It’s not always easy or comfortable to meet people when you are traveling alone. All the thoughts run through your head. You get paranoid. What are they thinking…
Is she alone because she’s weird?
Is she alone because she smells?
Is she alone because she wants to be?
If you’re shy, it’s even worse. You aren’t comfortable talking to people you already know.
The good new is, when you are traveling, everyone you meet tends to be open-minded and fun-seeking. If you start a conversation with a smile, 99 times out of 100 you will make a new friend.
But if you are feeling tongue-tied or nervous about making friends during solo travel, then there are some things you can do to help ease the awkwardness.
How To Meet Cool People When Traveling Alone:
Stay at a Hostel.
This is the most tried and true method of meeting people on the road. Hostels are set up to be social and fun. Before you book somewhere, just double check to make sure it has a common area where people gather. Some hostels also offer tours or organized nights out to the bars. Plus, there’s always other solo travelers looking to make friends.
It’s as easy as asking, “Any recommendations on what to do around here?” People love to give advice and tell you about all the cool sh*t they’ve done.
If you are against the idea of sleeping in a room with 11 strangers, many hostels also have private rooms. That way you can fart in peace, and still participate in their group activities or meet people in a hang out spot.
Put. Your Phone. Down.
Whether staying at a hostel or not, having your nose buried deep in your phone while you scroll through Facebook for the 100th time that day, it’s not very social. It’s a crutch, to make us feel less lonely. But while you’re looking at pictures of a cat dressed like a shark, you’re missing all the cool things going on around you.
In 2017, everyone is on their smart device. I get it. But sit down, and ask the person next to you, “How are you?”. Even if they are on their phone, I can guarantee you that they wish they were speaking to an actual human instead.
And if they’d rather curate their Instagram feed for two hours, then sucks to be them. They don’t get to meet you.
Be a Joiner.
Besides tours or bar crawls, you can always sign up for a class or join a local sport game. I met some really awesome people at a Thai cooking class while I was in Bangkok. We were so excited about all the things we learned, that we planned to meet the next day to cook food together.
If cooking isn’t your thing, then try to learn the local language. Just like being back at school, you will have built in friends and conversation partners. Then you can all go out together and butcher the language while trying to get a bargain at the local market. Good times all around.
Look for Events Online
Two great resources are Couchsurfing and Meetup.
You don’t actually have to surf any couches to use the site. They host events for other travelers to meet who are in the area. And Meetup is exactly what it sounds like- you meet up for different activities, whether wine-tasting or going on a hike.
The other people who are attending these events are also trying to meet like minded people and talk about how awesome it is to travel. Even if you’re shy, you’ll definitely make a friend.
The other option is dating apps, like Tinder, but make it SUPER CLEAR that you are using the site only to make friends and explore the area. Better to avoid confusion or hurt feelings. If you decide they’re cute and you make out at the end of it, bonus.
Alcohol. Nuff Said.
Since the dawn of time, alcohol has been helping people meet. If you’re having difficulty starting a conversation, grab a beer and wait for the conversation to come to you.
People are social animals. People wanna meet people. And you can tell almost right away the ones who are not interested in socializing. They”ll give one word answers and look around the room. So ignore them, and go jump in with the group who are singing songs and having a good time.
Once after a few drinks at the bar, I walked up to a group of travelers who seemed in it to win it, and just asked, “Where are we going next?” They didn’t even blink but immediately included me in their plans and after a round of introductions, we spent the rest of the night dancing the night away.
If you’re not a drinker, you can also do the same thing going out to eat, or getting a coffee. I have some recommendations on how to enjoy that too.
It can feel a bit silly at first to start a conversation out of nowhere to a complete stranger. I have the advantage of not being shy, so I’ll keep talking to people until someone wants to talk back.
I still feel weird about, but most people are friendly. I also understand that there’s a chance they don’t want to make a new friend. And I don’t take that personally. Plenty o fish in the sea.
Just remember you’re not weird and you probably don’t smell. You’re fun, interesting and adventurous, that’s why you decided to explore the big wide world on your own. And you’ll definitely meet cool people.
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