So I heard you were going to travel alone? Cool! Is it your first time doing a solo trip?
Are you looking forward to meeting new people but you’re not exactly the most extroverted person in the world? Are you maybe a little shy at first?
Or do you just need someone to take cool Instagram pics for you?
Or do you just hate everyone but would still like some company?
Sometimes you decide to travel alone, because you’re simply just tired of everyone’s shit.
But then there are times when even your own company starts to annoy you,
so you’d rather annoy someone else.
This means you have to pretend to be a nice person for a change and try to get the other travelers and/or locals to like you enough to hang out with you.
Just kidding, I’m sure you’re a lovely person who doesn’t need to pretend to be anything.
I, on the other hand, can be a bit of a mess sometimes and have to play it cool from time to time.
I basically have these two moods when it comes to socializing:
1. I love everyone and I want to talk to everyone about everything, love love love! xoxo
2. I hate everyone and I don’t even want to breathe the same air with anyone and I’m the most awkward person in the world.
I can be the most insecure person there ever was, or the biggest diva in the universe.
But most of the time I’m just a sunny lovely girl who has an ugly and a loud laugh.
I’ve also noticed that I’m so much more laid back and relaxed while I’m traveling.
When I’m in a great mood, socializing becomes so much easier and I make new friends without having any trouble.
When I first traveled solo (well, moved to England for a bit at 19 lol) I didn’t almost make any friends at all because I was super shy, and not very interested in desperately searching for friends.
But now, as I’m just a tiny bit older, one of the best parts of traveling is, in fact,
meeting new people.
The people you meet on the road are each a unique chapter in your life,
and with some you might even make friends for life.
But where to find these so called “friends”? What even is a friend? And how to talk to them?
Don’t worry my child, let mama tell you.
Here’s some tips, especially for your first solo travel, on how and where to meet people.
THE BEST PLACE TO MEET PEOPLE IMO IS: HOSTELS
Hostels are (budget) travelers’ safe havens and usually they have this incredible atmosphere which alone just encourages, and basically almost forces you, into talking to strangers.
So, book a hostel and maybe, just maybe, imagine staying in a dorm.
I know dorms are not for everyone, but they sure as hell can be a lot of fun!
I’ve stayed in 8-16 people mixed dorms, and enjoyed every second of it.
Sure, the smell of sweat in some places can be….indescribably odorous. Like eww.
And sometimes you’re in a dorm with 10 GUYS and the bathroom door is suddenly magically broken, and you just gotta do your stuff hoping that nobody rushes in.
But other than that, I’ve nothing to complain about.
I’m pretty low-maintenance anyway, believe it or not.
If there are other solo travelers in the same dorm with you, becoming friends is almost inevitable. Unless they turn out to be a complete douchebag who complains about everything.
JOIN GROUP ACTIVITIES
Most hostels organize some sort of group activities for their guests to participate in,
such as game nights, competitions, karaoke, swingers party, city tours etc,
and in that way no-one has to stay alone and be bored.
Unless they choose to.
The hostel I stayed in Miami hosted bar crawls and clubbing nights (yeah party wooh),
in Hollywood my hostel organized karaoke nights, hawaii bbq-nights, and Hollywood sightseeing tours,
and in New Orleans the hostel itself was like a summer camp, where everyone was just chilling on the patio, eating, cooking, playing music and drinking together.
Just to name a few.
YOUR MOST POWERFUL TOOL IS YOUR SMILE
If there are no activities to take part in, just chill in the public areas (or cafes, pubs, parks…) and try to look friendly.
Not too friendly, because that can be scary and intimidating. But like normal friendly.
Seriously, it works.
Smiling takes you to places, but only if it’s a genuine smile.
Or maybe if your fake smile is really pretty, then you should be all set.
Also I’ve noticed that when you travel alone, you become so much more approachable.
People come talking to you and you don’t have to do anything! You can just sit there,
and BAAAM a FRIEND!
Now that people have seen your pretty smile, it’s easier to start having conversations with people.
But how? And about what?
If you’re feeling comfortable, then
JUST RANDOMLY SIT SOMEWHERE AND START TALKING TO PEOPLE
Or if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, do it anyway.
“Life starts at the end of your comfort zone” (Insert other pep talk quotes here)
Start chatting with people in your hostel, in a bar, at some public event,
anywhere where there’s people!
The best conversation starters I’ve used (mostly in hostels):
-Where are you guys from?
-How long have you stayed here?
-Hey you got any sunscreen? I forgot mine
-Does anyone wanna play something? Like water volley?
….OR MAYBE PERHAPS EVEN A DRINKING GAME?
DRINKING GAMES & PARTYING & PUB CRAWLS
These. Work. Like. Magic.
I don’t even need to say anything else about this.
Alcohol is fun. Remember to carry a stack of cards with you.
(Ps. ALWAYS STAY SAFE. Think with your brain. I know you got this.)
GO ON A TOUR
If you’re not into Bar Crawls and that sort of activities, then I don’t know what to tell you man.
Lol no. In fact, there are other ways to meet people than drinking. I know, this came as a surprise to me too.
You know when you grow up in Finland you just get used to not talking to anyone unless you’re drunk.
Check out the tours that your hostel offers. If they don’t do tours, just book something online!
Walking tour around the city, snorkeling, doing sports, or whatever cool things the place you’re visiting has to offer.
I like going on tours alone because it’s a lovely and effortless way to meet new travel buddies.
In Miami, I took a snorkeling trip and ended up making friends with this amazing couple from Manchester, UK
and during my Hollywood tour I made friends with a few Aussie travelers and went to sing karaoke with them later in the evening.
FACEBOOK GROUPS, COUCHSURF, ONLINE FORUMS
We live in a digital world, so why not get the most out of it?
Facebook is full of groups for travelers, solo travelers, solo female travelers, solo whatever travelers,…you name it. Just read the threads, or create your own, to find out if there are any cool people around your area. And BAM! There’s your new friends.
Also…don’t forget that TINDER exists! Ha!
I hope these tips gave you some ideas on how to find friends while traveling alone.
Some people make new friends INSTANTLY everywhere they go, but I can never be that cool. Boohoo.
I’ve always been a little reserved, thanks to my Finnish roots,
but it still hasn’t stopped me from trying to be open and social.
Just go out there and start experiencing! YOU’LL OWN IT, TRUST ME!
I’m on your side, I’m your cool slightly insane big sister.
Happy travels everyone!