A question I get asked all the time is “Chelsea how the hec do you meet so many people on your solo adventures?”
Well I think I’ve had quite a lot of good luck with meeting the right people at the right time but I also think it’s the energy you put out that boomerangs right back at ya!
Of course the fact that I’m an extrovert probably plays a role in my friend making abilities!
So without further ado, here are 6 foolproof tips on how to meet people easily while travelling alone…some who may even end up being lifelong amigos!
disclaimer as with everything: please take precautions. Try to update people back home with where you’re going and who you’re going with. Better to be safe than sorry.
1. Be approachable – if you’re brooding alone in a corner, arms folded with a frown on your face staring down at your phone, it’s unlikely that many people will approach you. Maybe someone will ask you what’s wrong and you’ll become friends but it isn’t the best way to go about making friends. Instead, adjust your non verbal communication aka don’t fold your arms, be relaxed and look around you and just be receptive and offer a smile to show that you’re open to welcoming communication.
2. Make the first move – don’t be afraid to speak to someone or to make a comment to spark conversation. This has landed me some of the best encounters with people who I’ve been friends with for years and even met up with again in other countries! Striking up conversation on a bus or a train with a fellow solo traveller is one of the best ways to make friends!
3. Online Apps – Couchsurfing, InterNations and yes even Tinder have led me to the most amazing people! I know there’s a taboo around Tinder as it’s known for being a hook up app but I totally disagree! It’s what you want it to be. Just be honest, clear and direct about your desires from the beginning. I typically write at the top of my profile that I’m on holidays in the country and looking to make LOCAL FRIENDS.
If Tinder is still daunting to you then check out the Couchsurfing app. Their hangout feature is awesome to meet locals and fellow travellers available at that exact moment in the same city as you! I had a great New Year’s experience in Naples, Italy with people from all over the world thanks to Couchsurfing.
4. Be open – now this may boil down to your personality and comfort level. I’m naturally more extroverted than I am introverted especially in foreign countries when I’m travelling alone. I’m also quite curious about people and new cultures in general and these are all factors which create friendships. Asking questions about another person shows interest and that you care so make that effort and it will yield great rewards!
5. Stay in a hostel – I honestly haven’t done this in years (I’m in my 30’s and just prefer having my own space while traveling) but when I did it it was a great way to meet and hang out with people from all over the world!
6. Group Tours – I personally haven’t done this outside of airbnb experiences where I became friends with the tour guide (who then took me on my own free private tour) but several fellow solo travellers have told me this is another great way to meet similarly minded travellers!