One of the main reasons backpackers love travelling around the world is meeting new people and finding new friends Backpacking through Europe or other continents indeed is a culturally rich and also a very sociable experience, as travellers will meet many other peers whilst staying in hostels or going out.
And isn’t backpacking through Europe or across the world also a great opportunity to find romance? It certainly is – be it by meeting other travellers or some charming locals. But as always with dating, romance and love, certain rules apply to make sure you can make it work out, and make the best out of it.
Be bold, be outgoing
Even if you are not that confident or that outgoing a person, the rules change on the backpacking circuit. Being by yourself, in a totally different environment, away from people who may know and judge you, you really have nothing to lose. On the contrary. In addition, when people are away for long periods of time, they are way more receptive to the advances of friendly strangers in hostels, cafes, bars or clubs (and even delighted to hear their native language) . You should therefore not hesitate to make the move you wouldn’t have dared to under normal circumstances.
Learn the language – at least some basics
At least a few words and sentences in the local language (such as please! thank you! do you come here a lot? may I buy you a drink?) will without doubt help you when your quest for love takes you beyond the boundaries of fellow travelers. But in the unlikely event that this approach doesn’t go down well with the local, you can always use your new found skills to impress other backpackers with your language skills… already probably a way to get a quick fling with one of your backpacker peers!
Pretend that you’re lost to start a conversation
If you are struggling with your opening line, faking ignorance of your whereabouts can do wonders for getting you noticed. Even if you mobile phone in your backpack can tell you your exact location in a heartbeat– asking another backpacker for advice and making them feel like the ‘local’ expert is almost a guaranteed way to get them on the right side, and even, maybe, to make them fall for you.
Don’t just talk about yourself
Whilst it might be tempting to focus all your flirting energy on your shared love of travel, once the anecdotes run out, you’ll be left without an audience or any kind of connection. Do show interest in the other person’s home life and personality – expand the conversation topic to other areas outside your current travels to get to know the other better and show depth. Remember too, that no new acquaintance wants you to turn out to be that backpacker – i.e. the annoying one who constantly tries to trump everyone else’s stories with tales of their more ‘authentic’ adventures.
Whether it’s a fling or could turn into more will also depend on your compatibility – do you just bond because you happen to sit in the same boat, so to say (ie both backpacking through Europe or wherever in the world) or are you genuinely compatible? There is no right or wrong, it just depends on whteher you are just physically attracted to each other for a quick fling or whether you are looking for more. Whateever it is, relax, and enjoy the moment, and whatever is meant to happen!
Be discrete and don’t upset or shock the others
Declaring your intentions to the object of your affection can be difficult when you are sharing a dorm room with 20 drunk teenagers, but finding a place to consummate your budding relationship can be even more of a challenge.
Do find a place where you have a minimum of privacy and don’t even think of making out openly in the shared dormitories or somewhere where you can easily be spotted. Respect your flirts’ privacy as well and their relationship with the other backpackers.
If you’re after something a little more romantic than a quickie on in the showers, though, you could splash out on a private room for the night.
Do keep looking after yourself
Make sure you still look presentable, and shower, and have at least realtively clean clothes. Whilst a somewhat rough look can also be attractive, rough doesn’t need to mean dirty.
Also, 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. Just stay and play safe!
Meeting locals vs meeting travellers
Do take into account that meeting locals has very different implications than meeting travellers. Locals may be looking for something more serious – and that might mean you could get attached to a person and a place quite rapidly. In other cases, locals may have varying intentions – they might want to meet somebody to escape their country, somebody to help support them, or they might also just look for a quick fling with an attractive traveller who they know will be gone in a day or two.
And now, go backpacking and have fun!