5 Ways To Make Friends When You’re Travelling Solo
Friends you meet when travelling are often friends for life – you’ve met at a time where you feel like you can be your true self, bonded instantly over traveling, and made tonnes of new memories with them. There’s a high chance that one day you’ll see them in another country for another adventure, or crash on their couch.
This all sounds great, but first you have to find them. So, what’s the secret to meeting people other than staying at a hostel? These tips will help you make friends when traveling solo regardless of where you’re staying, or if it is your first or twentieth trip.
#1 Download a “friend app”
There’s so much hype around finding your next girlfriend or boyfriend on dating apps, we often don’t think twice about swiping right to find potential friends. Yes, it can feel a bit vulnerable and awkward when you meet at first, but it is such an easy way to meet people, especially in a big city – even more so when you’re travelling solo.
Once you start to scroll through the app store you’ll realise there are actually more options for this than you thought. I’ve tried both Bumble BFF and Tourlina before – both slightly different but ultimately will help you find people to meet near you. Tourlina can take up to 12 hours to verify your account though so best to set it up before you start your trip, or at least before you want to meet people.
Sorry guys, these apps are only for the ladies. If you’re looking to meet people you could try Meetup to find events near you that you’re interested in, and talk to others who have also RSVP’d.
#2 Join a tour
Ever felt a little overwhelmed when you get to a new city on your own? Joining a free local walking tour will not only help you get your bearings, but also meet others like you travelling on a budget.
If someone on the tour, or perhaps the tour guide asks you to grab a bite or a drink don’t think twice. Just say yes!
When you’re prioritising your experiences and being yourself, then the invitations will come. Embrace this and go with the flow. Or perhaps, if no one asks you but you’re not ready to go home yet, you could put on a brave voice and ask them if they’re keen to do kick on.
#3 Hang out at the local hostel bar
Just because you aren’t staying there doesn’t mean you can’t chill out there – in fact it’s the best of both worlds. You get to enjoy the atmosphere, then retreat to your cosy hotel or Airbnb for a peaceful sleep – ah, the life of travelling solo.
Pull up a stool at the bar and when the moment is right, introduce yourself. It could be to someone else who is relaxing after a day of sigh-seeing, or even the bar staff. Either way, it’s a great way to meet people in a relaxing environment and ultimately, you have nothing to lose – worst case scenario at least you’ll get some good people watching done.
#4 Take a class
Learning the language, how to cook a local dish or the steps to a traditional dance is not only the best way to understand a new culture, but also a great place to meet other travellers with similar interests.
The great thing about this is, the instructor will do the ice-breakers. You just need to be ready to step outside your comfort zone and answer questions, perform in-front of others, or share the food you cooked over a tasty lunch.
Give it a go, chances are you’ll come out of this with a new skill, and a new friend.
#5 Get over your stage fright, and simply talk to people
Have you ever thought you would never eat dinner alone? Or go see a movie alone? Well, now that’s a thing of the past. You’ve dived into the deep and you’re travelling alone. The least you could do now is speak to someone. It can be a little daunting in countries where you don’t understand the language, but body language also goes a long way.
Smile at someone who also seems to be travelling alone, ask if someone would like you to take their photo so their arm isn’t in the selfie, or even pull up a chair next to someone who gives off travel vibes at a café and ask if they’d mind if you sat there.
Remember you already have something in common. You are both travellers, and even if you find out this person might not be a long-term friend, at least you’ve built your confidence for the next time you try.
And you reckon travelling solo might not be for you, you’ll probably identify with this.
(Lead image: Riccardo Bresciani / Pexels)