.
Be inquisitive. Asking questions is a great ice breaker when it comes to starting a conversation with someone you don’t know. However, being curious is very different from being nosey. Be genuine in your interest and keep topics general and not controversial. Ask things of fellow tourists like “where are you from?” or “have you been here before?” Ask local residents questions like “What’s your favorite thing about living here?” or “Could please you suggest a good restaurant?” The more questions you ask the more chance you’ll have to find common ground and connect with people.
Take a guided tour. Most historical and tourist sites offer guided tours. So do most museums and parks. Depending on the size of the site or group, there are usually plenty of opportunities to converse as you walk from spot to spot or during breaks in the action.
Wear a conversation starter. It’s a small, small world. If you wear a shirt or baseball cap representing your favorite sports team, school, activity, or charity, it is more than likely you’ll come across someone over the course of your travels who relates in some way to what you’re wearing. A common knowledge or interest is a great way to connect with someone else.
Vacation with a tour group. Traveling on your own but within a tour group provides a blend of independence and companionship. If you select a group that’s tailored toward specific interests, then you can be pretty sure other people on the tour will be at least somewhat compatible with you. If you want to be alone, you have the option to do things on your own. But you also have the option of taking part in group activities. Members of a group tour often become quite close after spending time dining and touring together.