Some people hate the idea of offline travel networking. I’m talking about anything – from Couchsurfing to an open-house dinner – which involve stepping out of a comfort zone and finding yourself in the company of strangers.
Here are some tips for getting over the fear and making it work for you:
- Worried about awkward silences? Pick an outgoing, experienced host. You’ll find they’ll end up doing the hard work for you, but without them even knowing it. How do you know which hosts are outgoing? Most hospitality sites contain detailed profiles full of clues. Look for people with lots of references.
- Be yourself. Make an effort, but don’t feel you have to be the life and soul. It takes all sorts. Find someone that shares your interests and an activity that is right for you. Remember: there’s no point going to a communal dinner on holiday if you hate dinner parties at the best of times.
- Go with a friend or a partner. There are no rules saying you have to go solo.
- Ease yourself in gently. Instead of launching straight into a RTW couchsurfing trip, try a one-off meet with some members in your hometown first.
- Arrange a short meeting, such as a quick coffee. That way it’s no massive commitment and you have nothing to lose.
- Worried about stranger danger? It’s good to be cautious. Here are some safety tips.