5 Ways To Make Friends While Traveling Solo
What I love most about my travel experiences are the friendships I developed and the interactions I have with people. Sometimes my friends laugh at me because I tend to make buddies in the most random places. But fear not, you do not need to be a social butterfly to meet people. Whether you are traveling solo or just interested in making friends while you travel abroad, here are 5 of my most prized tips that I guarantee will lead you to making a new friend or two.
1) Stay in a Hostel
I know some of you may be totally against hostels. A few years ago, when I was planning my first trip to Europe with my friend Jessica, she cringed at the suggestion of staying in a hostel. She was not having it! However, hostels are not all bad. The biggest benefit of staying in a hostel is the many opportunities to connect with people. Also, you don't have to stay in a dorm-style room, they usually have private rooms available too. You can stay in a private room and still experience a social stay. One of my best hostel experiences was at the Living Lounge in Lisbon. I liked how the guests were a mature crowd and the hostel was very clean. Living Lounge served breakfast and dinner, which offered a great opportunity to talk and meet others staying in the hostel.
2) Go on a Free Walking Tour
Ok, so you still aren't convinced staying in a hostel is for you. There are tons of other ways to make friends! There are plenty of free walking tours in Europe. Sandemans is one of the popular walking tour groups that operates in a variety of cities. Walking tours attract a lot of backpackers and solo travelers, aka. people who will love to make friends. During my trip to Lisbon my friends and I went on a walking tour and met Laura, who was traveling solo, but became our travel companion throughout our stay.
3) Give a Helping Hand
I embrace opportunities to help people, because I've been on the receiving end many times during my travels. If you see that person or group of friends struggling to take a selfie, go over and offer to take the picture. EVERYONE has been there and appreciates the help. When I'm traveling on a plane, I usually offer some of my snacks to the person next to me and use that as an opportunity to begin a conversation. Also, wake them up when the snack cart arrives. You know that dreadful moment, where you wake up from a nap and realize the snack cart went by and left you hanging... yea you can save someone the despair! I received all sorts of insightful travel tips from just being kind to people. These are just a few examples of ways to help people while you're traveling, but the opportunities are endless.
4) Attend a Meet up and/or Couch Surfing Event
There are a plethora of online groups and events that could connect you with other travelers and help you make friends while traveling. Meetup and Couchsurfing are some of the more popular online platforms for connecting people. These platforms are a great way to meet people who love what you love!
5) Ask Friends for Connections
Simply creating a Facebook status letting people know the destination of your next trip can lead to a lot of recommendations of things to do, but also connections to people. When I was planning my trip to Thailand, I updated my status asking for recommendations and my friend connected me to her Thai friend in Bangkok. We met up while we were there and she took my friends and I to an amazing local restaurant and tea bar we wouldn't have found on our own.
If you are a more private person use the Facebook search feature to search for your destination of interest. Facebook will show you which of your friends have visited. Go head and slide in their DMs and ask if they have friends in the area.
Beyond these 5 tips, the keys to making friends while traveling are to:
Keep an OPEN MIND.
Remember most PEOPLE LOVE TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES and give suggestions.
Remember you are AWESOME and have an UNIQUE story to share.
Be YOURSELF & HAVE FUN.
What are your tips for meeting people while traveling alone? Do you have an interesting story about a random stranger that made your trip special? Let's talk about it in the comment box below!
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