There are so many benefits to traveling solo, but it can get a bit lonely sometimes. On the road, you will find that most travelers are open-minded and friendly, but it can be hard to meet people especially if you feel out of your comfort zone.
So in this post, I wanted to share with you 10 ways to meet people when you travel solo to help you make friends. Many of these things I’ve tried myself successfully.
This probably sounds pretty obvious but to meet people and make friends you will have to make an effort to be social. None of these tips will work for you unless you are willing to put yourself out there and talk to people.
I’ve had many instances over the years where I have gone to events or social places and then struggled to talk to anyone. Needless to say, those occasions usually meant leaving early out of discomfort and not meeting anyone. Over time I learnt that you really have to make an effort to talk to people even if you feel a bit awkward.
A warm smile and open body language can work wonders. Be approachable, and you’ll find yourself having conversations with strangers that might just turn into lasting friendships.
Join Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are a great option for slow, long-term travel or if you are moving to a new destination. There are loads of groups for solo travelers and female travelers that you can join as well as groups for specific destinations. For example here in Vancouver, there are Brits in Vancouver, Irish in Vancouver, and Kiwi in Vancouver groups just to name a few.
Networking on social media can be a little daunting, especially when you initially put yourself out there. If it’s something you find hard, here are some tips that may help you.
Sit At The Bar
One of my favorite ways to have food, and drinks and to meet people is to sit at the bar. It is one of the easiest places to strike up conversations.
Just remember that different types of bars and pubs will attract their own unique crowds. Options include sports bars, British pubs, Irish pubs, beach bars, and upmarket bars – and they will all have a different crowd.
Just relax, smile, drink wisely, and be approachable. If you struggle with confidence, order a glass of prosecco or a cocktail…trust me it does wonders for your confidence.
If drinking or eating alone is something that you struggle with, and frankly terrifies you, I’ve got here. I’ve shared all of my best tips for dining alone to help you get out of your comfort zone,
Attend A Class Or Workshop
Taking a class in something that you are interested in is another good way to meet people. Look online, and check local hostels for brochures and flyers for things like cooking classes and sports activities.
Join A Pub Crawl
Hostels and local tour companies often host pub or bar crawls that are inexpensive and another easy fun way to meet people. If you prefer something classier wine tasting tours are a great alternative.
Go On A Day Trip Or Group Tour
One of the easiest ways that I’ve always met new people and made friends has been by going on day trips and group tours.
Look for group trips and tours in or around your destinations, and sign up. If you are on a tight budget, there are usually free walking tours available especially in big cities and popular tourist areas.
The great thing about day trips and group tours is that everyone except the staff will be travelers just like you, and you will all be experiencing the same thing together. It makes it so much easier to start a conversation with people without feeling awkward.
Themed tours are also a great low-cost option to consider like food or film tours where everyone in the group has a common interest. I recently went on a superhero walking tour in New York, and it was really interesting, and a cheap way to explore the city at night with fellow travelers and Marvel fans.
Try A Local Meet-Up
In my experience, meetups are very hit-and-miss but they are a cheap easy way to socialize with fellow travelers who have similar interests to you.
There are groups all over the world with common hobbies so you will have lots of options. Simply search for events and activities that you are interested in.
Sign up free on Meetup.com
Go On A Cruise
Until recently I never would have thought that a cruise would be a good option for solo travelers, but there are many cruise ships that offer lots of activities for solo travelers. From group shore excursions to classes, quizzes, and dedicated spaces for solo travelers, it could be a fun relaxed way to meet new people.
Use Fun Conversation Starters
Break the ice with fun conversation starters like asking for local recommendations or sharing a travel mishap. Humor and curiosity go a long way!
Embark on Walking Tours
Walking tours are fantastic for exploring new destinations while bonding with fellow participants. You’ll not only learn about the area but also make new friends along the way.
Offer to Take a Photo
Break the ice by offering to take a photo of someone struggling with their selfie game. This simple act can lead to spontaneous conversations and new connections.
Do Some Volunteer Work
If you are traveling for long periods of time, volunteer work can be a fulfilling way to meet new people when you are solo traveling. It’s also a fun way to gain new skills and experience. Check out large nonprofits, professional associations, and local organizations for ways to volunteer around the world.
Not only will help you to meet new people, but if you are moving abroad more permanently and need paid employment it’s a way to get local experience for your resume.
If you are looking to build your career in a highly skilled or competitive vocation, joining a professional association or club may be a smart move. If it’s something you’ve considered, but you’re not sure if it’s a good move for you, here are a few reasons why it might be worthwhile to join a professional association.
Stay At Hostels
If you are looking to keep accommodation costs down, and meet people then staying at hostels can be a great option. In my experience, hostels are really social places, and most of the people you meet will be friendly and open to making friends.
If you decide to stay in a hostel, try spending time in the common areas as much as possible. Also, make an effort to talk to the people that you are sharing a room with.
Hostels sometimes also host planned events or tours that you can do, or they can recommend group activities for you. Look for flyers around the check-in and common areas.
Sign Up for Hostel Activities
Hostels are treasure troves of social opportunities. Participate in their organized activities, from city tours to game nights, and make friends effortlessly.
Shared Airbnb Stays
Shared Airbnb accommodations are a great alternative to hostels. Sharing living spaces with other travelers will often lead to impromptu gatherings and new friendships.
Couchsurfing isn’t just about finding a place to crash; it’s a thriving community of like-minded travelers. Hosts often organize meetups and events, making it a great way to meet people when you are traveling solo.
Host a Sister Facebook Group
If you’re looking for a female-only alternative to couch surfing check out Host A Sister on Facebook. The hosts are not verified in the same way as they are for couch surfing, but the group is moderated, and you can connect with other travelers who have stayed with a host.
Coffee Shops with Wi-Fi
Coffee shops with Wi-Fi aren’t just for catching up on emails. They’re also great spots to strike up conversations with other travelers or friendly locals.
Chat with Seat Mates
Strike up conversations with your seatmates on buses, trains, and planes. Who knows, your journey companion could become your travel buddy!
Use a Dating App
Apps like Tinder or Bumble can help you connect with locals and fellow travelers alike. Just remember to prioritize your safety and meet in public places.
Share Uber Rides
Uber rideshare doubles as a way to meet people while reducing your trip fare. From experience, I’ve also found that Uber drivers can be a great source of local information so don’t hesitate to ask for local recommendations.
Apps like BumbleBFF are designed for platonic friendships. Swipe right on potential friends and expand your social circle.
Attend Local Events and Festivals
Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending events and festivals. From music concerts to food fairs, these gatherings are perfect opportunities to mingle with locals and fellow travelers alike.
I’ve made new friends many times when I’ve been on my own at local events and I’m still friends with them years later.
Social Dinners with EatWith
Satisfy your cravings for both food and friendship by attending EatWith social dinners. This platform connects travelers with local hosts who whip up delicious meals in their homes.
Visit Co-Working Spaces
If you’re a digital nomad or remote worker, co-working spaces offer a blend of productivity and sociability. Strike up conversations during coffee breaks or networking events.
Join Online Travel Communities
Beyond social media, there are numerous online travel forums and platforms where you can connect with travelers heading to the same destination. Share tips, plan meetups, and build connections.
Explore Local Markets
Strolling through markets is a sensory delight, and it’s also a prime chance to interact with artisans, vendors, and shoppers. Don’t be shy to strike up conversations over unique finds.
Connect at Art Galleries & Museums
Art and history lovers, rejoice! Art galleries and museums are generally spaces that encourage introspection and conversation. Share your thoughts on the exhibits and engage in discussions with fellow patrons.
Try Home Dining Experiences
Platforms like BonAppetour offer home dining experiences hosted by locals. Sharing a meal in someone’s home is a wonderful way to connect on a deeper level.
Explore Cozy Bookstores
Bookstores are havens of inspiration and relaxation. Strike up conversations about your favorite genres or authors, and you might just find a fellow bookworm to chat with.
Cultural Exchange and Volunteer Work
Platforms like Workaway and Worldpackers offer cultural exchange and volunteer opportunities. Not only will you give back, but you’ll also bond with fellow volunteers.
Play Group Sports
Join a pick-up game of soccer, beach volleyball, or even a game of frisbee. Sports break down barriers, allowing you to connect with people from all walks of life.
Follow & Connect With Travel Bloggers
If you’re a fan of travel bloggers, why not reach out to them when they’re at your destination? Connecting with fellow enthusiasts can lead to amazing shared experiences.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions when you meet new people. Locals love sharing their knowledge, and this can often lead to meaningful conversations and connections.
Everyone you meet on your travels has a story to tell, and each connection has the potential to enrich your journey. You never know what you might learn if you approach new people with curiosity.
Try New Things
Whatever you decide to do, get out of your comfort zone a little and try new things. Make a point of meeting other people who are exploring, and trying new things as well.
Relax & Be Yourself
No matter how you choose to meet new people, the most important thing you should do is be yourself. Don’t put on an act or try to be someone you are not as the people you meet will know that you are being fake. So just be your unique, authentic self and you will be able to make genuine connections.
Apps for Meeting Like-Minded Travelers Around the Globe
Add these apps to your phone to start connecting with other like-minded travelers proactively.
- Meetup: Connect with like-minded travelers from around the world. You can join groups and attend events related to travel, share your own travel experiences, and just make some new friends in different locations.
- Backpacker: This app will help you to connect with other travelers and people you can travel with. You can find people with similar interests and experiences, and plan trips together.
- TripGiraffe: Another app that can help you meet other travelers with similar interests and plan trips with them.
- Hitchhikers: If you’re an adventurous soul who loves to hitchhike, this app will help you to meet other travelers to hitchhike around the world with. Connect with other travelers, find places to stay, and people to explore with.
I hope that these tips are helpful! What are your favorite ways to meet new people when you travel? Let me know in the comments.
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