A lot of people are afraid of travelling alone because they fear loneliness. Especially in the evenings. But don’t worry, meeting others while you travel is actually really easy! I’ve listed my tips on meeting new friends, dinner companions and drinking buddies on the road:
1. Stay in a hostel
If you are willing to sacrifice a little comfort for fun and budget friendly accommodation, then hostels are perfect. They are filled with young, broke backpackers who love to exchange tales and meet new people. The best hostels also organize activities to help you get in contact with the other guests and simply introduce yourself to your roommates when you arrive.
2. Join a free walking tour
Walking Tours are not just a great way to explore a city, they also help you meet new people. There will be plenty of material to pass awkward silences, simply comment on something you’re looking at or ask them where they are from. If there are other solo travellers in the group they might want to come to that museum with you, have lunch or join you for a drink later.
3. Join a pub crawl
Just like walking tours, pub crawls drop you in a group of strangers, with the added benefit of alcohol as a social lubricant. And pub crawls often give you a great deal on a night out with free or reduced drinks.
Workaway, WOOFF and the like allow you to exchange a few hours of work a day for room and board. The work varies from babysitting to farming, cleaning or chores. This is especially suited for a longer stay and great for budget travellers. Working at a hostel is especially fun as you’ll have both your colleagues and guests to hang out with.
Tinder, or any other dating app, is designed specifically to meet people. Of course, the first objective is not platonic, but it can still work for that as well. Simply edit your bio to reflect what you are looking for and how long you are staying. And if you are open to a date, who knows, maybe the love of your life is a local 😉
Couchsurfing allows you crash on a locals couch so it saves you money as well. Couchsurfing hosts love to meet new people, show you around their city and hang out. Not ready to sleep at a strangers house? Couchsurfers also organize activities for travellers that you can join anyway. If you get the Couchsurfing app and create a profile (which is free) you can also use Hangouts. It’s basically like a platonic version of Tinder. You write down what you would like to do, became available and see other travellers and locals in your vicinity would like to hang out, go for a coffee, hit up a museum, get dinner, etc. I’ve met some really awesome people through Hangouts when I was traveling alone. The highlight was definitely a massive group hang out at the Festa del Redentore in Venice.
Meetup is a website and app that lets people organize events around certain hobbies, interests or commonalities. There are probably some like-minded people in the city you’re visiting that are meeting up while you are there.
8. Talk to strangers
Okay, okay, this one is a little on the nose. But it is the key to all of it. It scary and awkward, but very worth getting out of your comfort zone. As soon as you get over the hurdle and just strike up a conversation you will notice that most people are very happy to chat with you. It can be someone standing next to you in a museum, someone in line at the supermarket, the waiter at a restaurant, someone sitting at the bar. Just saying ‘hi’ can go a long way. But of course, always keep your wits about you and don’t put yourself in risky situations.