How to make friends while traveling solo:
To state a famous quote by William Yeats, “There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.”
When you set out for a solo trip for the first time, you’ll probably be thinking that you’ll be all alone during the entire journey. But that’s not the case! It is obvious that you’ll meet other people on the flight, on a bus, at the accommodation, during local sightseeing, et cetera.
Your journey will be full of exciting encounters with locals and other travelers—each of whom has a different life than you. And each person you interact with will have something to contribute to your travel story.
If you are a little skeptical and wondering how to make friends while traveling solo, then here are some tips that might make it a little easier for you.
Check them out before you head off for your solo journey and create memories that last for a lifetime:
1. Stay at a hostel.
When you choose to stay at a hostel, you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of other travelers of varying ages and from different parts of the world. You might just stumble upon your new bestie who’ll be sharing the bunk next to yours!
The best part of hostel accommodation is that it’ll be extremely pocket-friendly and thus, several backpackers end up choosing to stay there. You’ll have an incredible chance of meeting some avid travelers who’ll have a bag full of interesting stories to share, and they’ll probably end up inspiring you in making your journey more meaningful.
2. Alternatively, choose to couch surf or stay with a local host family.
It might seem a little scary (especially for solo female travelers) to drop at a stranger’s place in a faraway land and stay overnight, but trust me, it isn’t that bad! In fact, couch surfing or homestays are the best ways to befriend a local who can show you the place’s hidden gems and give a perspective that usual tourists would never experience.
Living with a local will also give you a chance to know more about the country, its culture, traditions, savor authentic home-cooked meals, and much more. You can also learn a few commonly used phrases in the local language from your host—it’ll help you a lot while traveling.
3. Be active on social media.
In today’s world, if you aren’t on social media, you’re probably missing out on a lot! Just kidding, but you can actually make a lot of friends through social media. People who are also traveling solo in that particular destination—just like you.
Several Facebook groups serve as a community for travel-obsessed souls and wanderlust seekers. You never know whether a stranger sitting at a café on the other side of the street might be liking your Instagram posts, and it’ll take just a moment for you to connect with him or her.
4. Step out of your comfort zone to initiate a conversation.
If you want things to happen in life, the chances are that they’ll never happen. The same goes for great friendships. If you keep waiting for the other person to approach you, there’s a high possibility that they won’t. Instead of getting disappointed in such a situation, you can be the initiator and say the first hello.
All it takes is the guts to step out of your comfort zone and approach the person. Start your conversation by asking a common question, like, “Which country are you from?” (Or something similar.) Soon you’ll find yourself chit-chatting with a new friend.
5. Go on a pub crawl.
As they say, alcohol is the best social lubricant, and a few pints can always help people bond. Most of the big towns and cities all across the world usually have organized pub crawls where travelers hop from one pub to another, catching up over alcohol.
Pub crawls always bring out the fun and outgoing side of people, and it can be a fun-filled way to make friends while traveling solo! However, remember that pub crawls aren’t necessarily for getting drunk. You can be a sober drinker and get engaged in some amazing conversations with your newly-made friends.
6. Choose to volunteer for a meaningful cause.
While traveling abroad, most millennials opt to be a part of a volunteering project to serve the host community. This will add more value to the journey and help you make friends who have taken up a similar cause. Usually, the volunteers will be from different countries, coming together to work for the betterment of the host community through sustainable change.
Being a part of a volunteering journey with a bunch of like-minded fellows will enable you to broaden your social circle and help you develop your skills. Your travels will become even more storytelling-worthy after such an incredible experience, and you’ll surely end up making some wonderful friends.
7. Go for a planned day tour.
Spend a day with a bunch of fun-loving travelers.
You can usually sign up for a tour with any travel company, and this would basically serve two purposes:
>> You’ll get to travel and explore some amazing locations.
>> You’ll get to make friends with those who’re a part of the same tour.
Since you are on a solo journey, I’m guessing that you are flexible with your itinerary; hence, booking a group tour to make new friends shouldn’t be a problem. And the best thing would be to end up making a core group with whom you can plan to travel again in the days ahead.
Smile and say, “Hello.” Everything else will unfold on its own.
Now, the next time you are planning a solo trip, you know the hacks for meeting people and making friends abroad! Just remember that your personal safety should be your priority—trust your gut feelings. And, hopefully, you’ll end up meeting some fantastic travel buddies.