• Travel Savvy Guide

A friend in me

Making friends whilst away seems to be quite a nerve racking point for a lot of people, and it might seem quite straight forward and simple for most, but for some it can be quite hard to take down the barrier. In todays blog I will be covering different points that can help you.

For starters whilst traveling you can become a Mellon of emotions.

Worn down and hard looking on the edge, but jam packed full of exhaustion, stress from traveling, excitement, wanderlust, homesick, illness (deli belly), soooo many things could be playing on your mind, simply offering the most genuine of smiles to random people can be the light they need in that very moment in time. I’ve made many friends and contacts from this gesture, it give's them the notion that they can have a friend in you.

I was in the airport in Doha, on my 10 hour stopover about to embark on a free city tour, (which the airport offer to people who’s stopover’s are over 8 hours), everyone who’s on this tour is generally going to be quite exhausted. I’d been sleeping on the floor around the corner and by the looks of it so had most of the others, I did this tour both on the way out to Indonesia and on return. On both occasions I made a good friend, as I offered this gesture giving them the confidence to take down the barrier and chat to me.

So master that Savvy smile :)


When on transport don’t automatically try avoid that awkward silence of sitting next to someone, it is the perfect opportunity to force your chatty, funny, happy self onto another person. Unless you are exhausted and the happy, funny, chatty self needs some more Zzzz’s in preparation for the next social opportunity.

By chatting to people you can get yourself out of situations- get Savvy.

Dad story… he was inter-railing in Europe and ended up catching the wrong train and heading into a war zone in Yugoslavia heading to Belgrade at midnight, but by chatting to the guy next to him on the train he managed to wangle a room in a youth hostel, where he was sharing a room with a dutch journalist taking pictures of the war and developing the pictures in the sink. That’s pretty scary, by talking to the guy next him of the train got him out of what could have been a very dire situation.

Give everyone a chance

You know the saying don’t judge a book by its cover, but seriously it’s takes all sorts to make up a world and you will come across all walks of life and you will find friends, warmth and conversation in the strangest of people and places. Don’t write people off from first glance, give everyone a chance, if after a conversation they turn out to be right weird or a right weird then you can write them of but most definitely not before.

Hit the Hostel’s up

Stay in a social hostel

I’ve covered this topic before in ‘A Savvy first step’ blog, staying in a social hostel is one of the best things you can do for yourself, it gives you the perfect opportunity to meet people and have a good time. Social hostels generally means the people who are staying in them tend to hang out in the hostel, where’s the other hostels who don’t have organised activities, means people tend to disperse out on their own and you don’t get the same bonding opportunities. Same is also to be said to take part in the activities, take part in the beer pong tournament, beach fire, evening sunset walk, whatever it is, put time aside to take part in these activities because they can be priceless and they are also free.

My brother always says-

“Don’t say NO to an unknown opportunity for adventure”

Basically he got offered a day out with his mate, and gave a flat no not knowing what he had turned down. Long story short it was a small plane ride down the west coast, it’s a no go, touchy subject in our family. So learn from my brothers lesson.

Unsociable tool symbol

Don’t be an unsociable tool by walking around with your headphones in, it’s pretty much a symbol of don’t even think about talking to me I’m trying to block the world out. It’s like walking around with a sign on say ‘don’t bother’.

Stay in the larger dorms, your bank account with thank you for it, it will also give you the opportunity of talking to more people opposed to staying in a 4 bed dorm.

FOOD is a massive social point, almost a watering hole of socialising. Even if people are skint they won’t say no to food, especially if the hostel doesn’t have cooking facilities (very common in Asia), even the mention of going for food in a hostel will attract the attention of anyone and everyone, its like saying walkie’s to a dog. Play your cards right and you’ll have a food squad on your hands.

There are 2 key food watering hole opportunities in the day breakfast and dinner. Hostels usually offer breakfast, therefore everyone will be up and about to consume their brekky before their big day of adventures.

Now in Indonesia every hostel offers banana pancakes every morning, sounds perfect right?

After 2 months of banana pancakes you get a little sick of them, so I used to sneak off to go else where for brekky to get myself a smoothie bowl and read my book and have some me time as I like to call it. However, I’d made myself a little travel crew from my last hostel, we’d moved to this hostel all together and we were spending all our days together adventuring, so of course I got caught out as I was never around and breakfast, which triggered a few questions on my whereabouts, lets just say there was no longer any me time and my book didn’t get finished. My me time got bombard by 6 hungry lads looking for something other than banana pancakes everyday. I did love them to bits though so wasn’t too gutted, but don’t sneak off for breakfast until you have made friends and plans with people in the hostel.

A good traveller has no fixed plans and has no intent on arriving” Lao Tau

Be flexible with your plans

This is important, when travelling I always have in mind ideas of what I can do, where I can go but I don’t book anything in concrete, it just means you have the fluidity of making these sick travel buddies and groups. You can make plans with other people and move around with them, you’ll have a little more travel banter as well which is always good. Always say YES, unless they’re not your crowd, then move on, the next hostel you will probably make another travel squad which might be more you.

Not everyone is going to be your friend- thats life. You do you, and your vibe will attract your tribe.


Party with the locals

Chat to the hostel staff, waiter’s in the restaurants, talk to everyone, listen to their exciting stories but also tell yours because I bet your bottom dollar that your’s is equally if not more so, a sick story, so tell it, everyones listening. In my first week in Indonesia my waiter asked me 101 questions and asked me if I wanted to join him and his mates later after work, so I did and it was such a cool night, we went to an inside outside bar, which was super cool and an opportunity which was very easy to say no to, but by saying yes I opened myself up to yet another sick and cultured opportunity. I made plenty of friends that night, an it was experience which is truly special to come across.

Go on tours

Book yourself into group tours, you will be spending all day with the same people and there’s a good chance you’ll get to know the group fairly well that you’re with. Try booking yourself onto a trip in the early stages of your adventure, this can increase the possibility of making travel companions, you may stay in contact and meet up in the future or you may even set off as a little travel squad. But I’d say it’s more effective in the early stages of your trip, as there’s no point making an effort at the end of your trip, unless you intending on more travel in the near future.

Glass Half full

Always half full, NEVER half empty.

Half full or half empty, there’s clearly more room for wine, or in my terms, more fun.

But seriously I believe if you walk around with a negative, grumpy, half empty outlook on life, it won’t prevail. Enthusiasm and positivity are contagious, if you walk around with a smile on your face and excited about everything in front of you, you will make the most and enjoy a fruitful life. With this attribute, no matter what situation you are hurled into, you will always come out the other side having enjoyed the experience.


The same goes for choosing to hang out with positive and outgoing people, there’s nothing worse than wasting precious adventure days, than with deadbeat people who will bring down your wanderlust spirit. Some of my down points from my travels were taking part in activities that others wanted to do and comprising the stuff I wanted to do, I fell for this a few times and I decided that I will and can happily do stuff I want to do on my own, and join the others later after I’ve done what I want to do. When traveling and especially solo travel, always put yourself first, everyone is traveling for different reasons and for different amounts of times, therefore some may rushing around like headless chickens trying to tick off everything in a small space of time and others may be chilling and taking it all in at their own speed. You do you.

Hope this crash course helps, friends can come from all walks of life and stages of your life, you can never have too many friends. Friends are fluid, they come and go, they change, you change but life is much more fun and fruitful with them in it.

Whoever said school is the best time in your life was chatting pure B-Shit, i’m making each and everyday better than the last and so should you.

Travel is best measured in friends rather than miles- Tim Cahill

Just remember, your vibe will attract your tribe, and they can be from all walks of life.

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