When I initially set off on my first solo trip, I wondered how I’d make friends. I've never been the life of the party or that person who can just start a conversation with anyone. Sure, I love my "me" time — but the idea of making friends along the way appealed to me as well. Within a day of traveling alone, I realized that traveling solo was ironically the easiest way to make friends. In fact, I had a hard time getting the alone time I desired, because I was meeting people day in and day out. If you're wondering how to make friends while traveling alone, I've got a few key tips that can get you started.
It seems that you'd be completely alone on a solo trip, but that couldn't be further from the truth. You'll learn very quickly that there are endless opportunities to meet people, and it hardly takes any work. As a whole, travelers are open to new experiences, including making friends. When you place yourself in an environment of like-minded people, connections begin to happen very naturally. From the moment you step off of your flight, to the second you arrive at your hotel, you'll learn that you only have to be alone when you choose to be.
1. Use Social Media
It's 2018, people! Don't shy away from turning internet friends into real life friends.
There are several Facebook Groups that serve as a community for the travel-obsessed. Solo Female Travel Network and Girls Love Travel are a great resource for learning travel tips and making travel plans with soon-to-be friends. If you've been following an acquaintance on Instagram for years and you realize that you'll be in the same city at the same time, consider hitting them up! You probably already know everything there is to know about each other's life, so why not make it official?
2. Try Hostels
Imagine being surrounded by hundreds of other young travelers who just want explore and have a good time like you do. You're bound to stumble across your new bestie in a hostel. In fact, they might be sleeping in the bunk right above you.
Hostels are now catching on in America, but they're the ultimate way for young travelers to see the world on a budget and meet other like-minded travelers. Many hostels offer free walking tours, pub crawls, and bar specials to get the fun started for you. From party hostels to hostels that are a bit more chill, the communal aspect makes the process of meeting people effortless.
The cool thing about hostels? You don't even have to stay there. Show up at the bar or sign up for one of their events, and you'll probably end up leaving with a BFFL.
3. Join A Tour
What's the first thing you do when you get to a new city? Try a day tour.
This is the perfect way to get your feet wet, if you're hesitant about being in a new city alone. You'll see the best of a country, all while being placed in direct contact with other travelers. If you really want to potentially leave with a friend, arrange a tour that meets your interest. The options are endless — from discovering hidden jazz clubs in London, to learning about New York's street art scene.
If you're worried about going out alone at night, you can join a pub crawl across the city or a fun boat party where you'll end up roaming the streets with newfound friends until dawn.
4. Meet The Locals
The best way to see a city? Talk to the people who live there. Break out of your comfort zone and meet people who were born and raised in the place that you’re traveling to.
People often feel a sense of pride about their hometown, so they’ll be more than happy to dish out the city’s best-kept secrets. You can try Airbnb’s "private room" option to actually live with a local or download the Couchsurfing Travel App and use the Hangout feature to meet up with locals in the area. You never know which person might end up being your next best friend.
When it comes to traveling alone, the struggle can be so real. You have to bring your own bags into the restroom because there is nobody to watch them, and you have to stick to selfies because there is nobody to take your photo. But, you've got it made in one department if you're open to it — and that's making new friends.