Traveling solo is one of the best ways learn about yourself, but also to meet like-minded travelers. People are open-minded and curious, and often gung-ho to have new and thrilling experiences. It may be a challenge to meet fellow adventurers at first, but then it comes easy.
1. Stay at a Hostel
A hostel is a great way to meet fellow travelers. Hang out in the common areas or strike up a conversation with your bunk bed partner. Suggest going out for a bite to eat together–the best friendships are made over food.
2. Contact Friends in Your Destination
It can be extremely rewarding to hang out with old friends in new places. Look them up—whether they are a student studying abroad, or even a friend of a friend, having a connection can help. Meeting for coffee or walking around downtown is a great way to catch up. They’ll have that special local perspective and show you all their favorite haunts that the guidebooks might miss.
3. Make Friends Partying
There are fewer places easier to strike up a conversation in than in a bar. Choose the type of bar wisely–sports bars or beach bars or Irish pubs each draw their own unique crowd. Drink wisely, smile, and relax a bit—you’re on vacation.
4. Join a Pub Crawl
Most pub crawls are run through hostels or local tour companies, and can be a great way to meet other people while traveling! They usually consist of beer-loving individuals and hit the must-see venues around town.
Plus you don’t have to rely only on yourself to initiate conversations entirely, as the guides tend to be great hosts that keep up a friendly atmosphere. It’s a great, fast way to bond in a more controlled environment.
You can also try the pub crawl’s classier cousin—wine-tasting.
5. Take a Tour
Sign up for a day trip in or around your destination. All the guests will be foreign just like you–but what better way to bond than over the love of a place? You’ll meet people with the same interests and maybe join them after for a beer.
Some hostels or cities offer free walking tours daily, so along with getting a bearing of your destination, you can strike up some conversation.
6. Find a Local Meet Up
Sign up on Meetup.com and meet people with similar interests wherever you are. Groups form all over the world based on common hobbies: creative writing, sailing, programming, practicing French. The opportunities are endless.
7. Become a Volunteer
If you volunteer, you can support a cause and meet people – not just travelLers – at the same time. Check out large nonprofits and local organizations for ways to volunteer around the world.It is an amazing and enriching experience recommended for anyone!
8. Take a Class
You can sign up for a class and meet people from all over. Check the local hostels—there may be brochures and flyers for language, cooking, sport classes, and more. Cooking classes give you recipes and special techniques from your host country, and bring a unique souvenir (your newfound talents) back with you when you come home.
For the best way to meet locals, place a public notice, request to be hosted or look up the frequent local get-togethers posted on the local site.
10. Put Yourself Out There
This is the most important technique applicable to every situation above and my expression for a policy I follow everywhere. It is amazing the people you will meet. Almost everyone – locals and travellers – have an interesting story. Strike up a conversation and you never know where it will lead (refer to the conversation starters listed below). It always amazes me when I see people always sitting alone who never make an attempt to meet others.
This may be easier for men as women may not want to be too forward with male strangers especially locals. At times, I have made an attempt to talk to absolutely everyone: on buses, trains and planes, when queuing in lines, anybody, everywhere. You will soon find out if you want to continue the conversation. Not everyone will interest you. But if the attempt is not made, you will miss out on the most interesting interactions.