Is there anything more freeing or empowering than traveling alone to a new place?
You can do whatever you want… whenever you want.
Maybe you’ll wander around the streets just because you find them interesting. Or you’ll spend hours in just one museum. Or people watch as you sip a latte in a cafe.
But just because you’re traveling solo doesn’t mean you want to be alone the whole time, right?
Solo trips are wonderful ways to spend some quality time alone. But they’re also ideal for meeting new people.
It might be a little intimidating to ask the woman sitting next to you in a restaurant for meal recommendations or to just ask some people to hit up a museum with you.
Meeting like-minded people is always a pleasant surprise when you’re traveling alone. After all, your experience is completely shaped by the people you spend your time with!
You can find your squad in any country by using apps.
Other Ways to Meet Travelers Abroad
Downloading apps is definitely the most convenient (and arguably the most effective) method of meeting fellow travelers.
But there are other steps you can take to meet people. Combine apps with these strategies and you’ll have a new crowd in no time.
Keep an Open Mind
Keep an open mind when you meet people abroad. Don’t judge them based on your preconceptions of their culture, race or gender. The entire point of traveling is to open your mind, right?
The best thing about meeting people abroad is that you probably wouldn’t have met anyone like them back home. Differences in age, style, music preferences and many other tiny details are easily forgotten when you both share a passion for traveling and experience adventures together.
There are interesting people in hostels, cafes, stores and shopping malls. Make sure you keep an open mind so you can spot them.
Find Tours About What You Love
Going on guided tours is a great way to both learn about the culture and meet fellow travelers. And since those travelers on the same tour you are, they probably have similar interests! That makes tours a convenient way to meet people.
Take a food market tour in Taiwan. Or a walking tour of historic Sydney. Or a bike tour around New York City.
Mutual interests are the glue of new friendships.
Stay in Hostels (or Join the Parties)
There’s something magical about the common area of a nice hostel.
Everyone there is open to making new friends. You all always have something in common, even if it’s just that you’re travelers to this new city.
One of the best ways to meet fellow travelers is to stay in a hostel.
Even if staying in a shared room isn’t your taste, you can still look for private rooms in a hostel. In the end, you can have the best of both worlds: the privacy of a solo room and the social aspect of the common area.
7 Apps to Meet Travelers: Make Friends Around the World
You may think it’s possible to travel the world by speaking English wherever you go.
But it’s invaluable to be conversational in at least one other language. This is true for everyone, but especially for travelers!
Remember when I mentioned that one of the highlights of travel is meeting people you never would have met back home? Well, speaking foreign languages opens the door for you to meet people from all types of backgrounds—not only people privileged enough to have learned English.
By learning the language, you can connect with both locals and fellow travelers. Locals will be able to give you insights into the culture and recommend authentic activities and places for you to try.
If you’re staying or hanging out in a hostel (as I recommended above) then you will meet vagabonds from all over the world. The more conversational you are in another language, the more people you can meet!
If you’re looking for a method to familiarize yourself with a language as well as deepen your knowledge of the culture, FluentU is the best way to go!
FluentU takes authentic, real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Use FluentU’s annotated subtitles, interactive vocabulary lists, flashcards and more to brush up on your language of choice before you embark on your language-learning and traveling journey.
FluentU also offers progress-tracking tools and video suggestions based on what you’ve already watched.
One FluentU account gives you access to all nine of its languages, which is fantastic for people staying in hostels or backpacking. This means you can work in France, travel to Germany and Spain in your free time, then take a trip to Russia. And you can meet locals and travelers in each destination!
Dive into the video library for free with a FluentU trial.
Eatwith provides an incredible opportunity to meet people who share the most delicious passion out there: food!
This community focuses on food experiences with local people, and it’s available in more than 100 countries.
The process is simple: Go to the app, select the city you’re visiting and see what food experiences are available.
From Italian cooking classes in Rome, Sunday brunch in Napa Valley or a traditional Hungarian dinner in Budapest, you can find multiple events to join—either alone with the host or with a group of fellow travelers. You select the event, find the date and book your seat. That’s it!
If you love food and everything surrounding meals, you’ll absolutely love Eatwith. By using the app, you can enjoy local hospitality and have the authentic time of your life.
I know Tinder might seem like a sketchy option for making friends, but stick with me.
Tinder is a great tool to meet people in countries all over the world.
The secret is that it all depends on your profile. Update your description with a disclaimer that you aren’t on the app to look for hookups—just for people to show you around the city or to hang out for an afternoon.
There are plenty of people on Tinder only looking for friends. You can even set your profile to both women and men to see all your options. The most important part: just make sure you both have the same goals.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a backpacker, Backpackr is one of the coolest social networks for travelers.
Meet travelers with similar interests all over the world before you even begin your trip. Simply align your plans with others, and you’ll arrive in a new city with a network of friends!
The app is like one huge group chat.
You can find people or activities by using hashtags, browsing through channels or just posting a generic question in the Common Room. To make finding potential friends easier, the app knows where you are by using geolocation and can show you events that are happening near you.
You can also schedule trips and meetings with travelers whose travel goals align with yours.
Backpackr is available in over 160 countries. The app has partnered with many tour operators, hostels and restaurants that offer you special discounts for using the app. Sounds like a perfect match, right?
Use Couchsurfing to find locals whose couch you can sleep on. For free!
The Couchsurfing community connects you with people who have free space in their house and are willing to offer it to like-minded people.
But even if you’d rather stay in a hotel or hostel, Couchsurfing can still be a great tool for meeting new people.
First, you can create a profile and select that you’d like to grab a beer or coffee with people, not necessarily stay in their homes.
Second, there’s a feature that lets you post what you’re planning to do that day. People can join your group to participate in your plans. Locals and travelers alike can get together to have some fun!
Couchsurfing is by far one of the most popular communities of like-minded people who are passionate about traveling, meeting new people and making friends.
If meeting people with similar interests is your idea of a good time, then Meetup is the app for you.
This app connects people who share passions and hobbies.
From training for a marathon, to practicing a language, to having deep conversations about philosophy, Meetup is one of the most incredible tools for people looking for friends in a new area. Especially in big cities like Berlin, London and Tokyo! You could join a different Meetup every single day of the week.
Women who code? Yep.
Solo travelers in Amsterdam? For sure.
Fellow travel photographers? Absolutely. It’s all there!
Make sure you read the description of each Meetup group before you join. Some of them require you to bring an item, pay a fee or just read something beforehand. Have fun!
Initially, the Facebook app may seem more suited to staying in touch with loved ones back home than to making friends in new cities.
But Facebook Groups are incredible tools for meeting people around the world.
Before hopping on a plane, find a Facebook group targeted toward travelers with your needs and interests.
Facebook groups are incredible assets for meeting people in different cities. These groups are filled with posts and invitations to local events, where you can meet tons of fellow explorers.
Thanks to technology, meeting people around the world with similar interests has never been easier.
You won’t just finish your trip with new friends. You’ll also have new experiences and a ton of stories to share.
I’d call that a win!
Debbie Corrano is a digital strategist and writer. She works remotely while traveling the world full-time with her two dogs. Over the past few years, Debbie has lived in more than 10 countries, learned a few languages and worked with dozens of agencies and brands.
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