Think about why you travel. For many, a big part is to learn about other cultures, and to share that experience with other people. The act of travel should be interactive and communal – and meeting people along the way is an integral part of this. And while it’s one thing to exchange pleasantries with your waiter or other hotel guests, it’s even better to forge real friendships. But it can be scary enough to meet strangers in our day-to-day lives. How do you go about it while exploring an unfamiliar destination?

Experienced travelers—like these professional travel bloggers—reassure us that it’s easy to make friends in foreign lands. Naturally, you need to be open to talking to new people (yikes! ?), but it also helps to put yourself in situations where you’re likely to meet others with similar interests. Consider these recommendations, and get ready for new relationships to blossom.

  1. Make connections before your trip

Start by asking friends of yours to put you in touch with their friends living in the destination you’re travelling to, or reach out to the people you follow on social media who are living there to see if they want to meet with you for a meal. Once at your destination, be open-minded and social by interacting with people at your hotel, signing up to group activities and going to local pop-up events.

Join Facebook groups of expats and attend some of the meeting they organise. The easiest way though is to be curious and start a conversation with a stranger while having a meal in a local restaurant or in local transport.

Meeting friends with common interests is easy when you belong to organizations. I recommend connecting with chapters, meet-ups or other organizations before traveling for tips, insider information and making friends.

The very easiest way to make friends is to post on Facebook that you’re going to _________. Invariably someone you know is there or knows someone there, and you’ve got a dining buddy / tour guide / new friend before you know it. And you’ll meet their friends too.

  1. Go where other travelers go

Staying in hostels is a great way to meet people, but the best way to make friends while travelling is to be open, honest, kind and talkative. Basically – just go and speak to everyone!

Be open and settle in at the bar. Even as a luxury travel blogger, I constantly make friends. It helps that I spend a lot of time at the bar for my Best Sips podcast. There is always someone to talk to while sipping a cocktail!

Take a river cruise. The ships are small enough so that you can form deeper connections with other travelers onboard during meal times, at the bar, while touring and during general day-to-day activities.

  1. Take a local tour

To make friends while traveling, you can book a group tour doing something exciting. Things like zip-lining, jungle tours, even food tours can bond people together with camaraderie.  Of course, there is the nightlife, but booking tours is fun and easy.

TripAdvisor tip: From culinary Segway tours to exploring a city’s haunted spots at night, you can find tours for any interest and book them right on TripAdvisor.

One of the best ways to make friends while traveling is to join an organized activity like a walking tour.  I find that people are always willing to chat, and if you hit it off, you can easily transition into another outing like a meal or drinks when the tour is over.  Plus, you’ll already have one shared experience under your belt to bond over!

Group walking tours are another great way to meet people. Usually, the guide doesn’t talk the entire time giving you the opportunity to chat with others while you walk.

  1. Participate in activities that share a common interest

To make friends while travelling I like to do trips, excursions and fun activities. Not only does it get me out of my comfort zone but also creates ample opportunity to meet new people!

I love to do fitness activities while I’m traveling like a yoga class or finding a local running group.  It’s a great way to meet like-minded people!

The best way to meet new people is to participate in activities. Whether it’s simply going to the hotel bar on a busy night or taking a tour with a group, the number one thing you can do is get out of the hotel room!

  1. Don’t be shy

Put yourself out there! Talk to and get to know the people around you. Whether it be another family at your dining table on a cruise ship or fellow travellers on a plane or train. Ask tips, discuss favourite sites and invite people to join you. Make a habit of talking with someone new in every place and see what develops.

Have fun! Do new things, activities you’ve always wanted to try, other people will be in the same boat! Do things which put a smile on your face, if people see you having fun they will want a piece of it too! Don’t be afraid to ask questions either, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked for directions or for a recommendation from someone and ended up spending time with new people making new friends.

Making friends can be quite simple if you are prepared to engage in talking and communicating with your fellow travelers that you meet along the way. Listening to their experiences and sharing your travels is a good way to find a common way to engage. Be sensitive to the cultures of the people you meet and share emails and Facebook to continue the friendship developed whilst traveling. 

Part of the joy of traveling is meeting new people, especially locals from the area. I always put myself out there sitting at the bar area or shared tables. Talking to people at the breakfast bar and finding an open seat with a group of people. Or easy enough to do is to find an empty seat in any venue and ask if you can share that with someone, start up a conversation about why or what you are doing at that particular destination.

  1. Yes, you can talk to strangers

Be willing and open to chat with strangers. Be kind – it could be helping someone with their luggage overhead on the plane to help point someone in the right direction if they have no map or phone to help. The smallest of tasks could open you up to new friends.

There’s no taboo on talking to strangers! A deck of cards is also a great ice breaker!

  1. Bring your kids along

Kids are the ultimate icebreaker! They have no boundaries or judgment and their openness means we find the locals welcoming us, and them, with open arms in a way that never happened when we were travelling solo.

TripAdvisor tip: We hear dogs are also great icebreakers ?.