making friends while traveling

The Psychology of Making Friends While Traveling, and Why They Last

With shaking hands, I carefully poked a loose Jenga block free from the tower that was now at eye level with me. Out came a sigh of relief.

I felt a triumphant smile spread across my face, and I motioned my hostel roommate to make his next move. With few options remaining, he studied the tower, concentrating on his next plan of attack. I sat back to relish in my momentary victory.

As children, we’re taught to not talk to strangers.

As we get older, however, we learn that most strangers are just friends we haven’t yet made.

Whether establishing new relationships with hostel roommates, chatting with locals on the street, or rekindling old friendships, there are three different settings I’ve found that foster conversations: Education through storytelling, connections much deeper than the occasional Facebook message, and long-term friendships created in the brief crossing of paths.

Here’s why making friends while traveling can form lasting bonds.