So was I, but it turned out that it was the best thing I’ve ever done. If you wanna know why then check out my previous blogpost here. Besides, traveling alone is not lonely, which you might think. You’ll meet so many great new friends on the trip! If you aren’t sure on how to find new friends, then here’s my best tips on how to find friends while traveling:
First of all, make up the courage and approach people. Most of your fellow travelers are in the same boat, so one of you has to be the courageous one. A great way to meet people is liquid courage if you just need to step out of your comfort zone.
Stay in a hostel
Staying in a hostel, and you’ll, without a doubt, meet new friends. Just make sure that you choose a somewhat popular hostel, so you won’t be alone in your dorm room. Even if you don’t fancy sharing a dorm room and prefer a private room, I would still recommend staying in a Hostel, as you’re able to meet loads of people in the common areas.
Hang around the hostel bar/common areas
As I said just before – go and chill in the common area! There are often so many people hanging out in the common areas, playing games, cooking food, or just reading a book. Be approachable and open-minded, and before you know it, you will be chatting with new friends.
Join free walking tours/pub-crawl
A lot of walking tours are free, but are also an excellent tool for meeting new friends – and even while you sightsee. That’s a win-win! Sites like Freetour and Guruwalk offer free tours (tips are encouraged though).
Many hostels also provide you with free tours and activities like pub-crawls, trivia nights, among others. Ask the staff at the reception, and see if they have any tours you can join.
Join full-day/multi-day tours
When you are “forced” to be with people for a longer period of time, it’s easier to connect with them. Book a full day or even a multi-day tour, and then you’ll have loads of time to chat with people.
It’s often easier to befriend people on smaller tours, so it might be worth it to book a group-tour with fewer people.
Use the internet to find friends while traveling
If you prefer to socialize online, you’ve got plenty of opportunities. There are many sites who try to link travelers together, like Yourtravelmate.com, triptogether.com, Lonelyplanet.com. There are many facebook groups as well, where you can just post and look for fellow travelers who wish to meet up. Just search for “travel mates” on Facebook, and you’ll get loads of results. You can also search for your destination and post in one of the groups associated with your destination.
Another tool is Couchsurfing. You can meet locals while getting a free night’s sleep. It can be a pretty scary thing to do. (I was a so nervous and frightened when I did it in Singapore, but it turned out fine, and I got a really authentic experience, so it can definitely be recommended)
Use APPs to find friends while traveling
When you have embarked on your journey, your smartphone becomes your most trusted companion. It follows you everywhere, carries its own signal (if your carrier supports the country), and let’s admit it – you won’t open your laptop at any point during your trip unless it’s an emergency!
There are APPs for everything nowadays, and below I’ve listed some of my favorite ones that are perfect for linking up with friendly people!
Withlocals is a site that allows locals to arrange tours and activities in their own city. Even though it’s mainly a marketplace for connecting locals with tourists, you can still be lucky to meet new friends for life.
When traveling, we all want to try out local and authentic food and Eathwith is perfect for that. Some of us even join a cooking class or two. Eatwith is the platform to use if you wish to try local food, but instead of a restaurant, it’s just local people offering to cook and dine with you in their private home. Talk about a local experience, ey!
Gomore and Blablacar
Gomore and Blablacar are two apps that are pretty similar. They connect people who need a ride with people who have a car and are going the same way. Kind of a mixture of hitchhiking and Uber, as you’ll have to pay for the ride. Being in a car for many hours often leads to small-talk, and this could lead to new friends. If not, at least you got a cheap ride!
These tips have helped me find friends while traveling – and even when I’m just at home. I hope they will help you on your quest to find travel mates as well.