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How to make friends while travelling alone

I believe we've all been there. When you finally decide on the where, when, and what of your trip with a friend, after weeks of back and forth about locations and itineraries, you get incredibly excited and start making preparations. Only to then find out that your friend's brother is getting married that week or that they read a news article about how unsafe your destination is. The trip never takes place, no matter how hard you try to resolve a compromise or alternative date... Having gone through such scenarios, I gave up trying to travel with friends and opted to travel solo... I no longer had time to wait because I had places to explore and I found, new people to meet.

“There aren’t strangers in this world, only the friends you haven’t met yet “

Instagram: ddulanjalee

By D-Lee

There are plenty of advantages to traveling alone. It forces me to thoroughly immerse myself in the location and local culture and allows me to do whatever I want, whenever I want - I love traveling alone.

When I'm traveling solo, I'm rarely truly alone. Meeting new, interesting people is my favorite aspect of travel. Because of this, whenever I read accounts of people who went on solitary vacations and experienced constant loneliness, I feel awful for them. As every one of us is different, traveling alone cannot be as enjoyable for some people as it is for others. But I firmly believe that traveling alone can be a communal experience when done well.

Anybody who travels alone can make friends and benefit from a deeper experience! I'm pleased to share my top 10 recommendations with you on how to meet people when you travel alone.

How to make friends while traveling alone: 10 suggestions

1. Show affability

Well, this one should go without saying, but guess what if your body language tells everyone to leave you alone, nobody will make an effort to engage you in conversation.

If you wish to meet new people, keep the following in mind:

  • Reduce your use of technology. Most people will immediately avoid you if your head is buried in a phone or computer, or if you’re wearing a pair of earbuds.

  • Avoid closed body language

  • Remember to smile.

2. Allow spontaneity

Here are some good travel tips whether you're looking for new friends or traveling in a group.

Planning every minute of your travels will not only leave you feeling stressed and tired all the time, but you'll also miss out on opportunities. You meet cool people at hostels or on the bus and they invite you to do something with them, but if you've planned and paid for the rest of the day ahead of time, you'll probably miss the opportunity.

3. Join an online travel group

I've found some great solo travel groups on Facebook where people can share advice and find and meet other people who are in the same area or traveling in the same place.

4. Learn languages

If you want to immerse yourself in the culture and make friends with the locals, having a basic understanding of the language will help you a lot. For a long time, I knew how bad my accent was, so I was pretty embarrassed to even try to speak another language. But now I just get on with it.

5. Use travel apps

While there are apps and social platforms aimed at enhancing every aspect of the solo travel experience, here are some great ones to help you make friends while traveling solo.

6. Volunteer or have a work exchange

Volunteer and work exchange opportunities with organizations such as World Packers are a great way to make new friends while traveling alone! Am I in touch with you? At World Packers, you spend a lot of time with your colleagues and hosts, you live and work with them, so even the most introverted traveler can easily meet new people.

7. Stay in a hostel

Staying in a hostel is the absolute best resource for making new friends while traveling solo.

Here are some ways to meet people through hostels.

• Hang out in common areas

• Join hostel activities

• Show up for breakfast and don’t sit alone!

8. Start conversations on the move

I met some of the most interesting people flying! I once got into an argument with my emotional support dog, Boston Terrier Elvis, and his owner while flying from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. I communicated with both Elvis and his mother during the flight and exchanged contact information with his mother. When I moved to New Orleans about a year later, I was able to reconnect with them.

People from all walks of life fly for myriad reasons, so you never know who might be sitting next to you.

9. Use a co-working space

If you're a digital nomad, co-working spaces are a great place to meet up with friends while traveling!

10. Visit local hangouts

If you want to make friends with locals while traveling, ask them about their favorite local hangouts. In big cities, you may have to venture out of your neighborhood to find them, but that will only enrich your experience.

Once there, don't be afraid to strike up a conversation! Chatting with people who live in the places you're visiting is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and get insider tips! There are many connections you can make while traveling. I hope you'll use these tips for your next solo trip and make some great new friends!

Always remember to take the best safety precautions when traveling alone (or in a group). Should I avoid strangers at all costs? No! However, there is unfortunately malicious intent everywhere in the world, so always keep your safety in mind.

Memories are unforgettable and experiences are just as valuable. At your next destination, you might meet some amazing people you wouldn't have met if you weren't alone!


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