We all know of stranger danger but when you’re a solo traveller the ability to talk to strangers (safely, though) is one of the most important skills to have under your belt. Chatting with strangers will not only add to your travel experience but it might even lead to life-long friendships. Here are a few conversation starters to keep up your sleeve.

A note on safety: Don’t be afraid to tell people you are a solo traveller. People are often more keen to chat and talk to those travelling alone, however it’s important to exercise caution. Look for clues to see if the person can be trusted and stay in public places.

When eating out, sit at a communal table or at the bar. Chat to people sitting next to you. If they are a local, you can ask them about the restaurant and any local recommendations. If they are a fellow traveller, ask them where they’re from and how their trip is going.

Ask someone to take your photo. Be mindful of the fact there are some scammers targeting tourist destinations to steal cameras so use your judgement but this is an easy and natural way to strike up a conversation. A family or a group of tourist can usually be trusted and counted on to take your Start with the sight you’re getting photographed.

Comment on a tourist destination. If you’re wandering around a museum/gallery/popular site, keep a look out for other solo travellers. Keep it simple and introduce yourself, following up questions about how their enjoying where you both are. Be aware that not everyone wants to chat but most solo travellers have an open mind and want to meet new people.

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.