Ironic as it may sound to travel solo rarely means to travel alone. And you’ve been told that before right? Deep down you know we are not lying to you (we’ve all been there ourselves) but we understand those nerves and ‘what if’s’ you are feeling. So let us help you get that first step in the door, to a journey of solo travel, with some of our most successful ways of meeting others. Now, don’t blame us when you don’t get 5 minutes of ‘you time’ to share your ‘my new friends and I in the waterfall’ selfie on Facebook.
Now, we don’t like to blow our own trumpet, but we’ve met some pretty awesome people through workaway. Take a look at our map feature which allows you to see how many workawayers are in your area. Give them a message, see if they want to meet (and send a photo while you’re at it).
2. Go to local events
Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Basically, it is local events organised by local people. For example if you are visiting Italy, log on to meetup and you will be presented with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of events and groups that want you to come along and attend. Anything from group yoga, to parties, painting clubs to hand gliding. They are mostly all free to attend and if you are feeling extra nosy you can even see who else is going along too.
3. Go on a free tour
Most cities offer free walking tours where you can go along and explore your new travel destination with other travellers. The tours are completely free, however, tips are encouraged if you enjoyed your time. The tours often include great insider tips and discount codes and are a great way to meet other like minded people. Check out sites like freetoursbyfoot.com and freetour.com
4. Take advantage of social media
Let’s be honest, you’re using Facebook anyway while you are travelling, so why not use it to your advantage? Post that you are going to ‘X’ country and ask if any of your friends have any recommendations or know anyone that lives there? People love to share their experiences so it is more than likely you will get some positive replies.
It is not just all about that free couch. I can almost guarantee you the people you meet through Couchsurfing will be instant friends. Travellers and travellers alike give back to a community that have given to them before. An honest genuine way of meeting new people and showing them your country. Make sure you spend time on your profile uploading photos and writing about yourself. Get your friends to write recommendations and even try hosting someone yourself.
6. Start a blog
Record your journey and let people know your plans. Going on from the last point, join blogging facebook groups and ask members if they have advice on the country you are heading to. Connect with fellow bloggers, read their articles and create new ones yourself. The blogging community are some of the most helpful people out there. Get connected.
7. Cook more food than you need
But really.. you’re not going to use the rest of that pasta, just put it in the pan and see if there are any other hungry travellers around. Offer it to someone else in the hostel and the likelihood of them taking it and not starting a conversation is very small.
8. SMILE 🙂
It makes people inquisitive. When you smile at someone, they think you know them, so are inclined to smile back or make conversation. It also makes you look happy and approachable, and who can ignore a backpacker with a huge smile? That’s the kind of medicine we are all looking for.
9. Don’t play it cool
Yes, I said DON’T. Go up to that girl sitting alone, say hi to that guy looking lost and accept the invitation to happy hour beers. More than likely they will be in the same situation and so grateful you made the effort. There will always be one person just starting their journey and one person ending it. Remember; everyone you meet knows something you don’t. This is not the time to play it cool!
10. Be patient
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but friendships can be. Contradicting? Yes. But read between the lines. Sometimes you will meet someone on the first day and end up travelling with them for the rest of your trip, but sometimes it may just take a bit longer. It’s all part of the journey, and that’s what makes it exciting. Some of the best stories come from those of awkward exchanges!