Solo travel has become increasingly popular as a way to explore the world, meet new people and find a sense of self. However, traveling solo can also be lonely. There are a handful of tried-and-true methods to use to make meeting people easier and enrich your travel experiences.
Here are a few ways you can make sure you leave your destination with new memories and new friends.
Stay in a hostel
This is a classic go-to for solo travelers, especially young adventurers looking for communal experiences. If you are a traveling couple or are just wary of sharing a room with strangers, plenty of hostels allow you to book single rooms. That way, you’ll have privacy when you want it, but you can also benefit from the hostel’s social spaces and energetic vibes. Many hostels host group events, like group tours or game nights.
Plus, there are chances to bond over food at a complimentary breakfast or while showing off your culinary skills in the community kitchen. As a bonus, hostels are usually less expensive to book and can often give you access to more of a locals-only experience than other accommodations.
Facebook offers a plethora of communities for people with shared interests, including travel. One of our personal favorites is the Girls Love Travel group, a community with more than one million members that offers tips, recommendations and sometimes even a place to stay for fellow travelers. The sense of community on a well-managed Facebook group can make you feel connected to like-minded travelers all across the globe.
Plus, you can reach out and meet people traveling (or living) near your location. A little searching will reveal travel and social groups tailored to your interests or itinerary. Be sure to check out expatriate groups if you are interested in meeting people who have emigrated to their favorite destination. Expats can be a treasure trove of knowledge for getting to know a local scene as a foreigner, or just getting by in a different culture.
Nowadays, there’s an app for everything. When it comes to solo traveling apps, it’s just a matter of narrowing down your best options. We recommend Backpackr, a great social networking tool for solo (or group) travelers looking to meet fellow backpackers in their area. The app’s common room gives you insight into your location, with recommendations and tips about sightseeing or local food.
You can also check out a similar platform, SoloTraveller, which connects you with nearby travelers for anything from a shared tour to a shared taxi. For foodies, apps like Eatwith connect users with nearby foodies for anything from cooking classes and cafe crawls to locally hosted authentic dinners and chef-driven tasting menu events in the area. You can also check out Meetup, a community-based app for social events if you’d like to meet more people in the local scene.
Don’t pass up group experiences
Most travel destinations have a ton of companies that offer group tours and travel packages. Don’t be shy about signing up for that ziplining tour or evening pub crawl. This is a great way to get out of your room and make new memories while meeting people.
Some destinations may be a good fit for volunteering, so ask around about a local beach clean-up or charity event that you could join. A quick Google search will put you in touch with local tour companies, or you can refer to apps like Meetup that offer a ton of group-based events.
Be open-minded during your travels. You may have a strict itinerary for hitting all the top-listed sight-seeing spots in an area in two days. But sometimes you need a little flexibility if you want to meet people and make more unique memories. Don’t be afraid to switch up your plans if a great opportunity presents itself, and take the chance from time to time to come out of your shell and comfort zone.
Along with being open-minded, we want to remind you to stay safe. Many apps and forums offer controlled settings to enhance your safety, but nothing is foolproof. Always use your head and trust your gut when it comes to traveling, and have a backup plan in case you ever need one.
Traveling can be one of the most enriching experiences we have during our lifetime. The chance to explore other cultures and environments gives us an understanding of humanity that we wouldn’t otherwise have. Experiences and memories will last you a lifetime, so don’t be shy and get out there. Explore all of your options, keep an open mind, and be safe.