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Traveling solo can be an awesome experience, but a lot of travelers worry about how they’ll make friendships when they decide to set out alone. “How can I meet people while traveling?” “Will I just be alone all the time?” “Is it even possible to make friends abroad?”
I feel totally you. I had the same questions at the beginning.
Even though I consider myself an introvert, I still worried that traveling solo would just be one long video montage of me requesting tables for one, touring famous monuments in stone silence, walking down desolate beaches, and rigging up my tripod in elaborate configurations any time I wanted a picture of myself.
Well, the tripod thing totally ended up happening. But I shouldn’t have been worried.
After my fair share of wandering, I promise that you 1000% can meet people while traveling and have a great social life, even when you’re far from home. You might even meet some of your best friends.
So how do you do it? How do you uproot your life and wander the globe without feeling too… lonely.
I’ve asked travelers around the world to spill their secrets for making friends abroad. Many of these amazing adventurers are now dear friends of mine (which is more proof that yes, you can totally meet awesome people while traveling!)
This post will show you exactly how you can do it too.
1. Stay in a hostel to meet travelers
Hostels are awesome places to meet other travelers. By staying in a hostel, you share a bunk room with several other people. You also share common spaces and sometimes bathrooms. Hostels usually have social activities throughout the week and might organize their own tours and activities for guests.
If you’re traveling as a digital nomad or just need your own space, most hostels also have private rooms. You don’t have to camp too hard in bunk beds but you still get the social hostel community. I book my hostels through Hostelworld.
While on a backpacking trip around Europe, John from The Hangry Backpacker met a great friend in a lively hostel.
“An American and a Korean walk into a bar. No, it’s not the start of a bad joke. It’s the start of a great friendship!
In 2014, I found myself in Nice, France while backpacking through Europe. My hostel was in a great location and had a lively bar inside. After a long day of wandering, I stepped outside to escape the noise and get some fresh air.
While swapping travel stories with people outside, I met Byung. He was studying in France and from Korea. We ended up hanging out for the rest of the night. As he was leaving, we swapped contact information like so many travelers do.
Somehow, Byung and I have managed to stay in touch since that time in France, often talking about our shared love of travel.
When I moved to Portland, Oregon, USA a few years ago, Byung was the first visitor I had to my new home. He was on a West Coast USA trip and spent a week with my roommate and me. I played tour guide and showed him Portland. The highlight was an NBA game he really wanted to attend.
Last year, as I was backpacking through Asia, my girlfriend and I spent a couple of weeks in South Korea. We met Byung in his hometown, and his mother cooked a wonderful Korean feast. He met us in Seoul a few days later for a baseball game and gave us a great tour.
I never imagined in 2014 that a chance encounter in southern France would lead to a lasting friendship spanning three continents. Making friends while traveling can be stressful, but once you get started, it’s fun and easy. And sometimes, other travelers will become good friends, leading to new places and priceless experiences.”
Trang from Travel with Trang also made amazing friends in a hostel in the Philippines.
“I had stayed at a very cheap hostel when I was in Boracay Island, Philippines. Although there was no air conditioning and the floors were very sandy, the hostel itself seemed ok – free pasta nights, drink specials, and they even had designated lounge chairs for us to sit by the beach. I was debating whether or not to go on their sailing trip; I’d never been on one before. It was only $12, why not?
This was the pinnacle event where I met an American couple from California, Sara & Frank. We sat on the sailboats as the gusty winds moved us around the island. It was another hot & humid day, but no one seemed to mind since the clear blue water cooled us off just fine.
It started off as usual small talk with Sara & Frank throughout the day – what we thought of the sailboat trip, where we were from, what foods we’ve tried so far, how they just got engaged, that kind of thing.
The beauty of travel is that you bond naturally with random people in random places. There’s no formula to it and you’ll know when you’ve made a close friend. Sara, Frank, and I bonded over the next two days at the hostel and also at night when we went out to eat, drink, and dance. I even introduced Frank to balut (google it) and how to eat it.
We all kept in touch afterward and fast forward two years later, I moved to sunny California. I still hang out with them over a good meal, just like we had back in the Philippines!”
While staying in a hostel in Rome, Caresa from This Spontaneous Life met one of her best travel buddies after a coincidence brought them together.
“I was once in Rome, Italy and one night, I had a little bit too much to drink. I ended up in McDonald’s with the security guard watching over me to make sure I was safe and protecting me so no one would try to mess with me in my vulnerable moment. Shortly after, the security guard walked me back to my shared-room hostel. He made sure I got back safe since it was pretty late.
A few hours later, this girl walks into the room to crash for the night. The next day, she and I got to talking and it turns out that right after I left McDonald’s, the same exact thing happened to her. She drank too much and ended up in McDonald’s being protected by the same security that watched over me. (That poor security guard, lol.)
Needless to say, after sharing our eerily similar stories, we completely hit it off. For the short time we were together, we went and had a night out on the town, had dinner, drank wine, and just had an amazing girls night together. Meeting new people and making life-long friends is truly the most amazing and rewarding part of traveling!”
Staying in a highly-rated hostel is also one of my biggest solo travel safety tips because you’ll have a community of people around you from the moment you arrive. Hostels also often arrange tours and activities for guests, which means you’ll have fun things to do with your newfound friends!
2. House Sit to meet locals while traveling
As a house sitter, you live in someone’s home while they’re traveling. You take care of their pets and property in exchange for a free place to stay. When you line up a house sit abroad, often you’ll be welcomed into the social circle of your hosts.
On almost every house sit, I’ve been introduced to a neighbor or someone in town to connect with. These friendships have led to a day trip touring the Montacute House in the UK and a World Cup viewing party in Bangkok.
Experienced house sitter Phillipe of The Amazing Stroll has experienced this as well. He has traveled extensively but prefers house sitting for the connections he can make.
“Having the liberty to travel often has been a privilege of mine for many years now. Backpacking, resorts, cruises, camping, house sitting… I’ve tried them all!
Done are my days of traveling with the purpose of seeing landmarks as if I’m collecting them in a make-believe checklist. I now travel to get a feel for a place. I travel to connect with locals and experience their way of life.
Now if you’re backpacking, you’re most likely going to befriend expats and other travelers. Resorts? Cruises? You’ll meet other tourists.
But house sitting? Well, that’s just another kind of travel experience on to itself.
Homeowners for whom you house sit for introduces you to their friends, neighbors, and family, granting you access to an immediate social network. And the fact that house sitting has you staying put in one spot for an extended period of time allows these friendships to grow roots.
“Remember when we went hiking with the neighbors while house sitting in France?”
“Or that time Miguel’s students brought us along to the county fair when we house sat in Madeira?”
To this day, the many friendships that have emerged out of house sitting assignments are nurtured and cherished in my mind and in my heart. No need for a fridge magnet or a trinket, my friendships are my souvenirs.”
3. Book a shared Airbnb or shared apartment to meet travel buddies
If you choose to stay in an Airbnb with hosts who live on the property, you will have built-in friends from the start. When searching for these rooms, set the Airbnb filters to “private room” instead of “private apartment.” Often, you can look at the host and see if they have several listings in the same house. This means that there are probably other travelers staying there too.
Usually, the reason people open their house up to travelers is that they love meeting new people (that’s you!). In Glasgow, I met an amazing travel companion over breakfast in a shared Airbnb. Our host prepared a breakfast feast for all the guests and we used our mornings to plan our days together.
In Bali, I rented the guest room of a local couple’s home and enjoyed outings to the market, nights out, and afternoon coffees on the patio. They basically adopted me as one of their own family members and planned movie nights and family-style dinners. We still keep in touch now.
In Costa Rica, Clayton and Janelle from Bonnie Clyde Worldwide met amazing travel buddies through a communal Airbnb close to nature.
“While in Costa Rica, we rented out a Bungalow in the jungle through Airbnb to be closer to wildlife. The property had seven bungalows all filled with travelers with unique backgrounds and stories. With complimentary breakfast in the mornings, it was impossible not to come across another person. Friendly and welcoming, we all drank coffee and made five friends in five minutes.
Trading stories of international travel adventures, we agreed to hang out later that day and explore the nearby town of Atenas, Costa Rica to find some local cuisine. One friend, Jason, actually lived in Costa Rica for over a year and knew the best place to eat which served chicken burgers with homemade fries. We ate delicious burgers together and got a free round of beers since Jason knew the owner of the restaurant.
It was incredible how quickly my wife and I made friends while traveling in a different country. A year later, we’re still in contact with most of the travelers we met sharing our new stories through social media. With countless ways to meet people, our favorite is through Airbnb.”
When a shared apartment arrangement went south, Adam from Wanderway made the most of a bad situation and ended up meeting one of his best travel friends.
“In 2015, I moved to the small Mediterranean island of Malta. It was my first time going abroad in my life and I was admittedly nervous. Thoughts of studying an entire semester abroad without making any friends crept into my mind as I counted the days until leaving.
When I finally arrived, I learned that the flat I had already paid for didn’t actually exist. The entire thing was a scam. It wasn’t the best first day in Europe I had imagined, but I wasn’t the only one to fall for the scam.
A guy coming from Algeria was supposed to share the flat with me. He was faced with the same reality upon arriving. We didn’t have anywhere to go, but we stuck together for the sake of not being alone. It was his first day abroad as well.
Fast forward four years. We may have each lost over a thousand dollars that day, but that guy from Algeria remains my best friend in the world. It was a bond meant to be. Our only option is to believe our paths were supposed to cross through that scam.
There’s nothing we can do about our stolen money, but this is a good example that even in the worst case scenarios, there is always a good friend around the corner when you are traveling.”
4. Find friends to travel with on organized tours
Sign up for a group tour or class that sounds interesting to you! If you’re in Europe, Sandemans New Europe does free tours in most major cities. You can also use Viator to book classes and excursions with a group of new friends. You’ll learn a new skill and meet new people at the same time.
Whether it’s a cooking class in Bangkok, an island tour in Krabi, or an epic adventure through southern France, organized tours and classes are great places to meet solo travelers.
Kaisa from Glam Granola Travel met an amazing friend at an ethical elephant sanctuary while traveling solo in Thailand.
“I made one of my best friends abroad on a Valentine’s Day tour of an ethical elephant sanctuary. Not only were Jess and I the only two solo female travelers in the group, but we were the only two people for whom English was a first language. We bonded instantly over both of these things on the jeep ride from Kanchanaburi, Thailand, to the sanctuary.
Though we’d grown up thousands of miles apart (her in Canada, me in the US), we realized we had a ton in common. We prided ourselves on being independent women backpackers, opting to spend the most romantic day of the year on an adventure, a world away from our loved ones.
For the rest of the day, between making food for the elephants and walking around the sanctuary, we were inseparable. We took plenty of selfies that day and acted as photographers for one another when we saw a great shot. That’s one of the perks of finding travel buddies as a solo backpacker!
On the ride back to town Jess and I continued gabbing basically nonstop, about everything from our Southeast Asia itineraries to how glad we were to be missing winter back home. When the jeep pulled up to my hostel, we said a cheerful farewell and made plans to find each other on Facebook.
We have yet to meet again, but I still see Jess’s adventures online and smile. We’ll always share the elephants!”
6. Use Facebook groups to meet people while traveling
Before going anywhere, check out Facebook groups for expats in that area. Simply search “expats in [your city]” and see what groups come up.
Look for people hosting group events to join or initiate your own social outing. Chances are you’ll meet lots of other awesome travelers looking to make new friends.
Allen from Traveling Crumbs used Facebook groups to make friends while teaching English in Spain.
“Facebook groups are an amazing way to meet people abroad.
The Barcelona TEFL Teachers Association is a Facebook group that usually meets twice a month. It also has helpful information about how to get organized, find private classes, and network with fellow teachers. The events held are insightful and you will be surprised at how many people you can meet and party with in one day.
I joined this group my first year living in Barcelona. I attended two events and have meet some amazing people from both. Normally meeting in a bar, people gather to share their experiences teaching and living in Barcelona. It was a great way to base myself as a new teacher in Barcelona and make a friend that I now see every week.”
While teaching English in Medellin, Columbia, Jess from The Jesstination also found an amazing friend through facebook.
“When I moved to Colombia in 2016, I didn’t know a single soul. The first part of my year teaching involved an orientation with about 200 other teachers who would also be living in the country. I became fast friends with a couple of girls I met there but they were placed in different cities. It was great having buddies around the country to visit during the holidays, but of course, having a friend in the same city is ideal.
Once I got settled in my home of Medellin, I found this beautiful spirit named Dawn through Facebook. Not only did she live in my city, but she also lived on my street! We met in person in a park and instantly became Bobbsey Twins. We did EVERYTHING together and I could not have dreamt of a better person to have linked up with!
Looking back, I made a ton of friends while living in Medellin. The friendly, happy, party vibes of Colombia make it virtually impossible not to. I met people who became friends in hostels, bars, shopping malls, and festivals in my time there.
Dawn left Colombia before I did and I missed her dearly! She now lives in South Korea, and I’ve been in China for a year now, but we still haven’t seen each other! I know, crazy! We’re working on it though.”
Avery from Anywhere and Averywhere also had success meeting friends from facebook groups and social media.
“I’ve made so many friends abroad is by joining Facebook groups! When living in Bali I joined a female-only group for the area and reached out to a few girls for coffee dates and sunsets. It’s 2019 and totally normal to meet people from the Internet!”
7. Instagram is another useful tool for finding companions
Over the last few years, Instagram has grown to be one of the most used social media platforms out there. Use Instagram to connect with people who share your interests and itinerary.
Instagram was where Laura from Journey of the Hart found a friend to encourage her to take the travel leap.
“Aimlessly searching on Instagram for hashtags like “#travelabroad” and “#liveabroad” when I was procrastinating was something that happened quite often.
Then one day, the unexpected happened. I found someone who had a profile about teaching English online and instantly messaged her asking how she was doing it and can I join?!
Fast forward 8+ months and I now call that person a good friend. She helped give me support and courage about moving abroad. She was always there to listen and give advice (to my millions of questions!). And she understood my ambitions and motivations more than some people that had known me for a while.
It is a little crazy to think I met this person through Instagram but it just goes to show that real connections with people (even through social media) do exist when you’re passionate about similar things.
Traveling alone can be scary, but when you know there people out there who will support you because they believe in your dream, it gives you a sense of confidence. You know you’re never really alone.”
Amanda from The Uncommon Pursuit uses social media to meet friends all over the world.
“Traveling long term is obviously so exciting. But when you travel longer than vacations, you miss those wine nights with girlfriends and day trips with people who are more than strangers. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to make friends especially moving around quite a bit, but I have honestly ended up making some of the best friends in just a short 6 months.
I joined tons of Facebook groups and messaged people on Instagram. Through social media, I started to meet up with people when our paths crossed. I have met two of my closest friends from Instagram and now we are traveling together and living in the same cities.
Although we all still move around a lot, we all live similar nomadic lifestyles. We may be apart for a month but then we meet back up.
It’s honestly just so cool to be able to go to any country and message someone you have become “internet friends” with to ask for suggestions or a coffee date! You will never be short on friends, you just have to put yourself out there!”
8. Use dating Apps to find travel buddies
We’ve all heard of Bumble, Tinder, and Grindr for dating, but did you know you can also use these apps to meet friends? Bumble even has a special BFF mode just for doing just that. You can swipe through profiles of people nearby who are looking for friendship and new connections.
Bumble BFF has been one of my favorite apps to find travel buddies. I’ve found friends to hang out with all over the world with just a few swipes.
9. Try the Couchsurfing App to meet locals abroad
Daisy from Beyond my Boarder used the Couchsurfing App to find hangouts in Mexico.
“I’ve been Couchsurfing for the past four years. Through this app, I’ve met numerous generous, welcoming, and interesting people, with some becoming lifelong friends. Although staying with a stranger may not work for everyone, the Couchsurfing app can still be used to meet fellow travelers on the road.
While in Mexico, I decided to give the ‘hangout option’ on the Couchsurfing app a try. Hangout was created a few years to unite travelers and locals who are in the same city. You can be active for a few hours with a personalized public message, such as “looking to see the city”, “looking to drink coffee” etc. This will be shown to other app users who are in the same area, and from there, you can meet up to explore together.
That’s how my friend Meli and I met. We were both visiting Merida, Mexico and began chatting through the app. The next day, we decided to head towards Uxmal together. After spending a few hours wandering the monument, we quickly clicked. Although our backpacking itineraries were different, we did end up meeting up in two other cities in Mexico.
We still keep in touch and have plans of visiting each other or going on a trip together in the near future!”
10. MeetUp is an awesome website for finding group activities abroad
MeetUp is a website to find people with similar interests. Allen from Traveling Crumbs has had some awesome (and hilarious) experiences using MeetUp in Spain.
“Meetup is a website that opens doors for people to meet locals and travelers alike. You simply choose the groups that interest you, join the group, and meet up with people who share the same passion.
During my first year in Barcelona, I joined Meetup and went to regular yoga sessions. I met locals that gave me tips on where to buy yoga gear and where to eat healthy in Barcelona.
Another event I attended from Meetup was a biking tour. Well… it was supposed to be a biking tour. It ended up being just me and a couple of friends riding our bikes through Barcelona’s’ main streets. That day, the streets were full of bikers and rollerbladers wearing flashlights and glow sticks. Some of them were wearing crazy outfits. And some were wearing absolutely nothing at all. Yes, you got it… nude bikers!
You could hear techno music playing since some riders had speakers strapped to their backs. Rollerbladers carried their own speakers blasting the latest deep house mixes. It was an unexpected, yet fantastic meetup to say the least.”
11. Find new friends on TripAdvisor
Kate and Vin from Throne and Vine used TripAdvisor to meet locals while traveling.
“When traveling to a part of a country where English falls behind German, Italian and Ladin as the go-to tongue, it can be hard to meet locals to hang out with. That is unless you get creative and go “old school” so to speak.
While planning our adventures to South Tyrol, we sought to meet with someone who could really give us a behind-the-scenes view into life in this mountainous gem crowning northern Italy. We browsed various blog posts related to the region, but only found other wanderlusters who had simply documented their brief time visiting the area.
It was then we decided to dust off an old online travel favorite: TripAdvisor. Sure it’s a cyber dinosaur, but it’s a beast that still has legs. On TripAdvisor, we found an American who responded frequently to South Tyrol forum questions. We reached out to her and discovered she had been living in South Tyrol for 20+ years! Bingo! We offered to buy her lunch or dinner during our visit. She kindly agreed!
That initial greeting has since blossomed into a friendship which has made a dramatic difference in how we explore South Tyrol. She has been invaluable in sharing the fascinating culture, cuisine, and traditions of a land we have grown to love as a second home.
Without her as a friend, we would have never met numerous owners of restaurants and wineries in the area. During a recent get-together, she invited us to her mountain cabin where learned the family secret behind making delicious spaetzle.
If anyone is struggling to make connections abroad, we suggest doing a little homework on sites with strong forums like TripAdvisor. Don’t be afraid to offer to buy a stranger dinner or even something as simple as a cup of coffee. You’ll find many are longing to share deep insights into their homeland. The kind of tips you can’t find anywhere else.”
12. Volunteering also gives you opportunities to be social
Allen from Traveling Crumbs used volunteering to make connections with people who shared his passions.
“Get involved with an organization in your city. Volunteering with an organization near you can help make some new friends.
Caring for dogs in a local shelter, helping others learn a language, or finding a gardening center to plant seeds and share fresh veggies are just some options. If philanthropy is your passion, you will help change the lives of others and find others who can do the same for you.”
12. Co-working Spaces are awesome places to learn new things and find friends
You don’t have to be a remote worker to meet people in co-working spaces. Many co-working spaces have free social and educational events every week. In Bali, I went to a free coding class offered by a popular co-working space. The class was very interesting, and no, I’m still not an expert coder, but I also met really great friends staying nearby.
Some co-working spaces offer accommodation in addition to workspaces. By staying in a co-working space, you can get the community of a hostel but with good WiFi and no bunk beds!
13. Strike up a conversation with someone around you
Sometimes your future best friend is right in front of you.
When she was lost in a train station, Kelsey from Sights Better Seen seized the opportunity to make a friend.
“I’d finally landed in my absolute dream destination: Greece! However, my current reality was far from dreamlike – I’d spent the night at the airport and now, the morning after, my debit card wasn’t working.
After a bucket of tears and the realization that I was simply just trying to withdraw too much cash (whoops), I marched over to the train station to buy a ticket. I could not for the life of me find my stop on the map. I was one breath away from a complete meltdown when I heard someone ask, “Are you as lost as I am?”
I turned around, reluctantly nodding that yep, I had no idea what the hell I was doing.
Turned out that he didn’t either, but after getting our bearings we agreed to meet up and explore Athens later that afternoon.
His name was Andrew, he was from Canada, and after chatting more on the train I decided he wasn’t a serial killer. We ended up getting along so well that we traveled through Greece together for the next ten days. We still talk 3 years later, and have since met up in San Francisco and Sweden!”
Fiona from Passport and Piano made a local connection when a friendly stranger helped her in Chile.
“Having driven three and half hours from Santa Cruz to Valparaiso and negotiated the incredibly steep incline of the hills, my nerves were a little in tatters on arrival in Valparaiso.
We finally found the apartment, but no one was around apart from some guy painting at the end of the street. I went over to see if he spoke English and could help. It turns out his English was excellent, and he sent a message on my behalf to the apartment host.
It wasn’t long before the lady who owned the apartment showed up. She was apologetic and let us in. I thanked the artist whose name was Gabriel and invited him in for a drink. My travel companion was not too impressed, she doesn’t trust anyone, but he seemed kind enough, and I felt we owed him a thank you. We exchanged contacts on Facebook and said goodbye.
Later that evening Gabriel got in touch via Facebook asking how I was and offering to show me some of the street art in Valparaiso in the morning. We arranged to meet early, and it turned out to be a fabulous day.
Gabriel was so proud of the artwork throughout his town. I think he was on a mission to show me everything. We started by catching the bus to Cerro Polanco which hosted a street art festival in 2012. The area was a little off the beaten track and not the sort of place one would typically explore as a tourist but having the company of Gabriel made it easy.
Almost every house was covered in artwork. He told me that Artists initially just asked permission to paint on the outside walls, but art has become so popular that people now pay to have their homes painted.
After lunch, we got back on the bus and headed to Cerros Miraflores and then walked to Cerro Alegre. Our last stop was the area of Bellavista. Here there was an open-air museum which had some fantastic murals and mosaics.
From one simple gesture and a little trust, I gained a new friend and had a fantastic day. We’ve stayed in touch ever since.”
Backpacker cafes and hangout spots can also make great places to meet friends, according to Mikaela from Voyageur Tripper.
“When it comes to meeting friends while traveling, I’ve tried a lot of different strategies but here is the one I’ve found to be most helpful. I like hanging out in hostel common areas or cafes that are popular for backpackers and striking up a conversation with someone next to me.
I’ll ask where they’re from or if they have any recommendations about what to do in the area. We usually end up chatting for a bit and if I like the person, I’ll ask if they’ve done a hike or a specific activity in the area that someone probably wouldn’t want to do alone.
I became friends with the girl in the photo because both of us wanted to do Roy’s Peak Hike in New Zealand. We bonded on the uphill, shared a beautiful sunrise together at the top, and got to know one other more on the downhill.
This hike inspired more adventures and we’re still friends a year later. I’m even visiting her in Hawaii at the end of this year!”
Even when traveling as a couple, just striking up a conversation with people you’re sitting near at dinner time can lead to powerful friendships. Lynn from Be Your Own Travel Guide learned about friendships across the ages by doing this on a European river cruise.
“If you’ve ever taken a cruise as a couple, you know that one of the options they provide is group-style seating to speed up the wait times. We always chose not to do this and always ate at an earlier or later time instead.
Our Viking Cruise up the Seine River in France, we were not given any dining options. The horror! Leading up to the trip, the thing that I worried about the most was the group-style seating. There was only one dinner time, and you were left to fend for yourself by asking other couples to join your table or join in on others.
I felt like this was the high school cafeteria all over again…what if nobody wanted to eat with us? Turning 30 that year, both my husband and I were FAR outside the average age group for this type of cruise, which was probably around 72.
I needn’t had worried incessantly, as dinner time turned out to be the best part of the trip! The first day, a single lady sat down with us, then a couple, then another. We bonded immediately (are you not having the best time on this trip??) and had so much fun that we continued to eat together, stay up late, and generally cause a ruckus by inventing our own tours.
We met many phenomenal people that we still keep in touch with today, and we plan on taking another cruise together next year.
Worried about a conversation starter? You are on a trip of a lifetime! There is your opening line right there…“what did enjoy doing today?” You will be blown away by who you meet or what you learn.”
Shireen from The Happy Days Travels had a similar experience in Cambodia when she learned that even if your team loses, you still might walk away a winner.
“Sitting in a bar and drinking 17 pence Cambodian beer on Siem Reap’s pub street, my partner and I were getting excited for the next football game in the 2016 Euros.
Wales was playing England and it was an important game in the tournament. We were sandwiched between four England supporters on either side of us and unfortunately, England beat Wales that night.
We were okay with the result, brushed it off and continued with our night when the waiter surprised us with two beers. To our delight, the waiter explained they were bought for us by the people on the table behind.
We turned around, thanked them and invited them to join our table. It was a moment that rippled into many more future trips with these strangers.
The three people joined us and explained they were French and had been following the 2016 Euros while in Asia. They bought us the beers not only because of our loss to England but the way in which we reacted to that loss.
Despite sometimes our speech getting lost in translation, we instantly had a connection and soon moved on to more conversations, more laughs, and more beers.
We continued to meet up for our remaining time in Siem Reap. They asked if we would like to meet them in Sihanoukville the following week, and so we did. From chilled times in Sihanoukville, we traveled to Koh Rong, spending beach days and fun-fuelled nights together, before we went our separate ways.
Fast forward 18 months and my partner and I are on a plane to Bordeaux, France to visit our friends! It was a beautiful moment to reunite in their homeland, reminiscing about our Asia travels. Next on the agenda is everyone coming to visit us in Wales!
Friendships made while traveling are fun, interesting and the bond created is something you only find when you share those inspiring travel moments.”
On that night in Siem Reap, the important football game we lost, but special friendships, we gained.”
So will I be able to make friends while traveling alone?
For many travelers like Jerrica, traveling solo means total freedom and opportunities to meet all kinds of new people.
“Long-term solo traveling, for me, was a choice I made purely out of impatience. There was no one else I knew searching for the kind of freedom that I wanted. Leaving then was as good of a time to go as any.
That was five big across-the-globe moves and nearly six years ago. I never could’ve dreamed of the kind of people I would meet in the process.
I was open to meeting these people because I didn’t have the crutch of another person to lean on. I was forced to navigate the streets of a foreign place on my own but I had the complete freedom and openness to always choose my own path.
From my very best friend who I met on the floor of the airport as we both touched down alone in South Korea.
To that one special German man who gave me the most amazing of all Christmases on the remote and beautiful island of Koh Ta Kiev.
And to the British woman who approached me at a hostel bar, asked me immediately if I was traveling alone, and invited me to dinner with her and her friends. On New Year’s day. On what she didn’t know was also the first birthday I was spending completely alone.
Instead, I was packed into the streets of Siem Reap, getting sprayed with cheap beer, and ringing in that special day with three new friends I didn’t know just a few short hours before.
Traveling solo is a beautiful mess, but these moments are far from rare. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this process of solo wandering, it’s that being alone and feeling alone are two very different things.”
As you navigate the world on your awesome solo adventure, remember to be open. A new friendship could emerge when you’re lost in a train station, sharing a dorm in a hostel, taking a cooking class, or even scrolling on Instagram.
Avery from Anywhere and Averywhere reminds us that, “when you’re traveling or living abroad just say “yes” to everything. Every dinner, every outing – you never know who’ll meet along the way. But if I had to guess, it’s potential lifelong friendships.
Making friends abroad is as simple as saying “hello” to the person eating breakfast alone in the morning at your hostel or nearby café – I can promise you they’re looking for a friend, too!”
Have you ever made a friend while traveling? Tell me about it in the comments!
That is a wonderful post. Wouldn’t it be nice if ALL people got to meet strangers who became friends? I had a tear when I read about you eating alone in a German restaurant, and a German family “adopted” you for dinner. No common language and you all had a very special night.
What a great post full of amazing ideas. As travelling house sitters we love meeting up with like-minds – it can be a lonely lifestyle at times. We use a meetup resource specifically for house-sitters to connect and meet – mapahub.com – it’s free to try and you’ll get notifications of other sitters close by now or in the future!
That’s great! I’ll definitely give this a try! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you so much about this. As an introvert, it’s not really easy to build connection with people. What more if other country? This tips would really help me a lot.
I agree! I also tend to be introverted, so it’s really helpful to go on organized group activities where you’ll find people with common interests and conversations start naturally. So glad this helps! 🙂