When I wrote my post about the benefits of solo travel last year I got a lot of response from people who liked the idea of solo travel but were a bit apprehensive about the realities of actually heading to a new country by themselves. Most people seemed to be worried about being lonely and while this can be a problem, it is actually a lot easier than you might think to meet people as a solo traveller. Here are my top tips for meeting people while travelling solo.
By the far the best way for solo travellers to meet people is by staying in hostels. I used to stay in hostels all the time when I solo travelled. If you are a female traveller who would rather not share a dorm room with men many hostels also offer female only dorms. When I travelled solo to New York for the first time I stayed in a hostel and met so many awesome people. Hostels often run social events such a pub crawls which can be a great way to break the ice with your fellow travellers. Just make sure you stay safe though!
Obviously hostels are not for everyone and now I am in my thirties I actually can’t think of anything worse than sharing a room with a bunch of twentysomething backpackers (it should be noted not all hostels are like this). These days when I travel solo I tend to book my accommodation through Airbnb and stay in someone’s spare room. Usually you can have as little or as much interaction with your host as you feel comfortable with. Often your host will be friendly and chatty and will give you insider tips for the local area. In New York I stayed with a lovely lady who was very chatty and sociable but also respected the fact that sometimes I was too tired to be sociable. If you are a bit shy then drop your host an email before you arrive properly introducing yourself. It will make your first encounter a lot less intimidating.
Without a doubt my favourite way to explore a new destination is to wander around aimlessly by myself. However, if I am in a new city by myself I will often take a guided tour as a way on potentially meeting some other likeminded travellers. My favourite thing is to take a free walking tour of the place where I am. Not only is it great way to meet people but it is also super cheap too (you tip your guide what you can afford). A quick google search will show up any free tours in your area.
Interact with the locals
Don’t be shy. Speak to local people, whether it be a shop assistant serving you or waiting staff at a restaurant you are eating at. In most places locals are happy to talk to tourists and you might even get some advice on what to see and do. If nothing else you will have talked to someone, even if only for a few minutes!
Eat out at food markets
Many cities have great food markets which can be a great way to meet fellow travellers. They often have communal seating areas which make it easy to spark up a conversation with other people. If you don’t fancy heading out then you can always make yourself something using the communal kitchen at your hostel. These are great places to get chatting to other travellers.
These are just a few of the things I do when travelling solo. Do you have any tips? Let me know in the comments below!