Let’s face it, if you’ve always been surrounded by your close group of friends and family, it can be daunting to branch out and make new friends. Frankly, you may have forgotten how to make friends with complete strangers. It’s not that scary once you put your pride aside and just say “hello”, but if you need some suggestions…
Here are some ways to Meet New People as a Solo Traveler
Stay at a Hostel
A hostel is by far the best way to meet new people! Staying in a shared accommodation with other solo travelers opens a lot of gateways to striking up conversation over breakfast, shared dinner, often times a happy hour, or just in the dorm. If you see people playing a game, don’t be shy! Ask to join because they probably just all met at that hostel!
Join a Pub Crawl
Pub crawls are usually ran by really fun leaders that help break the ice and get things started. It’s a great way to loosen up in a slightly more organized way.
Take a free Walking Tour
I love catching a free walking tour in a city I haven’t done any research on. They’re usually comprised of solo travelers and backpackers too, so you’re sure to start chatting during a 2-3 tour! Use this time to scout out nice restaurants or bars, then ask the group if anyone wants to go for lunch or a drink afterwards!
Find a Traveler Meet-Up
The internet is such an amazing tool these days for travelers. Facebook has plenty of groups for travelers and expats organized by city, which have plenty of scheduled meet-ups to join. There are also websites – like meetup.com – which offer more intricate, organized activities for travelers focused on meeting new people.
Assuming you haven’t made any travel plans yet, trying out a study abroad program is a guaranteed way to meet people who already share a common interest. You’ll technically start as a solo traveler, but instantly meet a group of people and a local family if you have a homestay. It offers some organization, but plenty of opportunities to branch out solo and meet people.
I love couchsurfing for meeting locals in a city that I want to really connect with. I’ll stay with a local so I can get to know them and their country over a meal or drink. Hosts also tend to give really great tips about a city that no guided tour or hostel may know!
Go to a Festival
Whether it’s a music festival or a country’s annual tradition (Oktoberfest or Running of the Bulls perhaps?), festivals are often a gathering of likeminded, fun-spirited individuals that want to have a great time and love life. There are often companies that will arrange camping or travel for groups of solo travelers, which is prime time to make some new friends.
This sounds uncomfortable, I’ll admit – especially if you’re from a bustling city like New York or London where you’d be given the evil eye for striking up conversation on public transport. However, if you’re taking a bus or train to your next city, there’s probably other travelers in the same boat as well… er bus. Buck up the courage to ask where they’re headed, where they’ve been already, or inquire about what they may have heard is a must-see. I find most of my accommodations this way when I don’t have data on my phone and haven’t pre-arranged.
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