Before I quit my job to travel, I dreaded the thought of solo traveling. I’m the type of person that likes to be around people, share experiences with others, and be around people at all times. So the thought of solo travel was never something that I ever wanted to do.
However, when I quit my job to travel, I was forced to journey around the world solo. Fast forward some mistakes, lessons, and time alone, I absolutely love solo traveling and am a firm believer that everyone should do it at least once in their life.
The thing with solo travel is that although you are traveling by yourself, you rarely are ever alone. The beauty about solo travel is that you have the option to be with people or be alone. You get to decide whether or not you want to be alone.
So if you’re like me, and fear the idea of solo travel, I’m here to tell you that you can make friends while solo traveling. There are so many different ways you can make friends so you’re not alone.
Airbnb is not just a platform to find and book accommodation. The platform also offers experiences that you can do. It’s a great way to book tours, try new experiences, connect with locals, and meet other travelers. Airbnb experiences vary from destination to destination, but some examples of experiences are tours, cooking lessons, snorkeling, baking, bike tours, etc. There is a wide variety of different types of experiences and a wide range of different prices.
There are so many different apps you can join to meet new friends while solo traveling. You can join Meetup, which is a social platform where you can join or host meetups with people that have similar interests, hobbies, and professions. It’s a great way to meet other travelers with similar interests as you. There are also dating apps you can join like Bumble or Tinder, or you can even try Bumble BFF to make friends.
Tours are a great way to meet other people while solo traveling. When you’re on a tour, everyone in the group is doing the same activity for a duration of time. It’s a great and easy way to bond, connect, and make friends. You can do a museum tour, city tour, snorkel tour, sightseeing tour, boat tour, etc. Free walking tours are a great way to meet people too. There are a lot of people who like to join free walking tours, and it’s usually free!
Stay in hostels
Hostels are a really great and easy way to make friends. Hostels usually attract a lot of solo travelers, which is great because other solo travelers are also looking to make friends.
Since hostels attract a lot of solo travelers, good hostels put a lot of effort into creating a social environment where travelers can meet other people. For example, hostels will throw a lot of events, activities, and tours for travelers to join and mingle. Some hostels will make sure they have a good common area for people to hang out in too.
Pro tip: make sure to read the reviews of the hostel and see what others are saying about the vibe. Some hostels don’t have a social vibe and might be hard to make friends. You can read the reviews from what others are saying and you can also read the description from the hostel to see if they throw any activities or events for the guests.
Find activities nearby
Even if you don’t like staying in hostels, you can still join the activities. You can checkout if there are any hostels nearby your accommodation and see if those hostels are throwing any activities or events. For example, some hostels have an attached bar which is a great place to stop by and make friends. Or some hostels have their tours and events open to the public so even though you’re not staying at the hostel, you can still attend.
It’s a great way to still experience the “hostel experience” and easily make friends, but still enjoy your accommodation style while traveling.
Join travel groups
There are tons of different travel groups you can join online and connect with other travelers. Search on Facebook for different travel groups, and join the ones that sound the most interesting to you. You can make a post in the Facebook group and see if anyone is in the area and would like to meet up.
Look for events
When you’re traveling, it’s always fun to try and experience different things. Look for any events, fliers, workshops, or city gatherings going on. For example, I’ve been to live music in the city center, concert in a park, full moon ceremony, beach clean up, etc. Joining events while you’re traveling is a great way to make friends while solo traveling.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, but also make new friends. You’re usually with a group of people for a specified amount of time, working together, and connecting with each other. It’s a great opportunity to strike up a conversation and hang out together.
Join city groups online
While you’re traveling, you can join Facebook groups that pertain to the city. A lot of cities have Facebook groups that you can join like “best places to eat in (city)” or “(city) travel” or things like that. It’s a great way to connect with locals and meet other travelers. You can also find out different events through the group too.
For example, I joined a full moon women’s circle in Tulum and we found it in a Tulum Facebook group. It was such a beautiful night, a lovely ceremony, and a great experience connecting with other like-minded travelers.
I know we’ve always been told that eavesdropping is not polite, but eavesdropping while solo traveling is actually a really great way to make friends! When done correctly and appropriately, you can ease into a conversation and meet other travelers.
For example, I was sitting in a restaurant in India and I overheard two people talking about Thailand. I was heading to Thailand next, so I chimed in and it ended up being 3 strangers talking about Thailand. Long story short, me and the girl I eavesdropped on traveled together from India to Thailand together and spent a week in Thailand together. All of that happened just because I politely eavesdropped.
Start a conversation
I know it can feel intimidating to start a conversation with someone, but something that I think is great to remember is that majority of solo travelers are also in the same boat as you – they also want to make friends. When you remind yourself that others also want to make friends, it takes the pressure off of you. Start a conversation with anyone you see. Start a conversation with them and see where the conversation goes.
Travel to popular solo travel destinations
Some countries and cities are popular solo travel destinations. Usually they’re safe, attract a lot of solo travelers, have a variety of things to do, and provides a beautiful experience. Countries like Croatia, Portugal, Thailand, Indonesia, and many others are great solo travel destinations. If you’re new to solo travel, try going to countries that are known for great solo travel destinations.
Invite yourself or invite others
I know this can feel awkward, but remember – majority of travelers also want to make friends. They also know what it feels like to solo travel, so they get it. If you see a group of people leaving, ask if you can join. Majority of the time, they will say yes. The more the merrier!
On the flip side, if you see someone alone, and you’re about to do something with a group of people, ask that person if they want to join. Since you know what it feels like to be in that position, inviting someone goes a long way and can make them feel very included.
A simple “can I join?” or “want to come?” can lead you to making amazing friendships!
As you can see, there are a lot of different ways you can make friends while solo traveling. Just because you’re doing the trip by yourself, doesn’t mean you have to be alone the entire time. You still can travel with others, experience amazing things, have company, and make amazing friends from all over the world.
There are even more ways to make friends while solo traveling, but start with a few of these and put them into action. And if you’re thinking about solo traveling, please know there are a lot of different and easy ways you can make friends. Please don’t let the fear of being alone prevent you from traveling the world. It’s a lot easier than you think.
One last thing…
Don’t be hard on yourself. I remember when I kept hearing, “it’s so easy to make friends” and I actually struggled, I was like what’s wrong with me? Nothing was wrong with me. Sometimes it’s a hit or miss. There will be times you put yourself out there and start a conversation with someone who just wants to be left alone. Or there will be times where you meet someone and you two actually don’t vibe well at all. And that’s okay. There will be more people that you will meet during your trip, and more opportunities to make friends.
So have fun with it, don’t be hard on yourself, and make new friends from all over the world!