The greatest part of traveling alone is having the chance to make friends while traveling. Flying solo is great, don’t get me wrong – I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. I have the freedom to lounge on the beach for 6 hours, spend a day at museums, or eat Ben and Jerry’s for dinner.
One of the best parts of traveling solo is having the chance to meet people just like you.
The way I make friends while traveling is that I generally go out of my way to talk to people. I have been lucky to have met some lifelong friends while traveling, and I am grateful to now have friends all over the world. Let’s get into the specifics: Here are my best tips for making friends while traveling.
Always Stay in a Hostel
Hostels are built for interaction, making it easy to make friends with other guests. Hang out in the lounge and ask other travelers questions about what they like to do, where they are from, what they like about the place you are visiting. Ask someone if you can borrow a phone charger, some cooking oil, whatever you can to strike up a conversation. People in hostels are generally open and friendly. Strangers can become friends in no time !
Ask People in Your Hostel for Tips on Things to Do / See
Hang in the common area of the place you are staying and ask other travelers what they’ve seen so far. Throw out some suggestions for things you’d like to do and ask if they want to join you. Finding people with common interests is a great way to start planning activities together and become friends.
Do An Organized Activity
Organized tours are a great way to meet other travelers, and often solo ones just like you. If you want to go dolphin swimming or to a nearby island, skip the solo trip and consider taking a tour. For something more casual, hostels often advertise events like bar crawls or city tours. This is a sure fire way to meet awesome people.
Go On A Free Walking Tour (or Any Walking Tour)
What better way to meet other travelers than exploring a city for the first time? Free walking tours are common in large European cities and becoming more popular around the world. I have even met friends I’ve continued traveling with after the free walking tour. Ask questions, get curious, be friendly and smile!
Thanks to Couchsurfing, I rarely feel lonely while traveling. Couchsurfing is the perfect gateway to instantly meet locals and other travelers, especially if you’re an introvert or a little intimated to talk to strangers. It helps you find a free place to stay, host others in your home, or meet up with travelers and locals. Couchsurfing is also a platform for meetups, get-togethers, and events with other travelers. I have been hosted over 20 times – some hosts have been busy the whole time while others have shared a meal or sightseeing. One host was a tour guide and took me on a personal tour of Porto, Portugal!
This one might not be for everyone, but don’t stop reading just yet! Some of the safest areas for hitchhiking are New Zealand and Western Europe. If you have a bit of extra time, are feeling adventurous, or are just tight on cash consider hitchhiking to your next destination. It is an awesome way to meet locals and have a conversation with someone you would not otherwise have met.
Want to start hitchhiking but don’t know where to begin? Click here.
Be A Good Conversationalist
Lots of people don’t know how to have a conversation… Perhaps social media is to blame. When talking to people it’s so important to questions, really listen to the answer, and ask follow up questions! This is a great way to get past the typical traveler conversation that trails off (i.e. where are you from, how long are you traveling, etc).
Do Something You Love
Maybe you love coffee, lifting weights, reading in parks, listening to EDM, whatever it is, find an event near you where you can do it. Seeking out activities you love is a great way to make friends who share your interests. Most importantly, stay positive and be confident. You’re doing great!
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Traveling solo means you need to be social and extroverted in order to meet other travelers. It’s about pushing your boundaries and challenging yourself. It’s normal to be nervous, but just try it! Say hello to the next person walking into your hostel or your local coffee shop that looks friendly – you won’t regret it.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t make instant friends… meeting people is a process and not always easy. But most people who are traveling are just like you, open-minded and want to meet new people. Just be yourself and have fun. And chilling in your own company is just perfect too <3.