An Introvert’s Guide to Connect While Travelling

Journey to the Top of Europe

Woke Hostel, Arpora, Goa, India
There comes a day in your life when waiting anymore feels like a waste of time. Euro Trip was just that for me. There came a time when I decided to take the plunge all by myself. Sounds like m talking about getting married or some bigger decision in my life? It was big to me. Introvert by birth, in this trip, I was like a panda trying to learn kungfu. But just like in the movie, I started to enjoy every minute of it.
 
Now that I had decided to fly solo, I decided to put myself in self created experiment by not only travelling alone but also making sure that I am surrounded by more and more strangers – instead of cozy hotels, I decided to crash at hostels sharing room with other travelers and I purposely did not carry any internet or phone with me when I was out on roads.
 
How did it feel? On the first day, it felt like I was a self torture trip but as days passed by, I became more comfortable with choosing my own path, deciding my own routes, and dealing with last minute gate changes at airport, finding my way around the cities while taking directions from strangers, and meeting some great people on the way. All in all, the trip changed my opinion about myself. I, quite literally, surprised myself.
Solo travel can sound daunting to a introvert at first, but once you take that leap of faith it is life changing – believe it, as it comes from a fellow introvert. You do not lose your own self, but you become more connected to the world.
 
If reaching out to a stranger and starting a conversation sounds scary to you, don’t worry you are not alone. While travelling solo, this should actually be the least of your worries. There are many solo or group travelers out there who are looking to connect with more people, in which case all you need to do is to be open and everything else will follow through.
 
Here are some of my suggestions on how you can connect with fellow travelers and become a person who is welcoming and at ease even around strangers.
Locul.Uptown Hostel, Bangalore, India

Stay in Hostels

As of now let’s focus on Jungfraujoch (place covered in snow all 12 months in a year). It is a saddle in Bernese Alps which connects Jungfrau and Mönch – two four thousander mountains. This saddle has been accessible to tourists via Jungfrau line, a railway line running from Interlaken and Kleine Scheidegg. This railway line to reach Jungfraujoch is about 9km long and passes through 7km long Eiger and Mönch tunnel. At the elevation of 3,454 metres, Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe. There are two stations within the tunnel which provide amazing views to the glacier world outside through the windows. Train stops for 5 minutes at these stations, so you have enough time to soak everything in.

Ask for Travel Advice

Ask for travel advice from people. Its not that difficult to ask this one question from anyone, and then you can take it from there – Hi, where are you from?
  • You can not only make conversation leading with this question you can continue to know more about the destination you are visiting. Some of the questions which help me make friends on the go and also help me know more about my destination are below:
  • What all have you seen so far here?
  • Any tips for this city?
  • Any hidden spots to get great food?
  • Are there any interesting activities/events happening around?
  • Would you like to explore the place together? (being a solo female traveller, gives you a superpower to be intuitive about safety issues – so ask this question if you feel positive)
Brousaille Wall Brussels, Belgium
Valencia Walking Tour, Spain, Europe

Go for Meetups/Meals with Strangers

I always prefer to go for a walking tour or club crawls or hikes or short trips. These are available in most cities and usually start from a common meeting point or from your hostel itself. This makes you meet with people with similar interest as yours and gives you ample opportunities to connect with them during those 2-3 hours.

Give People a Reason to Talk to You

Best way to connect with people while travelling is to give them a reason to talk to you. If your stomach growls at mere thought of approaching a stranger and starting a conversation, this trick comes in handy as in this case they will approach you with ice breaker. You can use many props and items for initiating this conversation, eg.: an artsy piece of jewelry, a unique backpack, T-shirt with a different caption, a classic book in your hand, a nice camera or some accessories.

 

San Jao Celebration, Siolim, Goa, India
Madrid, Spain

Look Approachable

The key to being interesting while travelling is to be open to conversations and experiences. Would you approach a person for a small talk who looks like he/she doesn’t want to be disturbed? So look like a person who wants to be talked to, in subtle ways. Body language plays a major role here. Do not sit in a corner with your handbag on your lap and engrossed in a book. I think you get the point. Right? Be approachable and open.

Stay Digitally Disconnected For Sometime

Do not use Google maps or translation all the time. Sure its simple and gets you around faster, but it also take away your opportunity to talk to locals and other travelers. On my first solo trip I ditched international phone connection and internet outside my hostel. I never realized even this small disconnection pushed me to get more comfortable not only with strangers who helped me figure out a lot of things but also with myself.
San Jao Celebration, Siolim, Goa, India
I used these tips without even realizing I was doing this while travelling alone. Many people who know me for a long time noticed that I am now more open to new people and more confident while conversing with others. One quite afternoon, while sitting with a book in my hand in my balcony, my mind started to wander on what exactly did I do on my trip to become this person who even I love a lot more, and this list popped up on its own.
 
I hope many of you will find it useful, if you have more tips and tricks to help me engage better with people while travelling, please do share in the comments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *