Trying to figure out how to meet people when travelling the world solo? Here are some helpful tips for meeting people while travelling, which include both online and offline suggestions.
Before I embarked on my solo trip across the UK and Europe last year, my mum was worried that I would struggle to meet people and spend too much time alone, like my solo trip around the States a few years ago. But in fact, the opposite happened. I met and spent time with so many different people, my introverted self was craving alone time after a couple of weeks! So if you’re nervous about travelling alone as you think you’ll be lonely, fear not. Here are some helpful ways I’ve met people around the world as a solo traveller.
Stay in hostel dorm rooms
My number one tip is to stay in hostels dorms. As someone who stays exclusively in private rooms or female dorms, I’ve found that in female dorms the majority of women are fellow solo female travellers. In San Diego, Grace and I hilariously bonded over the amount of effort it took for us to get into our top bunks, which were very close to each other. We then happened to travel up the coast together and had fun in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.
In Edinburgh, my roommate and I went out for dinner. In Brussels, my roommates and I spent the day exploring the city together, and visited Bruges on a day trip. Then in Amsterdam, I spent a morning walking into the city for brunch with my roommates. Just start with a simple hello and go from there. If you’re both in the room and thinking about dinner, why not ask if they want to grab food with you? This also worked from me in Honolulu, as I dined out a couple of times with my roommates.
Hang out in hostel common areas
Speaking of hostels, common areas are also a great place to meet people as a solo traveller. I’ve had more success in my dorm rooms, but when I’ve been sitting in common areas, I’ve seen a lot of people chatting and going off to explore together.
Reach out to Facebook friends
Don’t underestimate the power of Facebook. I’m not a frequent user, but I like to think of it as an address book of sorts. In Glasgow, I had to sign in to the hostel’s WiFi through Facebook. This led to a comment from a girl in Edinburgh, who my family hosted way back in high school when her school was on a hockey trip. We ended up catching up for afternoon tea in Edinburgh.
When I first moved to Vancouver, I stayed in a dorm at Samesun for too long, but this is where I met Angela from London. We became Facebook friends and met up when I was in London for dinner on Brick Lane, which was close to my hostel. During my time randomly working at the German Christmas Market in Vancouver, I became Facebook friends with my Czech and German coworkers. I then met up with my Czech friends in Prague.
Speaking of social media…
Although I didn’t meet up with anyone from Instagram on my most recent trip, I have met people through the app since being back in Melbourne, so I thought I’d include this suggestion. Because I’m obviously travel obsessed, I follow a lot of travel bloggers, as well as travel-related Instagram accounts and hashtags (like my beloved #teamkaptainkenny). Why not reach out to someone you follow if you’re in their city? The worst thing they can do is say no.
Choose a group tour
Another way you’re guaranteed to meet people while travelling is on a group tour. I’ve done Contiki tours in both Europe and Asia, and I am still friends with people today I met on these trips (you know, thanks to Facebook). We even did a girls trip to Hobart a few years ago.
Even if a big group tour doesn’t interest you, there’s always free walking tours or organised day trips. Although I’ve never met people in these settings, Ashley from Ashley Wanders says group tours work for her when travelling solo. Ashley always does a walking tour or food tour as soon as she arrives in a new city, and she’s met a lot of people that way. Another person who has good things to say about group tours is Allie, who loves doing SANDEMANs tours and bar crawls in new cities to meet people.
Surf some couches
Although I didn’t couchsurf in Europe, I did use the alternative accommodation option a few times during my United States trip. In Boston, my couchsurfing host was very welcoming and her spare room basically became a dorm, as there were a few of us crashing at the one time. We went out for dinner, to trivia with her friends and to a couchsurfing event. It was so fun!
I also couchsurfed in Charleston and Montgomery in Alabama, where I spent my evening watching my host play kickball and then drinking at a local bar. My couchsurfing experiences are still some of the most memorable moments of my time in the States.
Although I haven’t used Airbnb a lot as a solo traveller, staying in a private room in someone’s house or apartment is a guaranteed way to meet people.
Remember, I’m a total introvert. So if I can meet people and make friends on my travels, I have faith that you can too 😉
♥ How to make friends in new cities
♥ My top hostelling tips for solo travellers
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