Making friends from all over the world is one of the best parts of solo travel. You meet so many crazy, amazing and like-minded people.
The people you meet can make or break a destination. Having new people to experience new things every day is something you will remember for the rest of your life. It can also be really sad because you know in a short time you will have to say goodbye as one of you move onto the next city or island. The worst part is that you never know if you will see that person again. But make sure you get their Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat or whatever and who knows maybe you will run into each other one day in the future.
Here are my top tips to making friends while you are on your’re solo travels or even in a group.
1. Accommodation – you will always meet so many like-minded travellers when staying in hostels. I only ever stay in hostels, just saying ‘good morning’ to people while you pass in the dorm could spark up more of a conversation, then possibly you have a friend to travel with for a few days.
2. Travel by train or bus – you’ll meet interesting people in transit, particularly when travelling via land.
3. Free walking tours – in many cities there are free walking tours that your hostel offers. This is not only a great way to see the city with also learning a little, but also a great chance to meet fellow travellers.
4. Be open to encounters – speaking to strangers is not nearly as daunting or unsafe as you were led to believe in your childhood.
If you don’t spark up a conversation with a stranger you will be friendless for your whole trip, and that won’t be much fun.
5. Take a class – learn a language or a new skill such as cooking – it’s a great way to meet people and the food you cook is delicious!
6. Ditch restaurants – instead opt for a bar or a casual cafe where you can mingle with others. Or my personal option is grabbing some street food and walking around the city while you eat.
7. Do a tour – sometimes it’s nice to break up your trip by going on an organized tour. This is the easiest way to meet people as you are all forced into being friends.
8. Smile – sometimes that is all it takes to spark a conversation. A simple smile goes a long way.
9. Join the Expat community for the specific city or country – for me, this has been the easiest way to meet up with people all around the world. I just post saying where and when I will be there and ask if anyone would like to meet up for a drink or go see a local attraction together.
10. Get out there! The only way you will meet people is if you are out there in social situations, ready to make new friends. While it is tempting to spend a day indoors when you’re feeling lonely, the only thing that will guarantee is that you won’t meet anyone sitting in your bunk.