How to Make Friends When Traveling Solo.
Traveling solo has it perks, but you may be wonder, “how do I meet people” or have thoughts like “what if I get lonely?” For me, after about the third day of exploring a new city on a solo trip I am ready to meet friends. I am super social so it could take you longer before you come to that moment. Whether it is people who live in the country I am visiting or other fellow travelers, I am always down to get to know other people in foreign places. If they are travelers like me, we usually have similar outlooks, goals and interests so it makes it easier to connect, find things in common, and even make future travel plans. In most of the places I have been, I have meet some pretty amazing people. It almost feels as if we have known each other our whole lives.
You may be thinking about traveling alone but nervous about how you will meet people along the way. Trust me it is way easier than it sounds. If you aren’t quite the social butterfly yet, below are 6 (tested) ways you can meet new people while you are traveling.
1. Stay in a Hostel.
Hostels are one of the easiest ways to meet fellow solo travelers. If you aren’t down with sharing a room, you can get a private room for cheap and still have the perks of meeting other people journeying the world. I was a little nervous solo traveling for the first time, then I met people from all corners of the globe traveling from 2 weeks to 5 years alone! You really meet unique people and that are interested in getting to know others as well.
2. Send out a PSA on Instagram (this works every time).
This one never fails me. No matter how large or small your following is, people are more than likely following you because they a). like your content and b). like you. If that is the case, send out a message to your audience before you get to your destination to see who lives there, knows someone who does or can connect you with people there, who knows they may even be traveling there at the same time.
3. Find yourself in local coffee shops, beaches or working spaces.
Travelers love free spaces. If they are anything like me, you will find them working on their digital enterprise in a coffee shop or co-working space. Grab a cup of coffee, share a table and start chatting. The beach on weekdays are a good place to run into potential friends, most tourists are going to be there on weekends and peak hours so try to avoid that if you are looking for more of a long term connection. You never know who you will run into.
4. Go on a free walking tour or Airbnb Experience.
Pretty simple and fairly cheap. There are high chances you will run into people like yourself, wanting to explore the city and experience as much as they can.
5. Sit at the bar when you go to restaurants.
Although it may seem weird at first, sitting alone at the bar allows people the invitation to come right up to you and talk if that doesn’t work out, 9 times out of 10 the bartender will engage with you. This is how you find out about local spots, off the beaten path things to do and who knows may even end up at the club with them (true story).
6. Take advantage of carpooling apps.
If anything this will save you money. I find that carpooling in foreign countries with apps like Bla Bla Car, Uber Pool and Lyft Line I am bound to meet new people. This is a popular method of transportation for travelers and young professionals trying to save money. Most of the time you end up in a crazy conversation and realize you know the same people or are from the same town across the ocean (again true story).
Whatever it is that you do, don’t be afraid to just talk to people. Go out on a limb say hi. Yes, it may feel crazy at first but after that initial awkward moment you may walk away with a lifelong friend, your next travel partner or at least someone to take a dope photo of you.
Maybe we will run into each other somewhere. Drop a line below if you have tried any of these or have other recos.
xo - Jakiya