When travelling alone it can be tricky to strike up a conversation with strangers. Use one of these five top conversation starters for solo travellers to easily get your gab on.
One: When eating out, try to sit at the bar or a communal table. Ask the person beside you if they are a local. If they are a fellow traveller it gives you something in common. If they are, in fact, local, you can ask them if they have tried the restaurant before, and what they would recommend you look at in their home town.
Two: Ask someone to take your photo. This is an easy, non-invasive way to connect with someone when you’re out and about. They will clearly be able to see that you are on your own, and if they wish to strike up a conversation they can. If not, you’ve got a photo of yourself beside an important monument/world’s largest ball of string to send back home, and you haven’t lost anything for trying.
Three: It sometimes pays to keep it simple. If you know you are with fellow travellers, just sit down and say ‘Hi, my name is…’. Be mindful that not all travellers will want to strike up a conversation – they might be unwell, jetlagged or simply uninterested. But most people travelling do so with an open mind and a desire to meet new people, so you don’t have to get fancy. Just be ready with a few follow up questions, such as ‘tell me about your trip’ or ‘where’s the good coffee around here?’ to keep the conversation flowing.
Four: This one is for the researchers. Every city has a few choice topics, on which locals can and will speak with fervour. For example, in Melbourne all you need to do is mention the weather or public transport and you’re onto a winner. In Hong Kong it’s ‘mainlanders’ and real estate, and in Los Angeles try the traffic or celebrity sightings. Once you know what the topics of choice are in your city, you can use them to strike up a conversation with locals again and again.
Five: For an easy win, simply say, “Tell me your story”. This one works for fellow travellers and locals alike. People are so rarely given an opportunity to speak openly about themselves that it can make for a fascinating conversation. Just remember not to interrupt too often once they get on a roll – you asked them to speak, after all!
Do you have a suggestion? Share your best travel conversation starter in the comments below.