I enjoy solo traveling. It’s a fun, liberating and rewarding experience. Even though I travel alone, there are few times when I’m actually without company. Making friends while solo traveling can be easy because there is always a new friend to meet, someone to share an experience with or a stranger who can’t wait to tell you an exciting story.
The biggest perk of traveling alone is that you can go wherever you want, whenever you want, and you don’t have to depend on anyone’s schedule. You are free to explore on your terms.
Although it may seem a bit daunting to go on that first trip alone, it doesn’t have to be. Once you get to that place you have been dreaming about, you’ll start to wonder why you waited so long to go in the first place.
Here are a few ideas you can use on any trip, that will make meeting friends super easy.
Talk to the locals
When I travel, the thing I enjoy the most is meeting and talking to the people who live in the area I’m visiting. Whether it’s a quick chat asking for directions or something a little bit more in-depth, I always spend time reaching out to people who know the area the best. During my stay in Salvador, Brazil I met a woman while I was sitting at the beach, who only spoke Portuguese. Even though we could barely communicate, we still managed to have an excellent exchange for about an hour. She told me about her kids, showed me a few restaurants I should visit, and she bought me ice cream. While I was in Ilha Itaparica, a street vendor gifted me a beautiful shell necklace. I understood very little about what he was saying because of the language barrier, but we still made a connection.
Of course, you should always keep your guard up, and if something doesn’t feel right, walk away.
Connect to your network
I’ve stayed with my former roommate’s cousin in San Salvador, and my uncle’s ex-girlfriend’s friend’s house in Brazil by connecting to my network. Whenever I plan to visit a new place, I let my friends know what cities I’ll be visiting and always ask for tips/suggestions on that place. This has been a great resource for me because it allows me to connect with people who are from the area and I typically get to meet their friends as well. It’s a bonus if I also find a free place to stay! I love staying in hotels too, but after months of travel, there is something so nice about staying in a home.
There are people out there who will open their homes to you, so you have a place to stay during your trip. By using Couchsurfing, you are guaranteed to make at least one friend – your host, who can give you some tips on what to do, how to get there and where to eat. If you don’t think you’ll feel comfortable staying in a stranger’s home, you can try meeting people on Couchsurfing hangouts. While in Brazil, I spent the day around Salvador with a friend I met on the app and also traveled to Ilha Itaparica for two days with two other girls I met.
Here is a link to my Couchsurfing profile. Add me!
Participate in a group activity
Whether you want to go scuba diving take a dance class, or go on a free walking tour, there are always people who are interested in doing the same things you want to do. Right off the bat, you’ll have something in common with the people in your group, so it will be easier to make friends. I met some amazing people on my sailing trip from Panama to Colombia, and we ended up traveling in Colombia together for a while.
Friends I’ve met in my travels and in hostels:
I’ve met some of my closest friends in hostels. These environments are fun, great for budget travelers, and there are lots of people from all over the world to meet. You can also typically find someone who is on the same travel path, who might be willing to explore with you. Some hostels have activities you can join, so even if you are on the shy side, it will be easier to make new friends here.
If you are thinking to yourself, “I am too old to stay in a hostel,” then you would be surprised to hear that people of ALL ages stay in hostels. Many hostels have private rooms, so you don’t have to share a dorm, but you can still meet people in the common area.
Booking – I book all my hostels through booking.com. Help me stay on the road longer and get 10% off by using this link. It’s a win, win! –
Join a travel Facebook group
There are so many Facebook travel groups out there, join one! Find one for the area you plan to visit and connect with people who will be there during the time you are there. You can also get helpful information about your trip, from people who have already been there.
- Have you met anyone amazing while traveling alone? Share your stories in the comments.
- How do you make friends when you are traveling alone? If you have any tips, I’d love to add them to this post.
- Are you thinking about taking your first solo trip? Send me a message, and I’d be happy to share any advice with you.
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