I first began travelling alone two months after my 18th birthday and I hated it. I was always lonely and didn’t know what to do with myself. HOWEVER, it was an important lesson in growing up and I learned a lot from the experience that I want to share with you (and I wish someone had told me)
Know what you want to do while travelling.
As you have probably gathered I’m an avid scuba diver so planning dives in advance is always a good idea. It is always good to have something to do to employ your time especially if you really enjoy the activity. Additionally, if you do meet new people, you have something in common to talk about! Don’t go overboard though and book something every day.
Always book a group room in a hostel
You’ll save a bunch of money this way but also its really easy to make new friends, it’s a bit of a gamble as you don’t actually know who you’ll be sharing with but hey, it’s always an adventure and the story of your hideous roommate who clipped their toenails near to your bag will make a funny story when you look back on it even if you’re not too impressed at the time.
Always chat to people in the hostel kitchen.
Seems a bit weird but most hostels have some sort of cooking area and everyone’s got to eat so it’s a great place to strike up a conversation and meet new people.
Share and share alike.
Everyone forgets to take something travelling, and still more lose something along the way. If you see someone struggling to charge their phone or to find a pair of socks or even to get enough food together to make a meal- offer your stuff to share. Whoever you show kindness to will always be thankful and (in my experience) usually offer to buy you a drink or invite you to hang out later on. Additionally, you will at some point be the needy one, you will at some point lose something or forget something- it’s just going to happen. Hopefully, when this does happen, the generosity you showed will be reflected back at you and someone will come to your rescue.
This is my ultimate and best piece of advice- if you are invited to do something say yes. Even if you’re tired, even if you don’t have that much money, just say yes. We regret the adventures that we don’t have and the friends we don’t make, even if you’re super shy just go with it and I guarantee you won’t regret it. The only time I would say no to an invite would be if I got a gut feeling from somebody if they made me feel a little uncomfortable or instinctively I felt something was wrong.