Making friends on the road: Tips for grey nomads

Jan 04, 2020
It's easy to make friends while travelling. Source: Getty

Whether you’re travelling with your family, partner or by yourself, one of the best things about being a grey nomad is the friendships you make along the way.

As well as exploring the places you’ve always dreamed about, you’ll likely return with an extended friendship circle and maybe even some new travel buddies for future adventures. It can take a little bit of courage to step outside your comfort zone and engage the first conversation, but we promise it will be worth it.

However, if you’re a bit unsure how to build those connections in the first place, we’ve got some ideas that could help you along the way.

Join a club 

Before you head off on your adventure, have a look if there are any caravan clubs you can join. Smaller clubs usually organise weekend trips away which is a great opportunity to get to know other grey nomads before you go on your bigger holiday.

If you’re based in a bigger city, keep an eye out for larger clubs who often host annual events where you can meet like-minded individuals. Some even offer discounts at caravan parks and retailers across the country.

The National Association of Caravan Clubs has details on clubs around Australia that you can join and events you can attend.

Go to a caravan expo 

Most capital cities host their own caravan and camping shows where you can view the latest products on the market and learn about destinations you may want to visit.

But they’re also a great place to meet other grey nomads who are planning their next getaway. While browsing through the stalls, chat to other attendees about where they’ve been and where they’d like to go.

Host a campfire gathering

If you’re travelling during winter and there are no fire bans in place, stoke up a fire and ask other campers if they’d like to join. On those chilly nights, everyone will be looking for a bit of warmth and if you’ve got some marshmallows on hand, you’re bound to attract a crowd of campers. Before you know it, you’ll be chatting away as if you’re old friends.

Spend time in communal areas

Most caravan parks will have a shared kitchen or barbecue area where you can cook your meals and do the dishes. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a fellow traveller while you’re cooking dinner.

You could ask them about where travelling and if they have any advice on places you should visit. Perhaps you could also invite them for a game of cards — this is a great way to break through any initial awkwardness and get the conversation flowing.

Stay at smaller caravan parks 

While big caravan parks have more attractions to enjoy, small parks have their benefits as well. They’ll be less people, so more opportunities to strike up a conversation when you see someone pull up with their caravan in tow.

You might even find some are travelling the same route as you and can make plans to catch up at the next town.

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Do you enjoy caravanning? Have you made friends during your travels?

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