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Travel intimidations

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1. Posted by Blueskies2 (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

Hey everyone,
I've just been looking for travel companions for a europe trip in august and then asked myself "Why can't I just do this by myself?" The reason is because I tried it once, lasted ten days, got lonely and quite ill, and came to the UK after only doing Belgium and Amsterdam. When I was in youth hostels I didn't reeally talk to anyone and when i did it was just small talk and then goodnight, leaving me feeling lonely and unforfilled. When seeing the sites I felt the same because I couldn't share the experience with anyone:(
The question I have for you guys is this. Everyone seems to say "don't worry you'll meet people out there", I'm quite a confident and outgoing person..but how can you make friends just like that? When I was travelling I barely spoke to one new person.
If anyone can give me any advice or anything that'd be reallly appreciated.

John

2. Posted by Lewis86 (Budding Member 12 posts) 8y

Hey man i know your worries. Ive been through it all before i travelled.

When i travelled around Europe it was a similar experience as i found so many people where there for so many reasons and all going in different directions.

Now when i travelled around Australia i made some friends for life. It simpler as the people you meet are either going the exact same way you are (i.e up the east coast) or they are doing the opposite to you therefore you have stuff to talk about as they have been to places and can reccomend places in the destinations you are headed and vise versa.
Im a shy and quiet person and i made so many friends and barely spent a day alone out there in 3 months!
Also in Asia i didnt try to meet anyone, but in a country like Thailand its pretty easy to tell who else are backpackers so people on more than 1 occasion obviously seeing i was also a single tourist asked to sit with me in a restuarant.
So dont worry you are not alone feeling like that and in my experience from all the places ive been brussels and amsterdam where not that greatest for meeting people.

But i say go for it and do your Europe trip! Travelling alone is the best way to go in my opinion :)

3. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 8y

Hmmmm . . . Well here are my general thoughts: I like being able to do my own thing so traveling alone/being alone was great for me. I had enough interaction with others to fulfill the need to be with others. Part of that just depends on your personality. That said my experiences varied by city and hostel. Tips I might give would be this: most definitely stay in hostels and I find that staying in approx. 6 bedded gave me the most interaction with others. There was something about the larger dorm rooms that breeds more distance. If making small talk with someone, ask "What are you up to tonight/tomorrow?" If it interests you ask "Would it be all right if I tagged along with you?" I met a guy who was doing a big solo Europe trek and he told me that he would just tag along with people until they told him to get Go out on Pub Crawls or Free City Tours - there's bound to be other's like you - talk to them If you see someone else alone who's just checked into the hostel invite them to grab something to eat with you. Lastly, if I had to suggest a place to start where you would definitely meet people, I'd say the Yellow Hostel in Rome. I met SO many people while I was there. Hang out on the patio outside of the bar and just start up some conversations Best of luck!

4. Posted by dr.pepper (Travel Guru 316 posts) 8y

Good question, Blueskies2. I think for me a lot of it comes down to what type of places you stay at. Some hostels are really great for meeting people, while others seem to be a bit less social. I think Wonkerer's idea of going for a 6-bed dorm is a great idea. When I was in Madrid a few years ago, I was in a 2-person room, and for the first week there was no one else in my room. That first week really sucked. Once I got a roommate, it made life a lot more fun!

Cheers,
Eric

ps. Oh, and a shameless plug for Travellerspoint... If you book a hostel or hotel through TP's new accommodation booking system, you can actually see who else is staying there from Travellerspoint (that is, if they've set it to show to the public). That could be a great way to meet some people!

5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 8y

Quoting Lewis86

Hey man i know your worries. Ive been through it all before i travelled.

When i travelled around Europe it was a similar experience as i found so many people where there for so many reasons and all going in different directions.

Now when i travelled around Australia i made some friends for life. It simpler as the people you meet are either going the exact same way you are (i.e up the east coast) or they are doing the opposite to you therefore you have stuff to talk about as they have been to places and can reccomend places in the destinations you are headed and vise versa.
Im a shy and quiet person and i made so many friends and barely spent a day alone out there in 3 months!
Also in Asia i didnt try to meet anyone, but in a country like Thailand its pretty easy to tell who else are backpackers so people on more than 1 occasion obviously seeing i was also a single tourist asked to sit with me in a restuarant.
So dont worry you are not alone feeling like that and in my experience from all the places ive been brussels and amsterdam where not that greatest for meeting people.

But i say go for it and do your Europe trip! Travelling alone is the best way to go in my opinion :)

Could it be that you're just going to the wrong places? I agree with Lewis that Oz and SE Asia are the friendliest places I've been to. I'm also shy, and meeting people has always been difficult for me. On a recent trip to Vietnam, it was so easy for me to find others to talk with - that's why I'm returning next year.

6. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member 274 posts) 8y

I tend to stay in hostels with a good rating (which might get booked out in advance), hang around in the hostel bars, or you could even go to bars in other hostels, I met a guy that did this. If doing this perhaps bring a book to read with you, or sit at the bar and have a chat to the bartender.

Pub crawls/Walking tours are also a great way if you want to get out there - check noticeboards at hostels. If a hostel looks like a well-organised place, ask reception if theres anything going on tonight, or what you can do to meet a few people etc.

In places like SE Asia where it's mostly budget hotels, check out the touristy bars - as said at least here you have the advantage of knowing who the travellers are!

In terms of the intimidating part - I think it's always best to be prepared to travel alone, and not expect to meet anyone at a particular place. The reality is you probably will meet some people, but at least if you don't you'll still have some plans and see some cool sights, rather than expecting to meet people then getting worried if you don't.

7. Posted by Blueskies2 (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

Hey guys,
cheers for the advice. I'm still in two minds on whether to go or not. But all of your advice has really improved my optimismm on travelling alone. Really appreciate it.
I think it must just be a lot about being able to throw yourself in there. I can see it going one of two ways: either I'll manage to meet loads of people and become a more confident person or fail and become even more shy. Hmm I guess it's all up to taking the risk.

Keep it coming

Jx

8. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 8y

When I start off on a journey a few years ago I was surround with party types in West Europe. I look back on my photos now and wish I had not been quite so social then!

Then, a few years later I headed off on an overland. I did it solo. I met a few people in Europe, but really avoided the party scene. Then in East europe found myself pining away looking for people, but was faced with a 18-22 year olds out for beers and clubs and me the aging 33 year old looking for interesting places and so on.

As I broke into the middle east I had some serious fun travelling alone. I met some great locals and the border crossings by myself were little charges of adrenaline that I look back on in pride. When I hit India, a chap crossed a border with me. I have to say I was very disappointed with company then. I wanted the rush all to myself. Which was diluted by the support of another.

Hmmm. So what am I saying? Well both with company and with out, travel go's through different stages. Writing a blog helps. You can look back and see your mood change depending on the place, company etc,.

Small talk in hostels does my nut in I have to say. But if you want company in going to sights, then it's a thing to do. If you over hear people going to a place the next day. Just cut in, say you've just been reading about the place and ask to join. Again, from my own experience this works best with people you think you would like.

If it's any help Pick and oldie. They usually don't mind company, have great knowledge on the subject and if all else fails and they are nutters; it gives you something to talk about with others back in the hostel.

Ah, another key person in helping you socialize is the hostel receptionist. Ask them if they know anyone going to a particular site tomorrow etc. Or if there are any group tours to place run by the hostel.

Hang on in there. It's an up and down life, travel can be the same, make the best out of both solo and group travel. Don't forget to ask here if anyone will be in East Europe when you will be there too!!

9. Posted by amelia.n (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Yes I sometimes feel like I should wear a sign with my name, where I'm from and where I'm going to avoid that little small talk! I really think it is luck of the draw who you meet but that said even though I'm shy I find it important to just make the effort and talk to people. Don't give up! And try and stay places with some atmosphere!

10. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 8y

It can be difficult to strike a balance between seeing a famous site feeling lonely and seeing it feeling hungover.

My past experiences are such that I find that I sort of feel left out, but then when I hook up with a group of people I often go a bit overboard.