How To Make Friends During Solo Travel

Credit: Wikimedia / CC-BY-2.0
Caption: Solo travel.
Google searches for solo travel have reportedly risen by approximately 40 percent, which proves you will be far from alone when heading off on an adventure by yourself.

Of course, solo travel might seem a little daunting initially. After all, you must fend for yourself once you touch down at your chosen destination.

However, you might be happy to learn you don’t need to spend the entire experience by yourself, as there are many superb ways to connect with others during an adventure. Read the below advice on how to make friends during solo travel.

Stay in a Hostel Dorm

Hostel dorms cannot only help travelers to save a considerable amount of money, but they can also be an excellent way to make friends with people from different walks of life. As you share the same space with other solo travelers, it would be almost impossible to not strike up a conversation with your dormmates.

Once you arrive at a hostel, it’s likely people will attempt to talk to you, asking questions such as “Where are you from?” or “When did you arrive?”

While it is still possible to connect with other travelers when booking a stay in a private hostel room, you’ll more than likely make more friends during your downtime in a dorm.

Visit Hostel Bars

Once you have left your luggage at a hostel dorm, invite fellow travelers for a drink at the hostel’s bar or make your way to the venue by yourself to connect with others. Hostel bars often serve as popular backpacker hangouts so that you can trust that they will have like- minded people from different corners of the globe.

Different bars will also offer a variety of atmospheres, as they could be ideal for a fun night of partying or a chill evening of playing cards with a pitcher of beer. So, explore the different options at your destination to connect with people who are on your wavelength.

Strike Up a Conversation During Travel

As hard as it may seem, it is, however, possible to make friends before you have even arrived at a destination. For instance, if you’re on a long-haul flight, you could strike up a conversation with others to help pass the time, especially if a person appears to be a solo traveler. If they are, you can guarantee they will appreciate you reaching out to kickstart a conversation, which could help you to secure your first travel buddy before you have even touched down to your destination.

Visit a Popular Solo Travel Destination

According to Booking.com, Australia is the most popular solo travel destination in the world, with many travelers making their way to the likes of Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. As a result, you will be more likely to connect with other backpackers when visiting the country, who could make or break your experience.

Caption: The best destination for solo travel.

Play a Game of Strip Poker

There is no better way to connect with your fellow travelers than by playing a fun game of strip poker. If you’re in need of a good conversation starter at a hostel, ask your new travel buddies to play the fun game with you. Stock up on some drinks, grab some snacks and free yourself of your inhibitions.

There are likely to be plenty of laughs along the way, and you will have many things to talk about once the experience is over. It will also allow you to enjoy a new experience while potentially helping you to develop a closer bond with other backpackers who could become life-long friends.

Image Credit: PxHere / CC0 1.0
Caption: Travel friends.

Learn the Lingo to Connect with Locals

Of course, if you want to connect with locals during a solo adventure, you should attempt to learn some basic phrases in the local mother tongue. By greeting them in their language, they’ll be friendlier and more welcoming, and they might even be able to speak to you in English. So, wherever you go, attempt to brush up on some basic words and phrases to encourage locals to warm up to you.

Use Social Media to Find Other Solo Travelers

It’s likely many solo travelers will want to know some friendly faces when backpacking their way across the world. That’s why it’s common for backpackers to join various groups on social media to connect with other travelers and potentially arrange to meet at a destination. So, if you want to form friendships with travelers before you travel alone to a destination, search for various backpacking groups on the likes of Facebook or a travel app.

Volunteer Abroad

Volunteering cannot only help you to give something back to a community and gain superb experience in an industry, but it can also be an excellent way to find new friends. After all, a recent survey found that 32.9 percent of people wanted to head off on solo travel to learn a new skill. As a result, you can trust that you will meet many kindhearted, compassionate and friendly people when volunteering.

Consider Couch Surfing

While hostel dorms are inexpensive, couch surfing can provide you with free accommodations for the night. What’s more, it can be an excellent way to make friends, as you could connect with the property’s owner or tenant. That way you will be able to enjoy a little company during your adventure while saving a significant sum, which means you’ll have more money to spend on food, activities or future accommodations.

Be Yourself

Don’t spend your backpacking experience worried about how you’ll make friends or start conversations with others, as most travelers are open-minded and want to meet different people from a variety of backgrounds. For this reason, you don’t need to worry about cool icebreakers, as you should aim to be yourself as much as possible.

You can guarantee people will be happy to talk to you about anything, so have confidence in your personality. Even if you don’t click with your hostel dorm mates or other travelers immediately, trust that you’ll find travel buddies in the next hostel, bar or city.

As you can see, there are many ways you can make friends when heading off on a backpacking trip alone. If you keep an open mind, have confidence in yourself and are willing to visit different places and embrace new experiences, it will be a matter of time until you form great friendships with many travelers at your chosen destination.