Where are the best travel destinations to meet new people? Taking the time to think if your next destination is in line with the travel companions suitable for you is important in order to establish vibrant social life while traveling. Therefore, in addition to applying the *traveling mindset that will bring you most interactions with other people, picking the right travel location will greatly increase chances of success. Each location you choose to travel to, is unique and offers different challenges and opportunities in the process of building a social life, and here are some elements you should have in mind while choosing your next travel destination:
Should you pick a village or a city? The advantages of villages and small towns are considerable in many ways (nature, quiet, prices etc.), however, as far as social life is concerned, cities are usually much better. Firstly, there are more people in cities and many more meeting places to establish the first contact. We have discussed the tools we can use to meet locals while traveling and unfortunately, many of those tools (like coworking, or social sites like coushsurfing.org and meetup.com) are unavailable or very limited in villages and small towns. In addition to that, city folks tend to be more open minded than people in towns which allows you to fit in the crowd. In a village or a town, everyone knows each other, so getting in their circle is more difficult, and locals who form a strong friendship with you will probably get people talking about them (starting a relationship there with the most beautiful girl in the village will also be difficult for the same reason).
Should you go to touristic destinations? Here, the answer is a bit more complicated. On the one hand, many tourists in the same location increase your chances of meeting tourists while traveling. However, touristic places may make the contact with the locals more difficult. Not only that the locals in touristic locations may be a bit weary of the influx of tourists (some people say it happens in Paris), they also regard tourists as a source of revenue (especially in developing countries). I saw the difference in the mindset of locals when while traveling in touristic Vietnam and Cambodia in comparison to non-touristic towns in Myanmar where people invite you to food in their homes and help out without accepting money just because they are interested in your company and are not used to look at you as a potential revenue source or as a disturbance to their lifestyle.
Are you picking a place that has the character or mindset that fits in to your reality? Let’s make it simple: try defining the social characteristic of a place in few words. In example, if you are interested in checking out Tobago, an amazing Caribbean island, after research you will see that most of the tourists who go there are actually couples in honeymoon. In addition to that, most of the locals there are people who cater for those tourists. This is a lethal combination that should be avoided for a solo traveler looking for company.
Is there a language barrier? If you know the local lingo it will greatly improve your chances of meeting and interacting with locals. One more thing that might offset the disadvantage of not speaking the local language will be if most locals speak your language well. So making the research if the locals are speaking your language before traveling, or taking the time to learn the destination language in my language school (blunt publicity, forgive me) will increase your chances of interaction.
In conclusion, making the “social” research on your destination is well worth doing. However, don’t forget that there are always exceptions in life. Your next best friends might be locals in an honeymoon from a small village that don’t speak your language, so if you keep calm and smile good things will surely come.