A lot of people worry that they’re going to get lonely when they embark on a solo world trip. What they don’t realize is that traveling alone actually means you’re opening yourself up to more social experiences than if you had gone with your same old usual crew.
You don’t have to be a bubbly, outgoing social butterfly to make new friends while traveling alone. Even the most introverted, shy people in the world could widen their social circle by listening to our tips below. I hope you’re feeling confident, BUCKiTDREAMer, because we’re about to go through the best ways to meet new friends when traveling alone.
Stay in Hostels Ask any solo traveler you meet and they’ll tell you that the number one way to make friends when globetrotting is to stay in a hostel wherever you go. Though some fancier BUCKiTDREAMers might balk at the thought of living in a dorm room, don’t fret! Hostels are evolving to suit the traveler who misses their creature comforts when they’re away from home. Most of them now have private rooms for those of us who don’t feel like sharing our living space.
Even with the extra added privacy of your own room, hostels are still the most social places to stay – once you venture outside your room every once in a while! Hostels are usually packed to the brim with open-minded travelers from all over the globe, each one just as eager to meet new people and make new experiences as you are. You’ll even find that like you, most people are traveling alone. Strike up a conservation at the breakfast table, share a couch in the garden, or offer to buy a shot for your neighbor at the hostel bar!
If you don’t have the courage to start chatting within the hostel, sign up for any and every hostel group trip that you can. These trips are hotbeds for social activity and you’ll be grouped in with other solo travelers, bonding over embarking on the same adventure. There’s nothing quite like a stomach-turning bungee jump or a dizzying zipline to bond a group!
Stay with a Local If you feel like meeting new locals on your travels, go one step further and stay with a local during your stay in a new country. With websites like Couchsurfing it’s never been easier to connect with a host – sometimes you can even do it for free!
The best thing about staying with a host rather than in a hostel or hotel is that you’ll get a truly authentic experience while staying in their country. You’ll see what local homes, customs, and people are like the genuine way, not through activities aimed at tourists. The type of people who are willing to open up their homes and lives to a tourist are some of the nicest people in the world and you’ll encounter genuine hospitality and culture during your stay.
Though the vast majority of people on hosting websites are genuine, it’s important to thoroughly vet any host you’re thinking of staying with. Unfortunately, there are some scam artists out there who prey on unsuspecting tourists, so ask for references before your stay – a genuine, honest host wouldn’t be offended.
Download an App The age of smartphones has made just about every aspect of our lives exponentially easier, from shopping to scheduling and even dating! Well, the same can be said for traveling. Not only do you have amazing travel planning apps – ahem, like your beloved BUCKiTDREAM – but there’s also plenty of apps that can help you link up with other travelers and locals looking to meet new people around the world.
Sure, you can use apps like Tinder and Bumble to meet new people, but for those of us just looking for something platonic – and who don’t want to get our hearts broken by some exotic lover – an app like Backpackr is really great. Using Backpackr, you can take a peek at other traveler’s plans and if they link up with yours, you can strike up a conversation and start making plans together. Backpackr is super popular among solo travelers, so wherever you are in the world, you’re bound to find some like-minded people to share your time with.
Using an app takes the worry of rejection out of meeting new people while you’re away. Though this is an incredibly unlikely thing to happen to you when making new friends, it’s often a solo traveler’s number one worry when it comes to approaching people in new places. So download some trusty apps and get searching!
Be Flexible with your Plans Last but not least, when traveling solo, it’s best to keep your plans flexible so when you do meet some NBFs, you can keep the fun going by traveling to new places together. You’re guaranteed to meet someone you click with instantly when you’re on a long trip, so it’d be seriously disappointing to have to part ways due to a too-rigid itinerary.
Keeping your plans loose is a foolproof way to follow the fun and meet even more new friends on your crazy adventure. Staying fun and carefree is key to travel happiness!
Traveling solo can be the most fulfilling experience of your life, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay solo for your whole trip. Use the above tips and tricks for making new friends and soon you’ll have a whole new party posse with you wherever you go. Make sure to snap any pictures of you and your new squad and share them across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to inspire fellow BUCKiTDREAMers to ditch their social fear and make some new global friendships of their own.