Making Friends While Travelling Solo

Cailin O Neil July 23, 2014 3

For some, travelling solo can be an intimidating experience. In my experience on the road, I’ve come to the realization that a lot of people choose to travel with friends or family (whether for safety reasons or the desire to share the experience with someone else). However, not everyone’s vacation always lines up—and sometimes you’ll be left to decide between staying home or hitting the road on your own and rolling solo.

Heading out on your lonesome? Here are some helpful tips for making friends while travelling alone.

Stay in a hostel

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Most hostels have common areas and host events for guests to get together.

This might not sound too appealing for some, but staying in a hostel is a great way to make new friends and travelling partners. It’s almost impossible to not at least get introduced to new people when you’re sharing a dorm room, and most hostels have common areas and host events for guests to get together, which are great opportunities to connect with new people. If it’s your first time staying at a hostel, you can ease into it by booking a private room first and see if it’s the right experience for you. You’ll soon be surprised to see just how easy it is to meet new people.

Take a group tour

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Tour guides are always friendly and help group members get to know one another.

The first time I ever travelled solo, I took a small group tour around Europe. It was the perfect way to travel by myself for the first time. Not only did it help me feel safer visiting new countries for the first time by myself, but it was also nice to rely on someone to plan my schedule. It was also a great way to make new friends. Going on group tours is probably the best way to make friends while travelling solo because you’re instantly connected with new people from all over the world who are travelling to the same places you are and sharing the same experiences. Tour guides are always friendly and help group members get to know one another, and by the end of the trip you’ll quite possibly have made great friends for life. I know I have!

Volunteer

Volunteer and meet locals and other travellers with common interests.

Volunteer and meet locals and other travellers with common interests.

There are all sorts of options for volunteering as you travel, from teaching English to working on a farm or working with kids and animals. If you volunteer when you travel, not only are you helping out and possibly learning new skills, but you without a doubt will also be meeting locals and other travellers with common interests.

Take a class

Research your trip in advance and see what kind of classes are being offered in the area you’ll be exploring. Perhaps you want to learn how to cook Thai cuisine or learn how to tango. Taking a class when you’re visiting is a great way to meet locals and connect with people from outside the travel bubble that you might not of meet in hostel or on group tours.

Ready to go?

It can get lonely now and then, but for me, travelling solo was one of the best things I’ve ever done—and something I’ll continue to do!

cailin on airplane with friends

Making friends on planes.


Getting There

G Adventures runs a number of departures encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours— check out our small group trips here.

3 Comments »

  1. oupepe emmanuel July 24, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

    how do you feel travelling across the globe

  2. Steven Hall July 28, 2014 at 7:23 am - Reply

    For me there is nothing worst then traveling alone…:).. I always look for some company when I have to travel somewhere but in some situation there is no choice left for us rather then rolling alone. At that point of time it becomes very essential for us to make some friends on the way either to spend the time of our journey or for our safety. Some good points raised by Bren about how to make friends while traveling alone. I would like to add few more. The first one is Couchsurfing- I’ve only tried Couchsurfing once. The idea is simple. People throughout the world open their home and offer a free place to stay. Why would someone do this? Well, for many folks it’s a way to broaden their horizons and meet people who share a love of traveling. It’s not about having a free place to stay. The benefit of couchsurfing is you get to meet a local who can show you around and give a perspective you wouldn’t get on your traditional “tourist experience.” Couchsurfing isn’t as scary as you might think…even if you’re a woman. I’ve met a number of females who have “couchsurfed” a number of times in a guy’s home and made a lasting friendship. What these women do is only contact someone who has a lot of positive reviews from others who have stayed in their home. The second one is Carry pen and paper at all times- Always carry a pen and piece of paper. Or a phone with a Notepad feature. This simple tool can help you turn a casual conversation into a friendship. This is especially true if you share a mutual interest or connection. If you like a person, find a “reason” for getting their contact information. Tell them you need tips about where they’re from. You could even ask if they would be willing to show you all their sites.

    • Cailin August 13, 2014 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the comment Steven. I do agree that it is nice not to be traveling by yourself sometimes just for loneliness and safety reasons.
      Couchsurfing is another great suggestion for traveling solo as well however I think you have to be a very outgoing and trusting person to try it. I myself have yet to try it as a solo female I personally don’t feel safe doing it. Perhaps I would try it with a friend the first time. If you are to do it though it is smart to read the persons reviews and find the best option that way. Another reason that couch surfing isn’t for me personally is that I would feel obligated to hang out with my host and do the things that they want me to see and I would want them to feel obligated to have to entertain me. Part of the reason I like solo travel is that I can do whatever I want when I want but when you couch surf this is harder to do.
      I also agree that it is nice to stay in touch with friendly people you meet on the road. With everyone carrying a smart phone these days it is so easy to connect and become FB friends. I have stayed in touch with many people this way and have since then met up with these people again in other parts of the world.
      Thanks again for your comment :)

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