Traveling solo can be a daunting experience for many people, especially if you’re in between relationships or your friends have already used up their vacation days for the year.
But traveling solo doesn’t have to be lonely. There are plenty of ways to socialize with others while you’re on the road. Whether you’re traveling to a new destination or sticking to a tight budget, here are some suggestions for making new friends on your next trip and staying in touch after you return home.
Traveling Solo – Planning Your Trip
- Stay Where You Want. When planning your trip, consider staying in alternative accommodations instead of chain hotels. Major hotels may be more efficient for business travelers, but you’ll have the opportunity to meet a wider range of personalities if you choose short-term rentals, hostels, or family inns. These types of accommodations are also great for meeting other travelers who are also looking to socialize.
- Verse Yourself in the Language. Another great way to connect with others while traveling solo is to study the language of your destination. Even if you don’t have time to become fluent, learning basic phrases will show locals that you’re making an effort, and they’ll be more likely to engage with you.
- Utilize Your Smart Phone. Another way to connect with other travelers is to use an app. There are a growing number of apps that allow you to find a travel companion and coordinate arrangements. Some popular options include Backpackr, Travello, and Tourlina (which is exclusively for women).
- Be Charitable With Your Time. Volunteering your time is another great way to create an instant community while traveling. Sign up for a group service project, and you’ll be able to connect with like-minded individuals who are passionate about making a difference. Websites like Workaway often provide free boarding in return for your time, and you can also contact a charity that you already support to discuss their programs.
- Act Like a Local. If you’re feeling a bit more shy or reserved, you can also reach out to a local before you arrive. Ask someone you know if they know anyone where you’re traveling to. You can also Google the organizations you belong, to get some tips for the area. Set up a lunch or coffee date if they’re available, and you’ll have a friendly face to greet you when you arrive.
- Post on Social Media. Not only will your friends suggest things for you to do while you’re on your trip, but it will also feel like all of your friends are right in your pocket traveling with you. Which can make the trip less lonely. And don’t forget to follow us on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
Traveling Solo – Taking Your Trip
- Go With the Flow. Once you arrive at your destination, it’s important to be flexible. Make sure to try new activities and you can even talk to strangers. You never know when you might stumble upon a new experience or make a new friend. Be prepared to change your daily schedule if someone suggests something interesting or exciting.
- Try the Local Cuisine. Eating out is another great way to connect with others while traveling. Sharing food encourages conversation and asking to be seated at the bar instead of a private table will give you the opportunity to strike up a conversation with other travelers. Invite others to join you for meals or buy street food that you can take to a park bench.
- Find Local Groups & Events. If you’re passionate about something, look up local Meetup groups or check community calendars for events that align with your interests. Whether it’s wine tastings, scuba diving lessons, or a hiking group, you’re sure to find others who share your passions.
- Play Nice With Others. Playing a game is another great way to connect with others while traveling solo. Bring along a deck of cards or a miniature magnetic board game, and your fellow travelers may be grateful for the entertainment on long train and bus rides.
- Be Inquisitive. Asking questions is a great way to learn about your destination and connect with locals. Ask locals or more seasoned travelers for their recommendations and invite others to talk about themselves and their experiences. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn from other travelers and locals.
- Act Like a Tourist. If you’re still having a difficult time connecting with others or you’re tired of arranging your own itinerary, take a tour. Most cities will have walking tours for various museums, monuments, and neighborhoods, and these tours are a great way to meet other travelers and learn about the destination from a local guide. You can also join a group tour, which will give you the opportunity to connect with a larger group of people who share similar interests.
- Ask For Their Digits. It’s also important to collect contact information from the people you meet while traveling. When you meet someone that you want to stay in touch with, be sure to ask for their details before you move on. This way, you can continue an online relationship or even show them around if they come to visit where you live.
- Always Watch Your Back. Lastly, it’s important to stay safe while traveling solo. While many fellow travelers and locals will be sincere and helpful, it’s important to stay alert when you’re far from home. Protect your valuables, meet in public spaces, and leave if anything makes you feel uncomfortable.
In conclusion, traveling solo doesn’t have to be lonely. By keeping an open mind and following the tips mentioned above, you’ll discover plenty of opportunities to make new travel buddies anywhere you go. Connecting with others will enrich your travel experience whether your paths cross briefly or you become lasting friends. So, don’t be afraid to be that person traveling solo, you never know who you might meet along the way.