One concern that people usually face when deciding if they want to travel solo is if they will be able to make friends. While, that is a valid concern and some people are better in making new friends more quickly than others, it should not hold you back from traveling by yourself.
While it can be hard at times I’m pretty sure everyone will be able to make friends even if you are a little shy. Here are 10 tips on how to make friends when backpacking solo.
Of course making friends is important because without it traveling would not be half as fun. While I do prefer to travel solo and do things by myself I love to meet new people from around the world.
1. Join Activities
The best activities that you can join would be the one offered by your accommodation, as you will be able to see the people again after the activity ends.
A lot of hostels offer different activities from BBQ’s to bike tours to beach parties or walking tours. Going on tours is always a great way to meet people if these tours are offered from the hostel or not.
2. Consider the number of people in your Hostel dorm
When I book my hostel there is an option to see on Hostelworld how many beds are available. For example, if there is a six bed dorm and only five beds are available then it is most likely that the one bed is taken by a solo traveler, who are usually easier to connect with.
Of course that technique does not always work out but it is worth the try.
Other than that I think it is always more social if the dorm is a bit smaller rather than bigger and easier to meet people.
3. Start conversions
I know this sounds obvious but the best way to make friends is to start conversions. Just start with something like: “Hey how are you doing ?” and see how the conversion develops.
Usually you can quite easily get an idea if the other person wants to continue having the conversation or not. For example, by telling if they also ask you questions in return or if you are the only one asking the questions.
I know it can be hard to start conversation with random strangers. But if you try they might turn into friends. If you don’t they will remain strangers, so who cares.
4. Don’t force it
Most people that I have met while traveling I have met when I least expected it and at the most random places. In an elevator, at the airport, or when asking a question at a tourist information. Most of the time when I really wanted to make friends it didn’t really happen as soon as I would have liked it to.
Therefore, just be open to all when someone approaches you, wherever you are.
5. Approach other solo travellers
A lot of the times people sit by themselves because they want to meet people but are too afraid to approach someone. So just sit down and start to have some small talk or ask for recommendations and see if it will progress into a whole conversation or not.
6. Choose your Hostel based on social areas and size
As a solo traveler, one factor that is really important to me is the availability of social spaces to meet other people. This can be a bar or common area or anything like that.
I also recommend to read the reviews about the hostel to see how social it appears. In general, smaller hostels are more social than bigger one’s. However, in the bigger hostels there is a higher possibility that you will meet people that you have things in common with.
7. Be comfortable being by yourself
If you are not comfortable being by yourself then there is honestly no point in traveling solo. While the fun part of solo travel is to connect with new people and get to know people from around the world, there will be times where you will be alone.
That is just something that you have to accept in order to enjoy traveling solo I believe.
8. Go on Pub crawls
There is no easier way to make people then when everyone is drunk to be honest. And the good thing about pub crawls is that is is okay to go there by yourself where as I would not go to a club by myself.
The best pub crawls are the ones that are offered by the hostel as it is the easiest to know about them. The most social ones are those where they will organise games for people to connect.
9. Don’t be on your phone the whole time
People that are one their phone constantly just seem a little unapproachable or look like they don’t want to be approached.
I know if you don’t know what to do, I am the first person as well that just browses my phone without a reason, but try to maybe opt for some other activities when you want people to approach you. Like read some tour flyers or write a travel journey.
10. Speak more than one language
There will always be people who don’t want to speak English or just speak there local language. And while that is annoying in an international environment, it can also be a good opportunity for you to practise your language skills.
Also, if you make an effort into speaking their language they might be more willing to except you into their group.
What are your tips and tricks when making friends while traveling solo?
Let me know in the comments x
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Good tips! I think you automatically make friends on solo travel. I like the point where you said – don’t force it. The best part about solo travel is that you meet new people and you end up engaging into meaningful and stimulating conversations. It’s beautiful!
Thanks so much! I agree, it is my favourite part of travelling! Sometimes it is really easy to meet new people but sometimes you really want to make friends but it is just not happening. Nothing wrong with that, just need to be aware of it I think! 🙂
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