The Secret To Making Friends As A Solo Traveller

One thing that stops many people from travelling solo is the fear of being lonely on the road, not being able to make friends, and not having someone to share their travel memories with. As someone who has always travelled solo, I can honestly tell you that I very rarely feel alone on my travels, but I must admit, I have learned a few things along the way that make making friends on the road a whole lot easier!

Stay in hostels

By far the easiest and most simple way to make friends on the road, if you want to meet people fast, then check out of the hotel and head to a hostel! Hostels are made for socialising. At least, the good one’s are anyway! In the outside world, if someone was sitting alone at a table in say a restaurant, pub, a bus, or somewhere else, and every other table or seat was free, it would seem strange to go up and sit down next to that person. For some reason it’s just not socially acceptable in most places around the world. In a backpackers hostel however, all that goes out the window. It’s completely normal and expected for you to go up and talk to people you’ve never met. If there is only one person in the common room, kitchen, or in your dorm room, you simply go up, sit down, and start talking to them. It’s a friendly environment, and you’ll usually find a lot of people are  in a similar situation to you, possibly travelling alone too. Good hostels will also usually arrange nights out, or things to do in the hostel that will help you socialise more easily, so if you pick your hostel well, then you could easily find on your first day that you have a new travel buddy for part of your trip to team up with.

If you find a good hostel extend you stay…

This will depend on how flexible your trip plan is, and how much time/money you have to travel, but these days, if I find a good hostel, i.e. one with a great social atmosphere, I always extend my stay. Sometimes you can definitely stay in a hostel too long, but the reason I do this is because for me, everytime I look back on my favourite travel memories, they always involve something crazy or fun with the people that I’ve met along the way. If you find a hostel where you find you are making a lot of friends, or where it feels particularly easy to meet people, my advice would be to stay there a little longer if you can, even if it’s just for a few days. You don’t want to stay in one place your whole travels in most cases, but from personal experience, if you are being a traveller who just goes around ticking boxes at all the places they’ve been too, or all the landmarks you have seen, it is a whole lot less fun than hanging with cool and interesting people. It’s the spontaneous and crazy shit that happens on the road which makes travel fun. I can honestly say that my best travel memories have never involved that time I took a picture of the Eiffel Tower just like everybody else who goes there. It’s nice to do the touristy stuff sometimes, but the more I travel, the more I’m not so fussed about doing stuff like that. Those pictures of me next to famous landmarks or attractions are not the ones which make me laugh out loud when I see them.

Throw shyness out the window!

There is no place for being shy in solo travel. At the end of the day, you can sit there in silence and be alone, or you can get over it and just go talk to people. Sometimes all it takes is a “hi, where are you from?”, or a “can I sit with you?”, and you’ll usually find your striking up a conversation in no time. This doesn’t just go for in hostels, but it can also be applicable to most situations you are faced with in travel. At the end of the day, what have you got to lose? Everybody meets people in life, where occasionally you have awkward silences, or conversation doesn’t flow as well in the beginning, but just ride through it. Eventually you’ll find yourself just talking to everybody, and those times where you couldn’ t think of anything to say become less and less.

Backpacker Bars

By no means a good way to meet local people, but you will certainly meet a lot of travellers here. Some people don’t like backpackers bars, because on most occasions they are not the best way to get to know the local culture or people. In my mind however, provided you’re not spending every night in there, I don’t see any problem with it. They are an easy place to meet like minded people straight away, and it sure beats feeling lonely!

Learn the local language, and be talk to EVERYONE!

If you are somewhere where you don’t speak the local language, this does not have to be a barrier to you being able to talk to people. Try to learn a bit of the local language, or if you have the time try to get fluent. It’s the most rewarding feeling ever, to be learning a language, feeling very under-confident about it, and then finding when you speak to people in it that they actually understand you! Also, generally speaking, I have found in the short time that I have tried to learn a bit of Spanish, local people were very patient with me when I tried to speak to them in their local language. If you seem friendly, and you’re trying hard, you’ll find that most people will actually warm to you much quicker, and you’ll be making local friends in no time.

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  1. […] started travelling for the first time, travelling alone brings me out of my shell and allowed me to make more friends on the road, for the simple reason that I have had to. Don’t get me wrong, the first day, especially on […]


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