HOW TO MEET PEOPLE WHEN TRAVELING SOLO
November 14, 2019
Traveling solo is one of the best ways to see the world. You will learn more about yourself, and you will grow as a person. Nevertheless, it also gets lonely sometimes, especially when you are on the road for a long time. As a solo traveler myself, there were instances where I craved the company of others, so I always look for avenues to meet people wherever I go. It is advantageous to be with someone; they can take pictures of you, they can share travel costs with you, and of course, they can look out for you and keep you secure.
WAYS TO MEET PEOPLE WHEN TRAVELING SOLO
There are many opportunities to encounter like-minded travelers or curious locals when you travel, and here are some of the techniques you can follow to do so.
STAY IN A HOSTEL
A hostel is perhaps the best place to meet people when traveling solo. I’ve swapped stories with others by just hanging out at the common area, hostel bar, kitchen, or even in my bunk. The social atmosphere here is so high that it would be impossible not to connect with someone. Most of the backpackers I knew here became my travel buddies on specific legs of my adventure.
ATTEND FREE WALKING TOURS
Almost every city now offers a free walking tour. It works because free tour organizers, mostly locals, show exciting places in the city for free. In the end, you can donate depending on how much you feel the tour is worth. It gained popularity these past years, and most backpackers attend them to get the city’s right bearing. I also met many interesting people here, and in some cases, I continued exploring the city with them after the tour ended.
USE DATING APPS
I highly recommend TINDER, among other dating apps. I specifically use TINDER PLUS – you can swipe people in any country or city in the world with this extra feature, and you don’t even have to be there to do it! What I do is that I start swiping people before arriving at my chosen destination, so by the time I come, I already know someone. Some may think that it is just for hookups, but I beg to disagree. Almost all the matches I met became good friends in the end, plus they showed me local places and restaurants I would not have discovered had I not met them. And who knows, some may be a potential love life in the future.
Not only will you meet locals when you Couchsurf, but you also get accommodation for free! I’ve only done it twice – in Guatemala and Nicaragua, and I’m glad I did. In both countries, I discovered interesting places and did many activities thanks to my hosts. I also met my German friend Andreas when I couchsurfed in Guatemala, who became my travel buddy in Central America and eventually became my housemate in Medellin, Colombia, for two months.
Language Exchange is now becoming mainstream in big cities. The main goal of this meet up is to share or practice each other’s languages. Locals go there to learn English, while foreigners visit to brush up their local language skills. It is the perfect place to meet other people and also learn new stuff. I attended some language exchanges in Medellin, and I met many interesting people. Oh, and the infamous Tagalog “Bababa ba” joke goes a long way to make new friends.
For me, this is one of the best ways to meet people when traveling solo and develop as a person. I had an opportunity to volunteer as an English teacher at a local language center in Huixcolotla, Mexico. I saw many interesting places and tasted local food after being invited not only by the school staff but also by the students. It also developed my intrapersonal skills and my Spanish too.
Don’t be shy! Go out there and meet people! Who knows, your next travel-buddy is out there waiting for you!