10 Conversation Starters You Can Try When Meeting Other Travellers

10 Conversation Starters You Can Try When Meeting Other Travellers

Feeling gutsy?

Meeting strangers on a trip can be a nerve-wracking ordeal for some people (ahem solo introvert travellers). At some point in our lives, however, initiating a conversation will be more of an essential thing to do than an option. While I’m all for spontaneity a lot of the times, it’s still a good idea to have a few lines and tricks up our sleeves when such a time comes. Here are some of them.

Also read: 5 Basic Do’s & Don’ts of Staying in a Hostel

1. Mind if I sit with you?

My first solo trip abroad was close to falling apart when I decided to fit three countries in a six-day itinerary. But my exhaustion was set aside when I mustered the courage to build a last-minute friendship with a German that began with this question. It’s quite limiting when you first think about it. But once you get an approval, take it as an opportunity to strike up a real conversation.

2. Your ______ looks really interesting.

Who doesn’t like a bit of flattery every now and then? It could be a backpack, choice of food, a unique shirt or any other apparent material possession — giving a compliment immediately sets a positive energy between you and another person. This also establishes both of your common interests that you can talk more about later on.

3. What brings you here?

Asking any “whys” to start a conversation can sound rather demanding. Not only is it a lot more personal than other questions, it also requires the other party more effort to answer. Instead of asking “why did you choose to travel here?”, go for something shorter and easier to digest. It means the exact same thing but appears more convenient to respond to, don’t you think so?

4. How long have you been or will be travelling?

Ditch the typical “where are you from?” and go for something more open-ended (in some ways). His or her origins and other travel information will come naturally once you ask this seemingly basic yet story-inducing query. When you get a hold of an answer, whether it’s for a week or indefinitely, you can throw in additional questions to know more about your fellow traveller.

5. What would you recommend me seeing in your home country?

What I personally like about this question is that it’s personal and benign at the same time. By asking something that’s close to someone’s heart while using mainstream words, you’ll be able to gauge how open or conservative he or she is in terms of conversing with you.

6. What do you plan on doing today?

Allotting at least one free day on your trip opens tons of beautiful possibilities. And usually, they come from showing interest in and being a part of someone else’s itinerary. If you’re lucky enough to get invited, the rest will be history, as others would say.

7. Do you know where the best ________ in town is?

So maybe you’ve already found out what the best restaurant, temple or shopping destination happens to be. But for the sake of making acquaintances or friends (or even lovers), let’s not try to appear as knowledgeable as we really are. Sometimes, simply being a good listener can earn you more memorable encounters than being a big know-it-all.

8. Would you like to join me for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

It’s 2018, any kind of invitation to dine shouldn’t and won’t always be treated as a way of flirting. One of the best ways to break the ice with someone you don’t know that well or at all is to know each other’s appetite. Letting you and your potential new pal simply sit down with food in front of you can open a world of discussions that you would have never imagined.

9. Offer some help

Not everything has to be about plans or one’s travel life. Sometimes, a mere offer to help like lifting someone’s carry-ons, lending a pen while waiting for your turn at the immigration, or holding the door, can spark a connection in the most organic way possible. Of course, it’s entirely up to you how you want that connection to grow.

10. A nice, bright smile

In most situations, flashing a clean smile does more wonders than harm. While almost effortless, the charm and positivity it brings you and your environment are tremendous. When you find it hard to initiate any of the earlier mentioned techniques, smiling is a pretty decent and effective gesture to resort to.

Also read: 10 Acceptable Moments To Talk To Strangers On Your Travels

People say that travelling brings one out of his or her comfort zone. If you ask me, there’s no more powerful way of doing that than starting a conversation with a complete stranger. If you think you’re ready to strike one up on your next trip, remember to give these starters a try!

About Author

Joser Ferreras
Joser Ferreras

Joser is a researcher-turned-writer who likes to consider himself as a “modern-day Spartan” by taking his time and crafting his own adventures while travelling. Born and raised in the province, he has a natural liking for raw experiences and long, long walks on paved roads and rocky trails. Indoors, he's usually seen in front of his laptop, a.k.a. “Kenny”, managing social media pages, writing scripts and articles, or watching videos and reconnecting with friends.

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