Making new acquaintances while travelling alone or relocating abroad is a fantastic opportunity! But how can you create new friends when you have no idea where to begin? Making friends when travelling alone may not appear to be a difficult task, but you must be strategic.
In order to befriend strangers, you must be outgoing and friendly, as well as know how to position oneself in the ideal settings.
How to make friends while traveling solo?
From traditional hostel dorm room friendships to chance meetings with other backpackers on ferries who have turned out to be fantastic pals. Most of the time, these bonds will form on their own, although this is not always the case. Making friends when travelling alone will be simple for you, whether you are an extrovert or an introvert. Here are some fantastic methods to meet new people when travelling overseas!
Hostels are not only inexpensive; they are also an excellent opportunity to meet new people! Sharing a place with a group of other travellers is a terrific way to meet new people. Furthermore, there are likely other people travelling alone who are looking for companions. Many hostels include cafés and common areas that are ideal for socialising.
Read also: How To Make A Hostel More Comfortable
Staying in the home of a local is another great way to meet people during your travels. Plus, you have the added benefit of immersing yourself in the local culture and daily life. By staying with a local, you can tap into that person’s knowledge of the area. This can lead to opportunities and experiences that you might not have had on your own or with other travelers. And they may just introduce you to friends and family too!
Homestays are a particularly good way to meet new people because you can authentically learn about the place you are visiting. And you will have an even greater time if you treat the experience as an exchange. Don’t just take away – food, experiences, lessons. Share your own culture and experiences with your host too!
If you are looking to stay in a homestay, a good place to start is with https://www.homestay.com/. You can look for more location-specific options by searching for homestay organizers in the area you plan to visit. (For example, you can type “homestays in Chile” into Google).
As always, be mindful and respectful when you are staying in someone’s home. Check out these useful tips on homestay etiquette from Go Overseas.
3. Shared apartments through Airbnb
Have you ever booked a private room through Airbnb? Unlike when you book an entire home or apartment, you often share the space with the host or other guests. This can be a great opportunity for you to meet locals or other travelers, without the craziness of a hostel. When you reserve a shared room, you will be sleeping in an area shared with others, as well as sharing the overall space. Shared rooms are popular among flexible travellers searching for new companions and low-cost accommodations.
Couchsurfing is a site through which locals and travelers can meet.
Staying with a local for free on Couchsurfing is a good way to save money and make a new friend while traveling. Through Couchsurfing, you can make new friends from around the world and engage in cultural exchange. I personally have some safety concerns with Couchsurfing, so I have not used the site for stays. (But there are many people who have and love it!)
Did you know that there are also events and conversation threads on Couchsurfing? This is how I have used the site, and I have made friends this way during my travels. Whether you attend a group salsa class, ask a question about the best cheap eats in the conversation threads, or directly contact another person with similar interests, Couchsurfing provides many ways to connect with other travelers and locals during your time abroad.
If you worry about couchsurfing safely, check out this guide to couchsurfing from Chantae was Here. I think most of her tips apply to both women and men who are planning to try couchsurfing!
Meetup brings people from a local community together for events or gatherings. You can go to the website, enter your location, and find groups of people who share your interests. Why not join a weekly hiking trip? Go to a workshop on startups? Participate in a book club meeting? Or just head over to the local pub for a fun social gathering? Whatever your aims, you are likely to find many ways to connect through Meetup.
6. Tea with Strangers
Tea with Strangers is exactly what it sounds like: a community that connects total strangers to meet up over tea! (Don’t worry, people are usually ok if you order coffee instead!)
You might think this sounds awkward. I mean, what would you have in common with a complete stranger? Surprisingly, quite a lot!
At my first Tea with Strangers in Boston, I met two other young women who I found engaging and inspiring. It was as if we had been friends for a long time! We exchanged contact information, and one of them even came to my apartment for a get-together.
Tea with Strangers is best for people who plan to settle in a city for some time, since its focus is on building a local community. You can even apply to become a host!
Tea with Strangers is currently only active in a limited number of cities, but it is expanding! If you are in one of these cities, you are in luck: Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Nairobi, New York City, Philadelphia, Princeton, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Plus, they are coming soon to the following cities: Austin, Berlin, Cambridge (UK), Detroit, Miami, Portland, San Diego, and Toronto. If your city is not listed, you can submit it on their website.
7. Facebook groups
There are a bunch of Facebook groups that are good for connecting with other people while traveling.
You can join travel groups on Facebook such as Girls Love Travel, Girls vs. Globe, Female Digital Nomads, or Men Who Travel. These groups sometimes have lists of people with their current locations, so that you can contact people directly. Or you can post on the wall and see if anyone else in your area would like to meet up!
Many cities also have their own Facebook groups where people advertise events and meet-ups. For example, if you plan to visit Boston, join the Secret Boston group for a pretty comprehensive view of what is going on in the city.
8. Language exchanges
Language exchanges are a mutually beneficial way to meet new people. You can practice your foreign language skills, help your partner with theirs, and hey, you might just make a new friend!
You can find language exchanges through Meetup. You can also search on Facebook for groups of expats in the city you will be visiting or on Google for language exchanges in your destination.
Volunteering can be a great way to give back to the community and make friends while you’re at it. A good place to start looking for volunteer opportunities are websites focused on travelers, such as WWOOF (volunteering on organic farms), Worldpackers, and Workaway. You can also search Google for volunteer programs in your area or ask on that city’s Couchsurfing threads for recommendations.
However, there are many ethical concerns you should consider when you are volunteering abroad. Look for a program that genuinely puts the needs of the community first. For a good resource on how to find an ethical volunteer program while traveling, check out this guide from Maria Abroad.
10. Ask friends!
Finally, let your friends know that you are traveling! Often your social network stretches further than you might think.
When I decided to move to Mexico for a few months, I had meals with a couple of friends, mentors, and professors before leaving the country. Almost all of them had a friend, coworker, or other connection in Mexico who they were more than happy to put me in touch with!
Plus, you might even have a friend in the country already! Last year, I had an 8-hour layover in Dublin. I posted on Facebook asking if anyone had any recommendations for what to do for 6 hours in the city. One of my best friends from high school wrote to me and said he actually lived in Dublin! It was a win-win; I got to see a good friend AND get a personal tour around the city!
(If you’re wondering how I didn’t know my good friend lived in Dublin, there’s no good excuse. I knew he had moved to Europe with his German girlfriend, so I just assumed he had moved to Germany!)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is meetup a good way to make new friends?
Meetup is a great way to meet new people. I’ve met some great friends via Meetup, and it was especially useful when I was new in town and wanted to go out and meet new people. It may take a few attempts to discover your folks or the perfect organisation, but it will expose you to individuals you would not have met otherwise.
Some individuals have never attempted to make pals using a website or app. Because it seems strange and alien, people are sceptical if it will work. Others are hesitant because they have already attended a Meetup.com event that did not go well. They’re debating whether to give it another go. Meetup is just as secure as other social networking networks, as long as you use care when meeting with someone you’ve met via the internet. You may also report abusive users to hold them responsible for their behaviour and ensure that everyone who visits the website does so in a secure atmosphere.
Meeting new people does not have to be difficult since sites like meetup take the scheduling out of the equation. To really create sincere friends and develop long-lasting connections, you must go beyond meetups and make an effort. It’s worth it, believe me.
How do I make friends with locals while traveling?
Food is perhaps the greatest way to “learn a place.” Despite this, many visitors dine at their hotels or at traditional restaurants that cater to foreigners. These restaurants provide cuisine that is nothing like what the locals consume. Choose places that are packed with locals, even if they seem less appealing than your average diner. You may become friends with your waiter and bartender and come back every day. They’ll quickly offer to take you somewhere when they’re not working.
The majority of my road trip pals I met while sleeping at hostels. It is most likely the most tried-and-true method of meeting friends when travelling. With that considered, I found hostels to be a little alienating for me as a black woman on sometimes. I wouldn’t forbid them, but I would advise being comfortable enough to leave a hostel if you ever feel insecure. Purchase from a local. You may make them laugh by wearing them and acting silly in them. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money while purchasing anything. You can purchase something for the equivalent of 50 cents and they will still respond the same way.
Read also: 9 Ways to Act Like a Local in Tokyo
Is shared Airbnb apartment safe?
So, finding a place to reside on Airbnb is quite safe.However, this does not eliminate the possibility of making a mistake. Airbnb has been in business for a decade and has grown to be a popular alternative to hotels all around the globe. The built-in chat system on Airbnb makes it simple to ask hosts anything ranging from where the next metro station is to whether or not the kitchen maker in the apartment includes coffee.
Airbnb has put many safeguards in place to protect its visitors’ safety. This involves risk assessment, background and watchlist checks, and the distribution of free carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. When they enter into their Airbnb account, Airbnb hosts must agree to certain health and safety rules. To assist hosts meet and comprehend these new criteria, hosts are given tools and resources like as articles, videos, checklists, and suggested materials.
A note on safety
As always, exercise caution when you plan to meet strangers. Always do so in a public place, preferably during the daytime. Always trust your gut and remove yourself from any situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Making new friends abroad is an amazing experience. But be sure to look out for yourself, especially when traveling solo without anyone around to help you out in a pinch!
What are your favorite ways to meet people while traveling?