What is important to understand is that there are A LOT of solo travelers out there. And they are as interested in connecting and making friends as you are.
Hell, we are all away from our home countries and our support systems – so doesn’t that make sense?
1. Couch Surfing Meets
Sign up to the Couch Surfing website and check out any events in the city where you are currently at. And you really don’t have to be a couch surfer, or a Couch Surfer host. Just rock up and join the fray.
Great conversations and a light easy-going atmosphere are what these meets are all about. Share your journey, hear other people’s stories and learn lots.
You will also find that a lot of expats who live permanently in the country you are visiting will attend. There will also be a smattering of locals so this is a great place not only to make friends, but to learn heaps about the place you are visiting.
2. Meet Up Events
These will usually be more themed events and may revolve around Nature Visits, Entrepreneur Meet Ups, or some other sort of shared interest. This is especially handy for people who are traveling and working at the same time like digital nomads and entrepreneurs.
Makes friends and network at the same time!
3. Facebook Groups
There are Facebook Groups for everything out there, from Swap Meet Groups to Political Groups and Groups that meet to discuss T.V shows. Connect with people in these groups. Be active in commenting and interacting. Usually people will propose meets off the cuff or will create Facebook events. If no one is doing it, create one yourself and as long as it is closely related to the interests of the group, people should be interested.
4. Travel Blogs and Forums
If you want to connect with other people, a good group to target is other full time travelers. Unlike tourists and backpackers, they will often spend a little more time in an area, allowing for repeat beers.
Do a Google search for travelers who are in your area and leave a comment on their blog if they are in the same city as you.
Luckily, like you, many travelers are also looking for people to connect with and will be happy to catch up. Another advantage to this is that it can be a more targeted way of meeting friends.
I have done this myself, and this approach allows you to have a little more control in selecting people you meet.
There are a lot of long term travelers around. Some people are doing round the world trips, others are digital nomads. And for each of these groups there are numerous online forums.
Reddit is a great place to find other travelers. Simply join up and be a contributor. Great place to learn a lot and share your own knowledge. Just start a thread asking if anyone is in your city and get lots of local knowledge. You can also propose a catch up if you like.
Some people are under the impression that Tinder is only a ‘hookup’ app. However, this is not necessarily the case. There are more than a few people on Tinder who are looking for travel buddies, friends, people to show them around the city, and even long-term relationships. Like most social media, you can get from it what you want – the choice is yours. Just be sure to explain in your profile what you are looking for in particular, and you are sure to find people looking for similar things.
6. Hostel bars
Stay in hostels or find your way into hostel bars. They are very social places and although you will mostly meet backpackers there, there are all types of people who stay in hostels.
7. Find Your Tribe
One of the biggest reasons I went to Chiang Mai was to find my tribe.
I knew I wanted to get into earning online while traveling, and Chiang Mai is such a huge digital nomad hub. I got here, and immediately felt at home.
I have met lots of nomads, made heaps of friends and have a lot of common with these people in terms of my interests and aspirations. But you don’t have to be in the online game, just figure out what you are into and find people locally who are into it too
. Maybe you are an avid golfer, surfer, gamer. Whatever you are into, find people who are into it too, and you are likely to quickly make friends.
8. Be A Repeat Customer
To get some continuity in your experience and cement relationships a little further, be a repeat customer.
Become a regular at the Couch Surfers meeting, create your own Facebook events. Friendships on the road can take a little time to develop just like friendships back home.
9. Use Social Media To Stay in Touch
I have never used Facebook as much as I have when I started traveling. And people can deride social media for all its flaws, but when traveling, social media seems to come into its own.
People flit in and out of your sphere so quickly but social media helps you to retain some of those relationships. Connect with people on social media as soon as you feel a comfortable connection. People on the road are happy to connect more quickly than usual and Facebook is a great way to stay in touch and an easy way to meet up again elsewhere in the world.
What are the benefits of all that? Well, feeling not quite as ‘out-of-control’ transient. It’s nice to see what people you made connections with are up to. It gives you a feeling of continuity and growth. It’s not completely healthy to just meet people once or twice and never see them again…never maintain lasting connections. Social media is a way to begin collecting your own global family.
Traveling is not about depriving yourself of things, but replacing them with other things – and then adding even more.
10. Chill Out
There are a lot of people you will meet on the road that you will never see again. And that is the nature of travel. But making lasting friends is a numbers game.
Put yourself out there, go places, be active, interact and connect on social media, and you will find that your circle of friends will naturally grow.
People come into our sphere for a reason, or for a season. All are useful – either to show you what you want – or what you don’t want!
In addition, much of what we learn from meeting new people – even for a small time – educates us subconsciously, and broadens our experience.
And if you just take this as a natural part of travel – and relax about the whole thing, you will start to attract the sort of people you want in your life anyway, which leads me to..
..Be Who You Want To Meet
People often have an idea of the perfect partner. This is the same for friends.
But a lot of the time we spend more time fussing over who we want in our social circle, rather than making ourselves the kind of people we want to manifest in our life – and trusting that they will be attracted to us naturally.
Be the best version of yourself. Be an interesting, productive and exciting person, and you will attract other interesting, productive and exciting people – whether you are still at home, or already on the road.
Have you traveled solo? Did you find it lonely or super duper soical? Let us know in the comment below