How to Find Love When You’re Backpacking

When you ask backpackers and independent travellers what they enjoy most about a long trip abroad, the chances are they’ll pipe up “meeting new people and making new friends!”

And it’s true – hostelling around the world is a very sociable experience, and it’s this mix of atmosphere and adventure which makes it so addictive… once you’ve been bit by the backpacking bug, there’s no going back. It can get lonely if you’re trekking around the world solo for a whole year – but all that meeting new people conveniently provides the perfect opportunity for a little romance!

Here’s a few top dos and don’ts to help make the path of true love run smoothly on the road…

DO try to learn the language…

Dancing the night awayA few choice phrases in the local dialect (such as please, thank you, may I buy you a drink, do you come here often) will help you no end when your quest for love takes you beyond the boundaries of fellow travelers. But even if this approach doesn’t go down so well with the locals, you can always use your new found skills to impress backpackers with your intelligence and cultural immersion…which is bound to score you at least a quick fling.

DO be bold and outgoing…

You might not be the confident, outgoing one back home, but the rules will alter on the backpacking circuit. When people are away for long periods of time, they are much more receptive to the advances of new people in hostels, bars, cafes or clubs (and even delighted to hear their native language if, say, in the depths of Africa) so do make the move you wouldn’t have dared to under normal circumstances. You never know where things might lead…

DO pretend you’re lost to start a conversation…

If you’re struggling with your opening line, pleading ignorance of your whereabouts can do wonders for getting you noticed. Doesn’t matter that the iPhone in your rucksack can tell you your exact GPS co-ordinate in under five seconds – asking another backpacker for advice and making them feel like the ‘local’ expert is almost guaranteed to make them fall under your spell.

DON’T just rabbit on about your best travel experience ever, man…

Whilst it might be tempting to focus all your flirting energy on an obvious shared love of travel, once the anecdotes run out, you’ll be left without an audience or any kind of connection. Be interested in the other person’s home life and personality and you’ll sound refreshing and different. Remember too, that no new acquaintance wants you to turn out to be that backpacker – you know, the annoying one who constantly tries to trump everyone else’s stories with tales of their more ‘authentic’ adventures.

DO consider your fellow backpackers’ eyes…

Declaring your intentions to the object of your affection can be tricky when you’re sharing a dorm room with 20 drunk Aussie teenagers, but finding a place to consummate your budding relationship can be even more of a challenge.

Rather than leaving the hostel friendless and in disgrace after being caught at it all over the place, treat the task of finding a suitably hidden nook or cranny as foreplay and head to laundry rooms, deserted roof terraces, or even that old classic, the showers (at least bathrooms usually have a lock…) before you start anything. Your hostel mates will thank you for it.

If you’re after something a little more romantic than a quickie on top of the dryer, though, you could splash out on a private room for the night.

DO shower first…

Water supplies might be scarce on this tiny Southeast Asian island, but it’s plain bad manners not to have a little spruce up first. Improvise with wet wipes and antibacterial hand-wash if you’re really pushed for facilities at your hostel…

DON’T be reckless…

Making a bold move is one thing, but just because you’re opening yourself up to new experiences shouldn’t mean you leave your common sense at home…. Stay safe and sensible if your relationship moves to the next level, and make sure you pack plenty of contraceptives if you plan on being active during the trip (these things can be hard to get hold of in many countries). Waking up with a hangover is one thing, but STDs don’t make for a good/funny travel story. Best not let your alcohol consumption get out of control, too…

Have you found love on the road or were you stuck in a hostel-dating nightmare? Share your story…

Planning a backpacking trip? Head to HostelBookers for cheap hostels and budget travel advice.

 

Thanks to Federi, bent_karma and stevendepolo for the images off flickr.

6 Responses to “How to Find Love When You’re Backpacking”

  1. Germaine Tan Reply

    I met a cute homestay owner when i was travelling in busan, south korea, for 3 days. There’s this first sight spark between us. We hang out, talk and laugh all day long. I have to leave to another destination. We text each other everyday. But i didn’t take long to realised that long distance doesn’t work out for us. Maybe due to our short time spend together that we lack of the mutual understanding toward each other, we lack out of topic to talk and our texting just stopped. But i still miss him though. It’s good to been in a relationship of just joy and laughter. People will ask me, will i fall in love during holiday abroad? why not?! I’m a single traveller. This little spark gives you an amazing and unforgettable memories of your trip.. even if it doesn’t workout into long term relationship

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