Backpacking is a game of strategy. You do your best to find the best value for your trip, both monetarily, as well as with the people you meet and the places you go. After a few days or weeks (or months if you are REALLY slow on the uptake) you realize that guidebooks and websites are decent sources for some knowledge on the country you’re visiting, but the best source of knowledge is actually speaking with locals and fellow travelers.
With this being said, sometimes the conversation becomes quite monotonous. To help bypass the boring, and get you closer to better conversation, connections and information, here are some award-winning (not a true fact) jokes and icebreakers to use while backpacking.
The “That will be (insert denomination and currency) please:” Travelers find out quickly that most things are possible, but they come at a price. Often times you think you will be meeting the nicest person, who wants to help you out, only to find out they want some cash in return. One easy way to break the ice with other travelers is to help them do something, then jokingly tell them that it will cost them a small denomination in the local currency. Is the joke old? Yes it is. Is it used? Like a pair of second-hand gym shorts. Does it still get a smile, though? Yes it does!
Card tricks: Worked in middle school, works now. Surprisingly, because those who travel for extended periods have a lot of free time on their hands, card tricks seem to be in abundance. Maybe it’s because you can only talk about where you are from some many times before lashing out, but showing someone a new card trick is a great way to break the ice.
The “I’ll be back:” Named for the most notable quote from the Terminator franchise, the easiest way to break the ice is by making a reference to where a person is from. If you do it with a smile and in a joking manor, this can be stereotypes or famous people, but using actual facts about politics, news, etc is good as well. My personal favorite is asking Austrians to say Arnold quotes (which I’m sure I’m not the first to do so). Make sure to keep it respectful,though, or else you, "done may needa put up your dukes (southern accent expected)."
Happy trails, and enjoy all the new friends you make with these techniques!