A major concern for many solo travellers is how to make friends when you are travelling. I’m mostly quite happy to explore new places on my own, but often it’s nice to share your experiences with others, so here is a list of the ways in which I typically meet new people on the road.
Hostel Common Room and/or Dorm Room
I always book a bed in the dorm room of a hostel, I usually end up starting conversations with my dorm buddies the minute I walk in the door. If I don’t meet people inside the dorm room, I usually chat over breakfast or when sitting around in the lounge room.
For those who don’t like the idea of sharing a room, many hostels also offer private rooms at a higher cost. This way you get the benefits of meeting people in the common room, as well as the privacy of your own space.
Thinking back over numerous hostel stays, I can’t recall a single visit where I didn’t make at least one friend to hang out with.
Free Walking Tour
One of the first things I do in basically every city, is turn up to a free walking tour (Google: Free Walking Tour <city name>). This is the best way to orient yourself in a city, get information about the city from a passionate local, and to meet fellow travellers.
I think it’s also important to mention here that you don’t just make friends with other solo travellers, you often also make friends with couples or groups of friends.
There is a fantastic website called Meetup.com which you can sign up to for free. People with particular interests create groups on meetup and then list events. You can join any group you like and register to attend whichever Meetup events you are interested in.
There are groups covering all areas of interest: Technology; Fitness; Adventuring; Gardening; Languages….the list goes on.
I have been to WordPress Meetups in Australia, the USA and the Netherlands. I went to visit a group of girls learning to code at a Google Campus in Tel Aviv, Israel. Most recently I went Ice Wall Climbing with the Netherlands Adventurers Meetup Group.
Facebook Groups and Events
If you have a Facebook account, then you will notice that there are also Facebook Events. You can navigate to the page and see Events in your area. While I haven’t found many to attend via this means, usually because of conflicting plans, it is still something I check from time to time to see what is happening.
In addition to Facebook Events there are numerous Facebook Groups created for helping travellers connect. I am an active member of a Facebook Group (and website) called Girls about the Globe. It’s for solo female travellers to talk, seek advice, share ideas, share travel plans and also meet up.