Traveling to a new place comes with a ton of different emotions.
You’re excited for new and memorable experiences.
You probably also feel a little nervous—maybe even lonely—as you step out of your comfort zone, into a new culture with new people.
Thanks to modern technology, though, socializing while you travel has never been easier.
Getting out there and meeting the right people is the best way to create an unforgettable adventure.
Now you can do that with a wide variety of social travel apps. Don’t leave home without all the best.
Why do you need social travel apps?
Social travel apps can make the difference between a mediocre trip and a memory you’ll keep forever. They make it easy to optimize every aspect of traveling.
Of course, you can use apps to meet new people and make friends while you’re abroad, but there are also apps to help you keep in touch with your friends and family back home.
There are even apps for finding essential services, like food and lodging. You can also use them to discover interesting sites and experiences that are off the beaten path.
Social Travel Apps: 10 Tools for Meeting People Everywhere You Go
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Social travel apps for meeting people
It’s hard to meet people if you can’t talk to them! Learning the language of your destination is the first step toward befriending locals.
That’s where FluentU comes in.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Watching authentic videos is an entertaining method to immerse yourself in a language the way native speakers really use it, while actively building your vocabulary. Now that you understand how people really talk and interact with the culture, you’ll be able to interact with locals much more easily than if you just studied from a textbook.
FluentU also offers progress-tracking tools and video suggestions based on what you’ve already watched. That means your experience will be 100% personalized.
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You may know Couchsurfing as a great way to find inexpensive lodging, but it’s also ideal for meeting people.
As a couchsurfer myself, I know that a lot of hosts are eager to hang out and socialize with their guests. If you host travelers, you get to meet a variety of people from all over the world.
I’ve opened a room in my apartment in Spain to couchsurfers. As a result, I’ve met people from all over the world, and they’re always fascinating. Some have become lifelong friends, and I’ve gone to visit them in their own countries.
Couchsurfing has other features you can use to meet people, too. The app promotes local meetups and has groups for interests and hobbies. Best of all, you can be sure anyone you meet on Couchsurfing is going to be an avid traveler, just like you!
You don’t have to be a backpacker to benefit from all this app has to offer.
It puts you in touch with other travelers in your area who want to see and do the same things you do.
You can also share photos and collect virtual stamps to make your experience even richer!
Social travel apps for communication
WhatsApp is one of my favorite apps! I learned about it for the first time when I lived abroad in Germany and wanted to stay in touch with people back home.
Its use is widespread in the international community because it lets you send text messages using your internet data rather than a text messaging plan. You can send videos and photos, too. There are also social media functions, like stories and profile pictures.
WhatsApp is pretty much essential when you go abroad, not just for communicating with people you meet but for keeping up with family and friends back home.
Calling and even texting internationally with your phone plan costs a fortune, but with WhatsApp, it’s free. You just use your internet connection.
Telegram is a messaging app similar to WhatsApp. It also lets you send videos and photos, and you can create groups to talk with your whole family or a group of friends.
My favorite feature of Telegram is the secret chats. They’re encrypted and allow you to set a timer to permanently delete the messages. This makes Telegram great for sending personal information, such as bank account numbers, while abroad.
Off Exploring is a free, online travel journal to blog about your experiences.
You can use it to keep everyone back home updated about your trip, as well as post pictures and itineraries.
My favorite part? You can even order a hardback book of your journal entries to document your trip afterward!
Finding the best spots
Ask a Stranger
The locals always know the best restaurants, bars and shops. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to just approach a stranger on the street and find the local watering hole.
The Ask a Stranger app makes it a lot easier. It’s basically a question-and-answer service that puts travelers in touch with locals.
Ask a Stranger guarantees quality of service. It does this by charging for questions and paying people for answers with credits. You get 100 free credits for signing up and can buy more afterward.
This means if you help travelers in your area while you’re at home, you can get all your questions answered for free when you travel yourself. This setup keeps the app active and gets questions answered fast.
Showaround is an innovative app that hooks you up with a local tour guide.
Some guides will show you the famous sites while others will show you the nooks and crannies of the city. You name your price, and guides send you offers. It could be a price competitive with professional tours, or it could just be in exchange for English practice.
Some of the tour guides might even be looking to hang out, and you can make knowledgeable friends wherever you’re traveling.
Social travel apps for locating services
Of course, you can use Airbnb to find a great room, but that’s not all you can do with this app.
Take a look at the “Experiences” tab on the app to find cool things to do in the area, including restaurants, bars and sights.
Your host is a wealth of information, too. I stayed in an Airbnb when I first came to Spain, and my host helped me with everything, from finding an apartment to getting a phone plan.
Don’t expect every host to be that hospitable, but chances are they can at least give you some tips.
Hostelworld should be your go-to app if you’re planning to stay in hostels. It has extensive listings and an in-depth rating system that helps you find exactly what you’re looking for, whether that’s an inexpensive bed in a shared hostel or a private room right in the heart of the city.
Hostelworld also has city guides and an in-app booking system, which makes it especially convenient for backpackers. You can book your room quickly and easily from anywhere.
Hostels are great spots to connect with fellow travelers. You may even find someone to explore the city with for the day!
The internet is a great resource for travelers. It connects people and allows us to communicate with people we would otherwise probably never meet.
Social travel apps put you in touch with all sorts of different people who can help you explore and have a good time. So before you board your flight, fill your phone up with the best social travel apps!
Christian Monson is an American living and working in Mallorca. After studying English and German at the University of Arkansas, he was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany before moving to Spain. He speaks German and Spanish and an ever-increasing amount of Catalan. You can learn more about his articles and fiction at christianmonson.com.
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