Solo travel doesn’t mean that you’d have to travel alone. You might board your plane alone, but you will barely spend time on your own after that! There are interesting people everywhere and you might end up spending your entire holiday with them.
If you haven’t traveled solo before, this might sound sort of funny, but solo travel is actually the easiest way to meet new people. Although you might doubt your abilities to meet people and make new friends, with some effort, you’ll find yourself surrounded by like-minded, life-lasting friends in no time!
If you’re anything like me, you want to be more prepared and confident before striking up a conversation with a stranger. You want to know something about the person, have a common interest, or something that bonds you together. Here are reasons why meeting other travelers is just fantastic, and the ways I have discovered the best when meeting new people during solo travel.
Why are other travelers awesome company?
Travelers are open-minded
Travelers believe that being different is only a positive feature. They have experienced so many cultural exchanges and shocks, that they are used to seeing the ‘different’. Travelers do not judge your being based on your opinions, looks, nor background, and are rather curious to find out more and hear stories from another perspective. Therefore, you don’t have to be too careful on what to talk about when meeting other travelers. Just remember to stop worrying and to start having fun!
Travelers are more social and adventurous
Travelers have got out of their comfort zone when going to an unfamiliar city or country. Why do they keep traveling? In order to have adventurous experiences and get out of the comfort zone again. This makes them more confident in achieving anything, and therefore, they are willing to go off the beaten path to experience new adventures.
Have you noticed that travelers often talk to everyone around them? Traveling makes you more social because, especially, as a solo traveler, you have two options: to make friends or ending up being alone. In addition, travelers often have awesome stories to share, which makes people want to be around them.
Travelers are more relaxed and great problem-solvers
As nothing can be completely planned in advance, and even if it could, unexpected things can happen. Travelers often deal with issues, such as missing flights, slow transportation, delays, disappointing accommodation and not speaking the local language. These are situations, where you can’t do much about it and just have to adapt and move on.
Still, travelers manage to solve the situation and continue their travels. Furthermore, because of the unexpected events occurring and travelers always finding themselves surviving these situations, they stress a lot less when a mistake happens. They know that everything will turn out fine in the end and all the stress was for nothing. Hence, they will have a more relaxed way of looking at anything that’s going on.
Travelers are less materialistic
Did you ever pack too much for a trip? While traveling, you will notice how much stuff you actually need. Travelers understand that the only thing you can buy that makes you richer is a trip. Of course, traveling isn’t free, but when traveling, you will quickly notice how cheap it can be as long as you don’t spend money on unnecessary stuff.
Where can you meet people when traveling alone?
Stay in hostels, and give Airbnb or Couchsurfing a try
Staying in a hostel is one of the easiest ways to meet other travelers. Not only you will most likely be sharing a room with others but also hostels often have communal areas, where people get really social. Even if you’re not sleeping in a dorm room or staying at a hostel at all, you can still have a drink at the hostel bar and attend events organized there. And don’t worry if you’re not the partying type of person, opportunities still range from getting to know people over the free breakfast to taking part in games or activities.
Alternatively, when it comes to meeting people at your accommodation, options providing homestays, such as Couchsurfing and Airbnb, are great ways to meet other people. Often, they are so much more than just cheap or free accommodation! Although you might not find other travelers in these places, the hosts are very often open to show travelers the country’s culture and make them familiar with the local way of living. Local hosts have treated me like family, shown the area’s hidden gems and introduced me to the area’s best street food.
One of the things you definitely shouldn’t miss during solo travels is the nightlife. Attending nightlife is also one of the best ways to meet new people whether they are locals or travelers. To avoid the awkwardness of showing up alone in a party or bar, look up events happening in the destination. Often, concerts, pub crawls, beach parties, and events where people are welcome to join, are being posted on social media. And don’t forget about party boats that turn into day parties!
Take courses or day tours
A great way to spend a day on other travelers’ company is by booking a day trip. Everyone on the trip chose the same destination for a reason, so, at least, you’ll have something in common with them. Furthermore, you won’t have to plan the whole day by yourself!
Even better option is to take a multi-day trip: having a few days together with the same people, having dinner together, doing activities together, and having to take long bus rides together. For instance, a trip from Hanoi to Sapa takes between 5.5 and 8 hours, which gives you more than enough time to bond with fellow travelers. That’s how new acquaintances become life-lasting friends!
If you’re staying in a certain destination for a longer time, it could make sense to learn something new, for example, by taking language classes or learning to scuba dive. Meeting the same people regularly in the classroom creates a setting where everyone has at least one thing in common, which bonds you as a group.
Use social media and travel applications
Don’t be afraid to use social media as a tool to meet people! Meet your social media friends in real life or organize a meetup with people from the same Facebook travel group. Furthermore, multiple apps, such as PackitUp, allow travelers to meet others from around the globe regardless of where you are. You can either look for trips posted by others and join them or create your own and find inspiring travel buddies!
Hopefully, you’ll find some of these tips useful and feel more prepared to take the step to traveling solo. And, don’t worry if you won’t have a connection with everyone, you’ll surely meet some like-minded people! Solo travel has, most importantly, taught me about the joy of travel: that other travelers are incredible and that I’m never actually alone. Which are your best tips for making friends while traveling solo?