One of the best parts of taking our family road trips is meeting new people. We love to hear the stories of the local residents, museum staff and even the people we meet at the gas stations. So today, I thought I would take a minute and just share some of the stories of the people we have met on our recent trips plus some tips for meeting new people on the road! This season of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the opportunity our family has had to travel and meet some of these amazing people!
Hobbies on a Budget received discounts or tickets for some of these opportunities. Amazon affiliate links are included.
Meeting New People is the Best Part of Travel
The Staff at Georgia Dome
Working as a janitor, hall monitor or standing as a greeter at the escalator may not be the most glamorous job, but the staff at the Georgia Dome when we were there last summer for the NRA convention knew that the first impression is often the only chance to make a true impact. The gentleman standing at the escalator stands out as the most friendly, welcoming person in Atlanta. And it wasn’t just for us either. I saw another visitor stop to take a selfie with a member of the greeting staff because they were turning their potentially boring job into an opportunity to bring a smile to each person’s face.
Keanna at Jelly Belly
When we visited the Jelly Belly Warehouse in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, the employee in the gift shop took the time to connect with us. She asked about our travels, offered us samples of fudge and Jelly Bellies and told us about other special deals in the store. She stands out as one of the neatest people we met that day in Wisconsin.
Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to talk to new people! New people are just friends you don’t know, right? So when you are at the gas station, restaurant or checking in at the hotel, don’t be afraid to talk to new people. You don’t have to get personal, but you do have to be willing to take a few minutes and engage in conversations.
Brian Downes at John Wayne
When we stopped in at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum we knew we were in for a fun experience learning about one of our favorite film stars of all time. But we didn’t realize that the best part was going to be the chance to get to know the Museum Director, Brian Downes. He took the time to get to know us, share stories about his life and his experiences as a travel writer for the Chicago Tribune. This was truly the highlight of our visit. We feel like we found a friend in Winterset, Iowa and can’t wait to reconnect on our next road trip!
Tip #2: Ask for Reccomendations The locals know the area better than you do. So ask the new people you meet for restaurant recommendations. Ask them where the best parks are to see the sunset or get an ice cream cone. You will probably find some amazing local spots that you didn’t know existed.
The waiter at PF Chang in Iowa
When the waiter at PF Chang in Iowa engaged us in casual conversation after we had been traveling for 6 days, he didn’t know that we were all exhausted from days of travle. But his genuine interest in our lives and the easy-going manner in which he took a couple extra minutes to talk about school, family travel and adventures changed our dinner from a typical meal to something special.
Museum Docents at the National Gallery
When we were in Washington DC and knew we only had a few minutes to visit the National Gallery, we breezed into the museum to see the Thinker and maybe a couple other highlights. But what we discovered instead was the story behind the exhibits. We ended up engaging in conversations with the museum docents on the first floor who treated us as if we were the most important people there and gave us great insight on some of the exhibits. We laughed so much as they told us about the human hair in the ballerina statue and compared the pieces of art to the Night at the Museum movies.
Tip: #3: Remember to be nice! When you are out on vacations or road trips, remember that it’s just as important to be nice to strangers as it is to be kind at home. Don’t let road fatigue cause you to be rude or unkind to the people you meet. Smile. Say please and thank you. Mind your Manners and have fun!
Diane in Wisconsin
Though the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum was closed for the season, director Diane Peterson took the time to give us a private tour and show us the full musuem – not because she had to, but because she loves her job and cares about the tourist who come to the museum every year!
Joan in Tampico, IL
Joan is a museum volunteer in Tampico, Illinois for the Ronald Reagan Birthplace Museum. She and another museum, Sharon, met us early on a Friday morning before the museum even opened just so we could learn about the early days of President Reagan. She didn’t have to wake up early and give us a personal tour but she did it with a smile!
Have you ever had interactions with strangers when you are out on road trips? Do you like to interact and engage with new people? I’d love to hear stories of the people you have met on vacations!
This Thanksgiving season, take the time to meet someone new and be thankful for the opportunities to make new friends all around the country!