Smile, say hi,
and see the world with new eyes.
It may seem daunting (and perhaps even scary) to walk up to and meet new people, but we urge you to gather the confidence anyway. You don’t need to be a social butterfly; sometimes all it takes is a warm smile and some friendly chit-chat about the weather.
Not sure how to go about it? Here are some tips on how to mingle with the locals.
Meet New People, Glimpse into New Cultures
There’s no better way to experience a new country and culture than with a local by your side. After all, they know all the secrets of the mystical land you’re about to discover. (Most importantly, they where all the good food is!)
#1 Rent an Apartment or Room
20 years ago, the idea of “booking” someone else’s home to crash in would sound ridiculous and extremely dangerous. But in the recent years, this landscape has evolved remarkably. While most of our parents are still adverse to it, non-hotel accommodation networks like Couchsurfing and Airbnb have blown up with the younger crowd.
This system also opens a world of opportunities for making new friends! If you’re in a small group and only renting a room or two, even better. Most hosts are very welcoming and friendly, and are more than willing to recommend some restaurants, city highlights, and more.
The Author’s Insider Story:
“My partner and I travelled to the South Islands of New Zealand last October, and relied on Airbnb for most of our self-drive trip. We rented a room from a lovely family in Dunedin, and it was one of our best travel experiences yet. That day, we went on an off-shore fishing expedition from the Moeraki Wharf, and when we returned, I was running a fever. Realising we were staying in that night because I was unwell, the host couple boiled vegetable soup for us, and even helped to prepare our freshly caught fish for dinner! Feasting on Blue Cod, listening to their local stories, and warming up by the fireplace… I was immensely touched by their hospitality, and can’t wait to visit them again next year.”
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#2 Share Tables at Restaurants or Hitch a Ride
Just pretend you’re the hawker center: When you’re chiong-ing for Nasi Lemak during lunch break, you wouldn’t think twice about sharing a table, right? Same thing. If you find yourself struggling to find a seat at that hipster eatery, it’s the perfect opportunity to make new friends!
If the country you’re in also has a carpooling/private car hire culture, it’s a bonus! For instance, in Bangkok, and it is relatively safe and easy for tourists to get around via Uber. Save money, and gain a friend!
#3 Attend Conventions and Festivals
For it to be a promising friendship—or at least move past pleasantries about the weather—you need to have some common interests. The best place to find like-minded pals is at niche events and gatherings! If you enjoy anime and manga, go for a comic con. If you like music festivals, go for Coachella.
It’s easier to find topics to strike up conversations—everyone loves talking about things they enjoy.
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#4 Literally Just Say ‘Hi’
At the end of the day, the best way to make new friends is to just go up to them, and say ‘hi’! If you’re lost, ask for directions. Slip in something about must-try local highlights while you’re at it. While on public transport, smile and greet the passenger next to you. Maybe he’ll tell remind you when it’s your stop to get off!
In the rare event that the person snubs or ignores you, don’t be discouraged! It’s normal. From our experience, most people will respond positively, and will surprise you with their kindness.
So what are you waiting for? The world awaits!
Disclaimer: Making new friends is great, but do not forget to be careful. Do your research and avoid dark alleys and other potentially dangerous districts and streets. Always keep an eye on your valuables. If you’re heading to a bar, watch your drinks. Stay vigilant, and do not hesitate to ask for help if you are in danger or feel threatened.
Check out Totoro Theme Park, Super Nintendo World, and The 2020 Olympics, THE BUCKET LIST: Travel Inspiration For Your First Solo Trip, and THE BUCKET LIST: 12 Heart-stopping Activities That Every Grad Trip Must Have.
Ready to embark on your adventure?
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