6 Apps to Meet Travelers and Make Friends Around the World
Is there anything more freeing or empowering than traveling alone to a new place?
While solo trips are wonderful ways to spend some quality time alone, they’re also ideal for making new friends.
Thanks to modern technology, we can use apps to meet other travelers while traveling solo.
To give you a leg up, I’ve compiled six of the best apps for meeting other travelers when you’re on the road, including where to get them, best features and the pros and cons of each app.
- Facebook Groups
- Other Ways to Meet Travelers Abroad
Website | iOS
Summary: Easy to use app to find food experiences and people to share them with.
Eatwith provides an incredible opportunity to meet people who share the most delicious passion out there: food! In other words, if you’re a traveling foodie, this is the app for you.
Not only can you browse food and eating experiences in the app, you can search for others (both locals and fellow travelers) to eat with.
You simply add the city and food experience that you want to have, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have a great partner for poking around a Guatemala market, trying tapas in Barcelona or eating a guinea pig in Peru (yes, this is common!).
I tried this app once and was invited to dinner at a Greek grandmother’s little beach house. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.
The downside of this app is that sometimes there aren’t that many experiences listed, so it works best in peak travel seasons.
Summary: Social media style travel friend finding website.
With a pleasing design and an easy-to-use interface, Backpackr is the premiere website to meet travel buddies and connect with other like-minded travelers around the world.
You can use the site before your trip (say, to find someone to travel with), but it also works well on the road, with thousands of users, active message boards and a common room, where you can ask for advice and recommendations.
The site excels at using the format of social media, but for people who are traveling, or will travel soon. I’ve used the app and I ended up with some fun travel buddies that accompanied me from Crete all the way to Turkey.
The site even sends push notifications when someone is en route to your destination so you can check them out or message them.
The downside of Backpackr is that there is no Android app, so you need a laptop to access it.
Website | Android
Summary: Long-lived and well-liked app to help you find a place to sleep with a local.
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.
The only downside of Couchsurfing is that you don’t know anything about the “couch” (which can also be a bed) until you arrive at the house, so picky travelers may want to avoid it.
Website | iOS | Android
Summary: Well used app that helps you meet people for almost any reason you can think of.
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.
The only downside here is that it’s not geared specifically for travelers, so you’re most likely to meet locals here.
Website | iOS | Android
Summary: Easy to use app for women travelers to connect with other women on the road.
This app is reserved for female travelers, so it can provide a safe way to meet other female travelers with on the road. It’s worth knowing that the app verifies the users to increase safety.
Once you download the app, you create a profile, list a destination and then start making connections with other women.
You can use the app before you leave or while you’re in the middle of an epic backpacking trip.
I’ve heard from friends that sometimes, the number of people using the app can be low in the off season, so it’s probably better to use it in the high season.
Website | iOS | Android
Summary: Trusted groups for locating fellow travelers and travel advice.
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.
For example, if you’re a solo female traveler, join Girls LOVE Travel® and meet other women who will be traveling to the same location.
Want to get even more specific? Try Facebook groups such as South America Travel with Kids or Chat food travel in TW (Taiwan).
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.
Here are some other popular Facebook groups to check out before (or while) you travel:
- Ultimate Travel Group: a large community for travelers and travel bloggers
- Explorer by Nomads: an expansive travel group that emphasizes digital work
- Travel Community: almost 200,000 members coming together for travel advice and connections
- Photographers & Travel Nomads: travel group focusing on making connections between travel photographs and digital nomads
- Backpacking Europe: if you’re backpacking around Europe, join this group to meet others who are, too
- Southeast Asia Backpacker Community: if you’re backpacking around Southeast Asia, this is a very effective group for meeting other travelers
- Backpacking South America: this group is the same as the previous two, but for South America
- Solo Female Travelers: just like the name implies, solo women travelers can connect with others easily in this group
Other Ways to Meet Travelers Abroad
If you don’t feel like downloading a bunch of apps, don’t worry! There are lots of other ways you can meet fellow travelers.
Learn the Local Language
It may seem like common sense, but if you want to meet locals, it helps to know their language. Sure, wherever you go you may find people who know some English. But if you really want to interact with locals as you travel, learn the local language.
You might find yourself picking up the language through sheer immersion—that is, just by being surrounded by the language.
Give yourself a boost with a language learning program like FluentU. This immersion program will prepare you for real spoken languages since it teaches through authentic videos like movie clips, music videos, vlogs and more.
Watch videos to pick up on vocabulary that you might encounter on your travels like food and local customs. You can save vocabulary directly from videos and study them through personalized quizzes that also let you practice pronunciation with speaking questions.
FluentU is available in 10 languages, and has an iOS and Android app, so it can come on your travels with you.
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 (and 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. Because of this connection, small parties and hang-outs often form in the common area.
And more often than not, hanging out in the common room leads to an adventure. It’s not unusual for groups to end up going out together, experiencing the city as new friends.
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.
Meeting people around the world with similar interests has never been easier, thanks for these apps and recommendations.
You won’t just finish your trip with new friends. You’ll also have new experiences and a ton of stories to share.