I started travelling alone in 2013 and instantly loved everything about it – the freedom to do exactly what you want, when you want to do it is freeing.
That being said, I am a social person and need interaction to keep me going. Travelling alone does not mean that you have to be alone. There are so many amazing travellers doing the same thing as you and getting to share time with them is genuinely a gift.
Things I have learned making friends while travelling;
1. Stay in a hostel. This is by far the easiest way to meet people. The majority of hostels are built to be social and, in many cases, offer activities that will bring you together with other travellers. I am not a fan of “party hostels”, not being much of a partier myself, but even the more laid back places will offer pub crawls and daily tours. For more information on what I look for when booking a hostel, check out this article.
2. Be forward. Most people would say that I easily meet new people – they are wrong. I am actually quite shy and overcompensate by being really friendly. Unfortunately, there is no room for shyness in solo travel. Take a deep breath and find that one second of courage needed to walk up to a group of people you don’t know and start a conversation. I promise that nothing bad will happen. Like-minded travellers are always willing to have another person join the group. I promise.
3. Know that it is always a little difficult. I have lost count of the number of solo trips I have taken, but I know that even now I am scared to travel alone. What if I don’t meet anyone I like or who likes me? Truthfully, the butterflies in the stomach feeling never goes away. Just embrace it and use that extra energy to build your courage.
4. Be open-minded – Your travel friends are not always your “type” of people. I have met so many absolutely incredible travellers through the years – I have had fun nights out, taken tours of cities and gone for dinners with people I would NEVER spend time with at home. Travel friends do not have to become life-long friends. Although many will, embrace fellow travellers for who they are and enjoy the time you get to spend with them.
I would like to take a moment to say thank you to the people I have met along my journeys. You have truly made cities come alive with me. I am not sure who I will meet next, but I look forward to taking that deep breath and saying “hello”.