As a digital nomad or a short term solo traveler, the ability to meet new people while traveling will have a great affect on your happiness. Although getting to know locals might be preferable if you are a digital nomad who practices slow travel, meeting tourists is also something you shouldn’t miss out on since travelers in general are awesome people! In some places, especially if you don’t know the local language, your only real chance of making friends might be other travelers, digital nomads, ex-pats, and those travellers in the vacationing mindset. So, it’s important to first figure out the profile of the people you’re looking to meet based on age, gender, and character in order to build the best social life mix while on the move.
Here are some of the best meeting points and activities where you can meet tourists:
- Hostels. Picking the right hostel is really important, as they’re great for meeting fellow travellers. Does it have a lobby, or a place for people to connect? If it doesn’t create the basic conditions for an encounter or provide a fun place where people can start talking, it’s not going to happen. A hostel is a great common ground for starting conversations and interacting, and even more so if you’re staying in dorms. When you share a room, by definition you have to talk (it’s not polite otherwise). And they’re cheaper.
- Location. The nature of the place you are staying in is also important. Staying alone in a romantic Greek island where only couples go to might be challenging for meeting tourists, while going to fun cities that have many solo travellers will probably prove to be easier.
- Do tours. Tourists are into exploration. If you stay by yourself (even if you can do it cheaper), take a tour if your aim is to meet people. It creates interaction between participants, and is a great way of meeting people.
- Use the internet. Use travelling forums to see who is where and how to contact them. Couchsurfing is a great way to meet locals or get hosted, but you can also use it to meet fellow travellers on the road. Meet up for coffee or a beer. And if you rent a place where you are, it’s a good option to become a host on Couchsurfing and other such sites as a great way to meet tourists on your extended stay.
- Tourist hangouts. Find the places that create the right atmosphere for speaking to new people. There are some, though not that many. You’ll need spots where it’s quite natural to talk, interact, and make connections.
- Be proactive. In regular life, we respect people’s private space. Usually, you wouldn’t talk to people out of the blue. But while on the move, something has to change; be less shy, change your attitude, and identify win-win situations where the other person is also looking for interaction. Identify good opportunities and go for it. Don’t be pushy and aggressive, but you can afford to be less concerned about private space in comparison to back home.
You’ll need a changed mindset in combination with the execution of these tools in order to extend your social cycle with many other tourists. Some prior preparation is needed too – looking up places to stay, finding the online sites, picking out the right tours, etc. Above all, tourists are really fun, they’re open-minded and are there to explore. So sometimes, befriending them is the best option.