I love traveling alone. One main reason is that I meet people from all over the world – I get to hear their stories, learn about their culture, broaden my horizon and make new connections (some of them last for years). In most of the cases I didn’t just bump into my new traveller friends on the street. Therefore, to make it easier for you, I want to share five ways to meet people while traveling alone. And if they don’t work, I have valuable extra advice…
1 Book a (one day) trip
My first advice for you is very simple: book a (day)trip. Not only because you get to explore the area with a guide, but also because activities are definitely more fun if you do them in a group. Many solo travellers join these tours as well and it’s your chance to meet them on this trip. Plus, you already have something in common as you booked the same tour. Let me give you some examples: ziplining, temple tour, island hopping, canyoning, cave tour, snorkelling trip, jungle trekking, hiking up a volcano and many more. Once you find a like-minded person or even become part of a group you’ll make unforgettable memories.
2 Do a free walking tour
This advice especially applies to city trips. Many cities offer free walking tours – or I’d rather call them donation based tours. You’ll be guided around the sights for 2-3 hours and hear interesting background information and history facts. Try to google “[Paris] free walking tour” next time you’re doing a city trip. In my opinion it is more likely to meet other solo travellers on free walking tours instead of on pay-in-advance sightseeing tours. It happened to me a few times that I met a person on a free walking tour and we ended up spending the remaining day or even days together – although in the morning I thought I would spend the day alone! It’s definitely one of the things I always do when visiting a city – if you want read more about the other two click here.
3 Stay in a hostel
I love love love staying in hostels. Cheap prices, nice vibes and of course: people from all over the world. The first important point is to find a good hostel – read more about how I choose the right hostel. The second important point is to either choose a place with a nice common area or better: to stay in a dorm. If you’re only looking for male / female travellers you could choose a one gender dorm. I always go for mixed dorms though as, in my opinion, mixed groups work much better and some women can be more complicated & challenging than men. As already said the common areas or dorms are the best places to meet new people. And if there’s no one around to talk with, the receptionist doesn’t want to be lonely either!
4 Use the app MeetUp
With the app MeetUp you can find groups who share your interests. Just choose your location and you can see all meetups happening in the area. This can be a pub quiz night, yoga in the park or language meetups. Some meetups only happen once, some on a regular basis. Most of the people are very open-minded and keen on meeting new people. I regularly attended the language meetups in Sydney, where I got a sticker with the country I’m from (Germany) and a sticker with the language I wanted to speak / learn. So many interesting conversations and even long-term friendships developed thanks to MeetUp.
5 Participate in a volunteer program
On my travels I prefer meeting people who share the same interests and are on the same level. As I ALWAYS met like-minded people during volunteer activities, I can highly recommend participating in a volunteer program when traveling alone. Also in this case it’s a double win: meeting new people and doing a good deed at the same time. There are programs that last one day or longer. Read more about how to find and choose a volunteer project here.
+ Extra advice
These are my five ways how to meet new people while traveling alone. However, there is never a guarantee that you will actually make new friends. You can be very lucky, but also very unlucky. I once booked a two night trip to Fraser island in a 6 people dorm, and was a bit shocked when it turned out that I was the only solo traveller – and the only single between five couples. Nevertheless, the trip was amazing and I stuck to the tour guide who didn’t have a buddy either. I also had to stay at empty hostels and questioned my solo travels in some moments. But the priceless memories I made and people I met absolutely outweigh these moments.
My extra advice is to enjoy your time even though you’re ‘alone’. In fact, you already have the best travel partner with you, someone you know best – yourself. And trust me – before you know it, you already find yourself surrounded by people again.
What I learned the past years: As long as I have myself with me I’m never alone. These moments of loneliness give me a chance to get to know myself better and to grow even more. If I had never been alone, I would’ve never gotten these findings.
In case you ask yourself why I make all this effort to meet new people when I could just travel with a friend: Read Part I and Part II about things I learned from traveling solo. And of course, you don’t even have to travel alone to benefit from this advice – you can also meet new people with your friend. I hope this article helps you for your next trip and you make amazing connections! It’s enriching, in every way.