14 Ways on How to Make Friends when Traveling Alone

Someone asked if I ever make any friends in my solo travels and today I am here to share ways on how to make friends when traveling alone.

Well, before I started traveling solo, I also used to ponder on how I can make friends in strange destinations. Leave alone that, most of you even wonder if traveling alone is fun.

Here’s what I’ve learned over time, solo traveling can be as fun and rewarding as you make it to be. You can choose to be a loner totally and into your own business or be outgoing and adventurous.

Today, I’m proud to say that I’ve got over numerous solo traveling experiences under my belt, and I believe I am in a position to give some tips on meeting people while traveling alone.

Let’s get started. Shall we?

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1. Be social

Being social means doing things that may help you relate and connect with new people that you come across. Most importantly, have the social initiative.

Can you start a conversation and keep it going? Can you chat and open up? Ask questions, be friendly and have a positive vibe?

It’s very important to do these things if you want to make a single friend abroad. And you don’t need to join a class to learn them, just be you.

Act like you know the person next to you and just pull a random question. They’re likely to talk back to you and who knows where your conversation will end?

If you are socially anxious or super shy, you won’t be outgoing with new people and for that, you might need to look at the ways to overcome it.

2. Be flexible with your plans

You’ve finally talked with someone and your conversation is going on well. You have clicked.

Obviously, the two of you have your own different plans on where to go and things to do.

Then your new companion tells you of a great place they heard of that is so full of fun experiences, contrary to your plan. Yet, you still value the talk you’re having and enjoying the company.

This is where I say you get off your book and go for some adventure together.

You will get a chance to get closer to your new buddy and do a lot more together then and even throughout your trip.

3. Stay in hostels

This one is a sure bet on meeting people while traveling alone. Ask any solo traveler and they will tell you that you can’t beat the social interactions inherent in a hostel environment.

In addition, hostels are usually filled with travelers of all ages so you can’t miss some buddies to socialize with.

You can find hostels of all types too; ones with private rooms and others that are just large dorms. Then there are always lots of fun activities taking place at hostel bars and the surrounding in general.

You’ll find some playing all sorts of games, others partying and some just people-watching.

Hostels are typically the core social hangouts for solo travelers.

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Get all 50 safety tips for traveling alone in one complete PDF

Get all mentioned 50 traveling alone tips for men and women in one ebook for FREE. Save the PDF on your device and read offline while flying to your solo adventure. Have a safe trip!

4. Join group tours

Trekking trips, camping trips or any other excursions are great ways to meet people. You can book one through your hotel or hostel. I’ve met some interesting people through group tours.

If you book this through your hostel, you are instantly going to join some close like-minded people.

Some of these group tours usually include guides, who provide competent information about the new places you’ll be seeing.

So you’ll get to learn and interact with people in your group at the same time, instead of exploring on your own.

5. Use your interests to find your like-minded people

When it comes to making friends abroad, one of my top strategies is to find places where I can meet people who share my interests.

If you love salsa dancing, for instance, then find nearby salsa classes, events or parties, which will definitely be social in nature. Take advantage of sites such as meet up to find your likes.

One of my personal interests is basketball. Whenever I go to a new city, I always make sure to find local courts out of which I’ve made some friends and had some memorable experiences through it. I’ve also learned some great skills in the process.

So whenever you travel alone to a new place, make the most out of your hobbies and you’ll find people that will impact your social life in some manner.

6. Learn some new lingo

When you travel to a foreign country, try to learn some basics such as how to say “hello”, “what’s your name”, “where is this place”, and more.

These are ice-breakers that can get someone to converse with you or even save you a lot if you get lost.

Language is known to foster relationships everywhere on earth and if you can speak the same language with the locals, then naturally they’ll be friendly and more open to you.

It also doesn’t matter if you can’t speak right. Most locals even find you funny when you’re struggling to pronounce words correctly in their language.

You will often see them smiling and grinning at you, and usually being more welcoming.

7. Couchsurfing

If making friends in public is hard, try Couchsurfing. I am not a big fan of this but I’ve heard so many people do this and made lasting friendships.

The way it works is, someone somewhere offers a free place to stay in their home. For the hosts, I’d say it’s a way to broaden their scope and meet people who share the passion of traveling.

The advantage of Couchsurfing is that you get to meet a local who can hang out with you and show you around. By doing so, you will get a perspective that is different from the typical tourist experience.

Not everyone will be open to staying at a random place abroad, perhaps due to safety doubts. And by the way, have you read how to stay safe when traveling alone?

Anyway, if you are open to the Couchsurfing idea, check reviews from others who have stayed at a particular home before you go there.

8. Party with the locals

Start by finding local hangouts by searching online or through your local guides. Download ‘Party With’ app and use it to find where local events will be going down.

Once you find a spot, you are sure to meet many people and all you have to do is go with their flow.

You will also get to learn some local culture in the process and get some stories to tell when you’re back home.

9. Offer to take photos

This one is a very decent way of meeting people and a special one for me. I actually think this is the way I’ve met the most amount of people, and had a little chat.

For example, if you see somebody struggling to take a picture of themselves, offer to help and just take the picture for them.

If you know something about camera, even better, that can be the icebreaker to start a little conversation, assuming they’re also a solo traveler.

Or if you’ve got their phone in your hand, then just turn on the front camera and take a bunch of selfies of yourself, give the phone back and just walk away. (Probably, won’t make friends this way, but it can make your day more positive)

You don’t have to go my way, but offering to take pictures can go a long way to creating buddies to hang out with for some hours or days.

10. Go on a pub crawl

If you love drinking, then pub crawls are a sure way of meeting people while traveling alone. It has worked out well for me in several destinations.

It usually involves a group of about 10 or more people who join forces to indulge in drinking from one pub to the next.

For party animals, this one is definitely for you. You can have as much fun and meet many friends along the way. The group leaders usually know most of the best party spots in town and they will take you to as many different clubs as the night can allow.

Furthermore, pub crawls are easy to find. Just google pub crawl and enter the city you’re in and the lists will show up.

But don’t overdrink (especially if you’re alone in a group of absolutely unknown people), you want to still be aware of your surroundings.

ebook cover 3d

Get all 50 safety tips for traveling alone in one complete PDF

Get all mentioned 50 traveling alone tips for men and women in one ebook for FREE. Save the PDF on your device and read offline while flying to your solo adventure. Have a safe trip!

11. Chat on transit

Talk to people in the train, bus, or ferry. I found that not everyone is friendly to talk to in public transportation.

But, if you see someone smiling at you, go ahead and strike a conversation.

I was on a bus one time in Malaysia and someone dropped a can and it rolled to my feet. I picked it up, looked up, and the guy next to me said it’s his.

Then we alighted at the same station and it turned out we were both on the same group tour for a day of hiking.

12. Give others a chance

It doesn’t always have to be you starting a talk or initiating some activity. You are not the only one in need of friends.

So be open when you travel, smile and actually be a tourist. You will learn that there are some interesting people in the café, hotel, pub, bookshop, museum, or virtually anywhere.

13. Have an interest in others

If you want to win true friends, then you must get into them deeply.

Most of the time we subconsciously wait for someone to give us a chance to tell our story. When we are given, we go ahead and speak out our minds and feelings. Use this to connect with someone you find interesting.

After talking to someone, go ahead and ask them some open-ended questions. For instance, “what do you find different here from the other places you’ve visited?” or “how was your first ever solo trip?”

This way, you are likely to turn a casual conversation into a long-lasting relationship.

14. Take the lead when you can

People are naturally attracted to those who show the quality of leadership. Sometimes you shouldn’t just sit and wait for things to happen. Make them happen.

Let’s say you’re a new group in a hostel and the night is quite slow. Pull out a deck of cards and gather people on a roundtable for a few games. Still, you can ask to grab some drinks at a local club.

By the simple fact that you are the one initiating these activities, most people in your group will tend to rely on you next time for what next. You won’t be surprised them asking you where to go the next morning.

Basically, getting people to come to you or follow you eventually converts them into friends.

But wait, it is actually easy to make friends, but difficult to keep them. Check out why.

Last but not least

From my experience, meeting people while traveling alone is inevitable but becoming friends with them is a matter of choice.

In this context, you wanted to know how to make friends when traveling alone and that means you’ve chosen to go social.

I believe I’ve shared with you some crucial tips on how to make friends when traveling alone and hope you try them on your next trip.

Is there something I forgot? Leave a comment below.

ebook cover 3d

Get all 50 safety tips for traveling alone in one complete PDF

Get all mentioned 50 traveling alone tips for men and women in one ebook for FREE. Save the PDF on your device and read offline while flying to your solo adventure. Have a safe trip!

Karlis Kikuts

Karlis Kikuts

Coffee addict. Digital nomad. Solo traveler and blogger. Camping and hammocking enthusiast. Tiny book worm. In other words, the guy behind independentwolf.com