When I first started traveling, I was more interested to see the places I was visiting than I was in making friends along the way. However, traveling as a single person made it almost impossible not to make connections. People somehow feel less intimidated hitting up a young woman on the road, and I was able to make friendships with quite a few people (and still remain friends today).
Since I’m getting older, though, I’m having a harder time finding new people to meet while traveling. Part of it is that I now see the world with my boyfriend, and approaching a couple is much different than approaching someone alone. I also don’t feel the need to go out as much, so I’m less likely to meet someone at a bar or a club.
I have found a few ways to make some friends even though I tend not to stay in hostels anymore. Here are some tips if you are looking to make some friends on your next adventure.
Join a tour
Whether you choose to join a food tour for an afternoon or you plan on undertaking something more extensive over a few days or weeks, tours are great places to meet like-minded people. Many have traveled before, and depending on what company you use you can meet people your own age or from a variety of ages. We recently went exploring the street foods in Ho Chi Minh City, and we found a number of really enjoyable people to spend time with.
Use the internet
Just as the internet can connect you to someone from another side of the world, it can also help you find people who want to meet up in the area that you are visiting. I’ve found Couchsurfing can be a great resource—even if you aren’t comfortable crashing in someone else’s home. Conversation Exchange has also been a site I’ve used in order to meet some locals and practice my Italian when I was living in Italy. There are a number of sites that can help you find other travelers or some natives, as well.
Stay at a hostel
While I am kind of over the hostel dorm life, I can’t deny that it has allowed me to meet a number of people. Most hostel stayers are friendly and want to meet other people, as well, so often just saying hello can help you to form a connection. I like having my own private space to work and write, but other travelers swear that a hostel is the best way for you to feel less lonely when you are traveling.
I don’t necessarily mean in a romantic sense, but if you want to do that, then you can too. I’ve found that a number of the friends in my daily life tend to know someone somehow who is living in the place where I am going, and I ask them to set me up so we can meet. Not only do you have the interest in each others’ cultures as a talking point, but you also have someone you both know. I find that I tend to have a lot in common with those I meet through people I already know well. And hey! If you’re single, you might meet your new boyfriend or girlfriend.
For me, visiting new locations is still interesting, but it’s the people I remember long after I’ve seen the sights and tried the food. The connections I have made while traveling have taught me a lot, and I feel like a trip misses something if you remain isolated on your journeys.
How do you feel? Do you like meeting new people on your travels?