Quite often, people are afraid to travel solo, fearing that they cannot make friends while traveling, that they don’t meet people on the road, worried that this will leave them feeling lonely and homesick. Whilst this is a legitimate worry, the truth is that meeting people on a solo trip couldn’t be easier, you just need to know how!
This guide will detail different ways and tell you how to meet new people during a solo trip. Whether it’s choosing hostels over hotels or embedding yourself into the fabric of local life, there are so many ways to make friends abroad.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to make friends whilst traveling and our guide for the shy tourist…
Solo travel is a trend: why it’s like that and what you can expect – find out in this awesome article about solo travel tips. Because traveling solo doesn’t have to be that lonely after all!
Hostels Over Hotels
This is perhaps the best way of meeting new people during a solo trip. Whilst the charms of a hotel room are many – who doesn’t like a plush private room, king size bed and room service – they can leave the solo traveler feeling more than a little isolated.
While many hostels offer private rooms that are just as swanky as many hotels, we urge you to try a hostel dorm room in the next place on your itinerary! Just by hanging around the room you will meet new people and the inevitable list of traveling questions can soon lead to a stimulating, interesting conversation with new people. The communal living that accompanies a hostel makes conversing and connecting with others feel natural, making this one of the very best ways of meeting friends on the road.
Another way of using the community-centered ethos of a hostel to your advantage is by visiting the bar. Many hostels have amazing, fun bar areas that often serve great food. Whether during the day or night, hostel bars can be a wonderful place to meet others because they are full of people doing exactly that! The awkwardness of meeting people in an ordinary bar or nightclub evaporates at a hostel bar with easy-going and open-minded traveler types constantly looking for connections with people.
And you know what? The hostel lifestyle isn’t just for the adventurers! Grab your whole family and live your best (vacation)-life in a family-friendly hostel! There are just a few recommendations for your stay. Read here how to handle family vacation in a hostel, the seemingly imperfect coupling.
Trains, Planes and Automobiles
One of the great joys of travel is the downtime afforded during the hours and hours you will surely spend in transit. However all of those train journeys, bus rides, and flights can stack up and, after all, there are only so many new songs and podcasts out there to listen to – the perfect opportunity to open up a little and make a connection with your neighbor.
Maybe it’s the person in the seat next to you or maybe it’s the only other backpacker on a 36-hour coach journey from hell. Either way, you will be surprised how receptive others can be during transport: people’s guards drop a little after hours of travel!
Offer some food, comment on the scenery – literally anything – and you’re likely to strike up a conversation. After all, who knows where that could lead to. You might make a friend for life or at least a few hours. Some of the most interesting, illuminating conversations you can have happen on trains, planes, and automobiles!
One of the best icebreaker for a conversation in an airplane? Giving the seat neighbor a little hint that you’re scared of flying. 🙂 Yes, it’s depressing and annoying to have this worry but make the best of it. And believe us: it’s a good feeling to connect with the person next to you. Because it will take your mind off your fear and allows you to focus on something (or let’s say: someone) else! But moreover, you can find 5 ways to cope when you’re scared of flying here (just to calm yourself).
Get Active and Make Friends while Traveling
Travelers enjoy experiencing trips, activities, and excursions in some of the globe’s most exotic and exciting places. Whether it is a three-night trek into the jungle or a simple trip to a museum, join a guided tour or excursion and meet people on the road. Odds are, many of the people involved will be solo travelers too, and even if they are not you will be surprised how open others are to meeting new people on the road!
Another great reason to join trips, tours, and excursions is the trip to the restaurant and/or bar afterwards! This is especially true in backpacker hotspots, where travelers are just as interested in the social aspects of their trip as in the culture or nature.
Join a Language Class
We love learning the lingo during travel. Firstly, it shows a great deal of respect to the local population if you actually make the effort to speak their language, ingratiating you in a way that pointing and shouting in over-pronounced English simply never could. Second, you will be able to connect with locals in a deeper, more profound way if you can speak to them in their native tongue. This might be easier in languages that are more familiar such as French, Spanish or Portuguese, yet the power of learning a few words in lesser known languages should never be underestimated!
Not only does learning a language help you meet locals and gain an understanding and appreciation of their culture, visiting a local class to learn the lingo might allow you to make some awesome new friends! Odds are that you will meet a ton of other travelers with a curiosity for languages and culture, putting yourself in a zone to meet like-minded people! In addition, the communal aspects of a language class mean that they often eat and drink together after studying, a great way to socialize and practice language skills together.
Make Friends While Traveling: Use Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing is another way to meet locals, tourists, and expats across the world. Not only does it offer you a free place to stay, but it also brings you together with like-minded folk who are game for a great conversation or at least a couple of beers!
Create a profile and start asking around on the website. Even if you don’t end up finding a place to stay, Couchsurfing organizes cool meetup events and groups that are geared toward meeting new friends abroad.
Of course, Couchsurfing is something for the braver ones but let’s give it a try – especially as a traveling woman you might struggle with this thought. Need more safety traveling tips? No problem, here you find them!
And for those who have seized the spirit of adventure
Yay, now you know how to deal with your shyness and how to make friends while traveling! Are you looking for an even bigger adventure now? Maybe moving for a while – to another city, country or maybe even another continent?
Congratulations! That’s a great decision and we are sure that you will have the time of your life and learn in many ways. We prepared the super-duper tips of why, when and how to move abroad (with extra tips for connecting with other people!).