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Solo traveling can be scary and intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. You are alone in a new place with no one you know for hundreds or thousands of miles.
And that is ok.
You are in for one hell of an adventure. One of the first things to do is find friends to enjoy the experience with.
Stay at a hostel or homestay
You will meet other travelers or locals who you can go on day trips with, cowork together, and generally enjoy the new company.
Use dating apps
Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and other dating apps are all great ways to meet locals or make friends. Just make sure your intentions are clear when meeting up. Bumble actually offers three different services these days: Bumble Date — for dating, Bumble Bizz — for networking, and Bumble BFF — specifically designed for those in new cities, it’s literally online dating but for friendship. The best part: your profile is only allowed to be used for one type of function at a time, so there’s less risk of meeting up with someone whose intentions are different from your own.
Anywhere you go there will be different classes you can sign up for. Whether it is martial arts, cooking, or language school it is a great way to meet people with similar interests.
Visit locations around pursue of hobbies
I like to swing dance; specifically, I love Lindy Hop. As I travel, I search for upcoming festivals, then pick one to be my next travel destination. You can do the same with whatever hobbies you enjoy.
Talk to strangers
If you see someone reading an interesting book or doing something you find interesting, say hello. I promise they won’t bite and you may make a new friend in the process.
Use online communities
Use Facebook, Reddit, or WhatsApp to find like minded travelers or locals. There are communities in different areas based on different activities that you can join and hopefully meet up with in real life.
Use Couchsurfing HangOuts
If you’re not familiar, Couchsurfing is a website sort of like AirBnB, except you don’t pay people to sleep in their homes — they’re simply offered for free or exchange of services, such as help in the garden, cooking dinner, etc. You may or may not want to use their site for this, but they also offer a feature called Hangouts that allows you to see other Couchsurfers in the area who are looking to hang out.
The general concept: you want to go for beers, so you start a Hangout inviting others in the area to join. If someone nearby decides to join, they indicate so, and they come meet you. You can open the group to one or many joiners, completely up to you. Just be careful, not everyone’s intentions are always the same as yours — sometimes people attempt to use this as a dating app.
There are many ways to meet people as you travel, these are just a few. Hopefully, this will help you make friends as you go and have an amazing travel experience.
Written for Lost & Lore by Trevor Carlson