This may seem like a given, but I have a few steps to having the time of your life while traveling. These steps are really the same no matter where you are, but you usually do not take any of them into consideration when you are home. You feel safer being at home. When you are in a place that is unfamiliar you may become uncomfortable being yourself and it might become hard to have a good time. There are actually a lot of things to take into consideration. Things like your environment, people you are with along with the atmosphere. If you are at a club or bar at night you should be more cautiously especially if you are alone. It can be just as much fun to travel alone as it is to travel with a friend but it depends a lot on your ability to be independent.
If you need others for support and recognition you should probably invite a friend or two to go with you on your journey. Having a friend guarantees you a drinking buddy and partner in crime which could also be a bad thing. However, I enjoy a bit of solitude so I did just fine by myself. I felt that I got a lot more out of my trip by going it alone. I did not have to wait on anyone or deal with following their agendas. I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it which is an amazing thing if you ask me. I am very blessed for having the opportunity and courage to do what I did. You should probably know the people you are with at least a little bit and the more people the better. You should also know the “vibe” of the environment. A good question you can ask yourself is; are other people around you having a good time or do they seem to be high strung? So this is everything you need to have a blast abroad;
Step 1: Meet as many people as possible. I am a big fan of “people watching” and while at multiple airports I realized to my delight my ability to have enjoyable small talk with strangers. You have to talk to lots of people because you do not know who you are going to click with and who you will not have any chemistry until you get to know them a little bit. Airports are actually amazing places for this. If you just sit back and watch you can see people of all walks of life. People embarking on all stages of life; moving away, coming home, trips to see family and friends, and people on business trips. The brief glimpse into their life was very interesting to me because of my people watching hobby. I loved chatting with people and hearing their life story. Where they were heading or coming from.
The best friend I met during my trip I met where I was boarding. Hostels are by far the best place to meet new people. People there are traveling and doing the same thing you are which makes it fun to swap stories. I also made some lifelong friends living in the international students building while studying abroad. They were people from all over the world. The students on my floor were from Spain, Italy, Poland, many Asian countries, and Ireland. Although we were all from different places and had completely different cultures we all connected. One of my friends said something that really touched me. He said that he was sad that I was leaving because I was the only person that could get everyone to hangout in the common area together and he was going to miss that. It only takes a small interest to spark a friendship which can be really fun.
Step 2: Do not worry! You have to relax and let things happen naturally. If you put your worries and stresses on the back burner it will be easier to have a good time. Traveling can wear you out and make you really tired and irritable if you are not getting enough sleep. While you might just be sitting on the beach one day you could have to walk a few miles the next. Any moment can come with a challenge so you have to take a breath and just deal with it. Do not get caught up in the moment and overwhelmed. Slow down if you have to because your trip is about enjoying yourself.
Step 3: You have to go outside of your comfort zone. You have already done something amazing. You decided to go somewhere you have never been before to explore what is unknown to you. Now keep it up! This is how you grow and become who you are meant to be. You can not learn from something if you do not seek to learn. You have to follow your heart where ever it may lead you. As cheesy as that sounds it is just as true. Think of previous experiences from your past that have made you become mature and have grown your insights and perceptions of the world. They have most likely all been challenging.