Traveling with a new group of friends can seem intimidating at first, but once you realize that everyone wants to get along and have a great time, everything else will fall into place.
If you tend to keep to yourself or exhibit shyness when you're surrounded by a lot of people, then these pointers will help you step outside of your comfort zone and embrace the spirit of group travel.
1. KEEP IT LIGHT
Keep the conversation light and don't be afraid to embrace some comic relief. No one loves to stay in the "small talk" phase of conversations, but you don't have to dive into the deep stuff right off the bat. That might eventually come on its own. One way to make these on-the-surface conversations still feel meaningful is by talking about things that actually interest you. This way, your genuine self and interesting side will shine through when you're talking about something that you really care about.
2. Ask OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
If you tend to keep to yourself, opening up to a group of strangers can feel intimidating. One good way to momentarily remove the attention from yourself is by asking others about themselves (and of course, listening to their responses). This is a good way to practice your listening skills and a good way to find some common ground, which brings us to our next point.
3. FIND COMMON GROUND
Traveling with anyone becomes easier when you can bond over something you share a passion for or interest in. Your background? Your hobbies? Things you love or dislike? Or the most obvious one, your love for travel. Establishing some common ground is a good way to help both you and those around you feel more at ease with one another and excited to get to know each other mored during your travels.
4. GET TO KNOW PEOPLE INDIVIDUALLY
A big part of what feels intimidating when traveling with a big group of people is that it might feel like it's you against a lump of strangers. But when you get to know people on an individual basis, it removes that feeling and helps you build friendships and unique connections with each person. Take advantage of those moments when you're all walking down the sidewalk together, or waiting in line, or sitting at the dinner table... to talk to people one-on-one and just get to know them individually.
When tensions are high (in our minds), we tend to close off. This happens to everyone, but can be especially debilitating to introverts when they are surrounded by a lot of people. Though it may seem obvious, a great rule of thumb for traveling with a group of friends is to relax. Remind yourself that you're there for an awesome adventure, and that everyone else is just hoping to have a great time as well. Mistakes are made sometimes, and things don't always go as planned...but how we carry ourselves in those situations is completely up to us!
6. Share a drink with your new friends
Sometimes enjoying a drink with a new friend is a great way to feel a sense of camaraderie from the get-go. Sharing a drink with others comes with the universal message of we're all here to enjoy each other's company and have a great time! Drink responsibly, though and stay classy!
If you find yourself feeling nervous or unsure of how to talk to people during a group excursion, remember that some good listening skills, a bit of humor and a great attitude can take you a long way!
Interested in trying a group travel experience? Check out FTLO's upcoming group trips for young professionals to Italy, Greece, South Africa, Morocco, Mexico, Spain, Scandinavia and more!