After choosing your bucketlist destinations, the most difficult thing about solo travelling time and again is not safety, being solitary, loneliness on long journeys or panicking if something goes wrong and you’re isolated. No. The single most difficult thing when you start out solo traveling is meeting new people. After a while, you’ll build up confidence and get chatting to anybody no problem, but in the beginning that first social-anxiety is one of the biggest hurdles to step over.
5 Great Ways To Meet New People When Solo Traveling
This is the biggest joy of solo traveling but also one of the biggest obstacles. People travel to meet other like-minded people, who are interested in the same things and have been drawn together by the same passions from all over the globe. But how to find these people? How can you spot them, engage with them, interact with them and befriend them?
For some it’s a real challenge and even for the most outgoing kickass travellers, turning up alone and striking up conversations can be hard. Therefore, here are my top five travel tips to get you meeting your fellow travel buddies.
A great way to meet new people and get out into the great outdoors is to volunteer while helping the local environment. A fantastic example of this is the National Trust in the UK where you get free food and accommodation for helping them with their preservation projects. There are many locations to choose from spread out all over Britain, and you can choose on their website what kind of tasks sound like fun and are rewarding for you.
This could be anything from rebuilding dry-stone walls in Devon while the wild ponies run around, to being in a team of assistants to a tree surgeon roaming around legendary Sherwood Forest. Not only do you get to work, eat and hang out with amazing like-minded people; you also get to learn new skills!
A cruise has always been a favourite for solo travellers – especially women. This is due to cruising being a safe place where there’s a structured and homely feel to the little community onboard. There are even host tables and chaperones and hosts to sit and dance with if you’re alone before things get warmed up. This made cruises popular with the older generations, but millennials are starting to discover cruising for themselves too.
The first way is themed cruises such as floating music festivals and hobby events. This turns the ship into your dream festival or convention with your entertainment, hotel and dining all in the same location.
Meanwhile, river cruising has brought young people in a whirl as you can visit a different cool European city each day such as Berlin, Budapest, Prague and Amsterdam on the ultimate Euro Trip! The community spirit of a cruise makes it a great solo trip, as you are guided through your holiday in comfort and safety yet free to do and see what you like. You can even find your fellow cruisers on social media before the journey begins, with many cruise lines and events having cult followings on social media with Facebook events and groups too.
I have gone on two cruises in my travels with Princess Cruises and loved it.
Find out more about cruising here
If you’re interested in learning a new language or brushing up on your studies, a summer language course is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture while meeting people from all over the world as well. On these courses you have a great way to mix and mingle with your fellow adult classmates and hang out after the lesson in whatever fantastic city or location has taken your fancy. This is also an awesome way to go back to student life with a drink after class and, as you’re all adults, the teacher can hang out with you too!
Exactly how you do it is up to you. You could brush up on your expert French in bustling Paris, or basic Czech in a cute little city in the forest with just a few hundred locals and a dozen other international students. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have a blast and make friends for life!
Start learning a new language with Rype here
A film festival may sound like a strange way to meet new people while traveling alone but it sure creates the subject and environment to get talking. If you go to a small one in a local town, you’ll see the same people in the theatre, bar and talks after the first day. You’ll soon get chatting and hanging out and you can drop into the events as you see fit.
If you want time on your own to wander and explore the city, just skip one of the screenings or a particularly talk, and have some ‘you’ time. If you don’t strike up a conversation with someone at the festival on the first day, don’t worry. Just enjoy the art and some reflective time before meeting your fellow flick fans at the official meet-up event that night!
A lot of the time, you make friends as you travel based on where you’re staying. Hostels are a good way to meet new people in the common rooms and dorms, and have organised events such as bar crawls. However, they can feel a bit like a revolving door and lack a bit of the personal touch sometimes. If you’re looking to build a friendship with locals and fellow tourists in a more meaningful way, Couchsurfing is probably your best bet.
Couch Surfing has two brilliant points that make it such a fantastic option. Firstly, unlike AirBNB, it’s free – need I say more? This also means the host is more interested in hosting you to get to know you and show you around their city. You get a free buddy, guide and host all in one!
The second great point of Couchsurfing is they also host group events somewhere in the town. This could be anything from a band playing on a boat in Krakow all night, to a coffee meet-up in Stockholm. This is a perfect blend of locals and fellow travellers, all brought together for the same love of meeting and learning about new people and cultures!
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How do you like to meet new people while travelling solo? Share your thoughts below!