Travelling alone can seem like a scary thing to do, but the reality is that so many people do travel alone and are looking for travel companions just like yourself. Making friend while travelling alone is surprisingly easy, and it can happen in a number of ways. These are some of the best ways to make friends as a solo traveller.
1. Stay in hostels
You simply can’t beat the social aspect of staying in a hostel. Don’t just take my word for it, ask any solo traveller and they’ll say the same thing. If you don’t like the idea of sharing a room with 9 other people, don’t worry, you can get a private room for a few extra $$. You will still meet people around the hostel, in the bar, on the free tours or at breakfast.
2. Go on hostel activities
I love the tours that hostel puts on, in fact I use to be an activity coordinator at a hostel and led many tours myself. Tours are a great way to explore a new city with a knowledgeable and friendly guide and make friends along the way.
3. Hang out in hostel bars
Perhaps the easiest way to make new friends while travelling is in the hostel bar. Many travellers hang out in hostel bars, enjoying cheap drinks, games nights and meeting new and interesting people from all over the world. Many people in hostels are travelling alone so they are always welcoming and looking for other people like yourself to talk to and have fun with.
4. Make friends in transit
Don’t be afraid to have a chat with the person next to you on your next flight or bus trip. They may just be your new best friend. I have been on two flights with long stopovers and on both occasions made friends with the people next to me. On one occasion I met a lovely girl travelling to Taipei in Taiwan. My stopover was 18 hours so I went downtown with her and had lunch and a shower in her hotel. The next occasion was a stopover in Manila in the Philippines. My new friend and I left the airport to go ice skating in the local mall, sure beats sitting in the airport alone for 10 hours. It is random interactions like this that make travel so much more enjoyable.
5. Make friends on day trips / guided tours
If you are travelling alone, sometimes the easiest, and cheapest way to get around is on a guided day tour. If you do take a tour, don’t be afraid to talk to the people around you. Make friends with the tour guide, the locals, other couples and solo travellers. Say hey and you will be able to tell straight away if they want to interact with you. 9 times out of 10 they do and it can make your day so much more enjoyable. Plus other travellers always have great tips on what to do and see in the area.
6. Give everyone a chance
By keeping an open mind when you travel, you’ll meet different people from all over the world that you would never normally encounter back home. Differences such as age are irrelevant and you will be surprised with how much you enjoy interacting with those outside your normal circle. This is one of the things I love about travel.
7. Get an app that helps you meet people
I have never personally used an app as I prefer the aforementioned methods, but this is definitely a trend that many solo travellers have adopted to meet people while travelling. Some apps include Tourlina, a female-only app to help travellers connect, Backpacker, an app that lets you check out other backpackers’ travel plans and itineraries and Tinder, for those looking for that special someone.
8. Be flexible with your plans
When you travel alone you meet SOOO many people. When you do really connect with someone, you want the ability to adapt your plans to travel together, at least for a little while. Being flexible with your plans will allow you to be spontaneous and have more fun with newfound friends.
9. Don’t worry so much!
Be yourself when you travel, don’t worry about what other people think or how you should approach someone. Most people who are travelling are open-minded and want to meet new people. You don’t need clever chat up lines or icebreakers to meet people while travelling. If you don’t click with someone, don’t worry. It happens.
10. Meet people abroad who love what you love
Meeting people with common interests will allow you to share adventures that satisfy your soul. If you’re a hiker, hang out with the people going hiking in the hostel. If you love to party, go find fellow partiers in the bar. This is your trip so do what you love and find people who love the same things to share these experiences with. Don’t be afraid to say no if you don’t want to do something. Remember, it is your trip.
11. Try Couchsurfing
Couch surfing is a community of like-minded travellers who are willing to let you crash at their place for free. While the name implies on their couch, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you will sleep on a mattress on the floor, or in a spare room. Couchsurfing is a great way to meet friendly locals and stay for free. This is also one of the best ways to stretch your travel budget.
12. Find an online community
Search for Facebook groups or online communities to help you network with locals or other travellers in the same destination. When I was in Sri Lanka I used a facebook group called Sri Lanka Taxi share to find rideshare opportunities which helped me save money and make friends at the same time.
I guarantee these tips will help you to make friends as a solo traveller.
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