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How to Make Friends While Traveling Solo: The Ultimate Expert’s Guide

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Planning to travel solo, but not sure how to make friends along the way? If so, this guide on how to make friends while traveling solo is 110% for you!

I’ve traveled solo for the past 15+ years and will be the first one to admit that it can get a bit lonely at times.

Thankfully, there are tons of amazing ways of making friends while traveling solo.

If fear of loneliness is preventing you from commencing your solo travel journey, then this is the post for you!

I will reveal some secret, insider tips that will help you quickly and easily meet people while traveling.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

How to Make Friends While Traveling Solo: 11 Easy Ways

1. Book a Group Tour

Hear me out on this, even if you haven’t booked an organized tour before.

When you join a group tour of a place or country, you know you’ll be traveling with people with similar interests to you.

If they picked the white water rafting excursion, chances are they’re just as adventurous as you!

So group tours can offer a kind of pre-selection of people you might have things in common with.

I find it really easy to start chatting with people on group tours, and you have time to deepen that connection with those you get along with as you spend a pre-determined amount of time together.

And if you don’t want to book a longer group trip, you can always opt for a simple walking tour that will help orient you to a new city as you connect with others.

Nowadays, there are so many tour operators and each has a different vibe, so pick one that really suits your style.

One of my all-time favorite travel brands for a solo traveler is Indico Travels. They offer really versatile trips to countries worldwide that are specifically for 30-45 year-olds with a sense of adventure.

And the best thing is: that everyone on your tour is a solo traveler, too, so they’re open to meeting new people and making friends while discovering the world. A great way to make new travel buddies and friends for life.

2. Remain Approachable

Travelers smilling

When you’re traveling alone and trying to remain vigilant against thieves, it can be easy to close yourself off and unintentionally tell people to stay away.

In fact, you may have your arms folded across your body while looking down at the ground — body language that non-verbally shows people you want to be left alone.

If you want to learn how to make friends while traveling solo, one of the best ways to do so is to adapt friendly body language. You can do this by:

Avoiding Closed Body Language – This includes crossed legs or arms, turning away from people, avoiding eye contact, and so on. These behaviors subliminally tell people NOT to engage with you.

Reducing Use of Electronics — Headphones are basically the universal signal for “I don’t want to talk to you.” Take out your headphones and put away your computer and phone so that people know you are ready to chat.

Have Your Head Up — When you have your head up, you can easily make eye contact and non-verbally invite people to chat with you.

Smile — Remember to smile. It shows people that you are friendly and open to conversation. In contrast, a simple neutral expression is often viewed by people as being slightly negative and may encourage them to stay away.

Stop Slouching — Not only does standing straight project a sense of confidence that draws people to you, but slouching projects that you are bored and not engaged in the moment.

3. Take Time to Learn the Local Language

It sounds obvious, but one factor that typically inhibits people from connecting with locals is the language barrier.

To truly immerse yourself in the local culture and make friends while traveling solo, try learning the local language.

Trust me, you don’t have to be embarrassed about your accent or worried about your pronunciation. Most locals will just be excited that you’re making the effort to speak to them in their native language.

And who knows, they might actually know English and feel comfortable chatting with you once you start the conversation.

If you want to, quite literally, “get the conversation started,” try downloading language learning apps like:

  • Duolingo
  • HelloTalk
  • Memrise
  • Babbel
  • LinguaLift
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Mindsnacks

4. Become Part of Online Travel Groups

Facebook has a ton of great travel groups and solo travel groups where you can connect with like-minded people before embarking on your trip.

In fact, not only are they free to join, but they can provide you with expert travel tips and can even be used to arrange fun meetups during your trip.

It’s best to join groups that fit your specific needs. Some of my personal faves are Girls Love Travel, Female Digital Nomads, and Host a Sister.

There are plenty of communities available for solo travelers who want to learn how to make friends while traveling.

5. Be Spontaneous

Freinds traveling together abroad.

Some of the best and most rewarding solo travel experiences are those that are unplanned.

If you plan every minute of every second of every day, you won’t have the freedom to hang out with the new and exciting people that you meet.

Leave your schedule open enough so that if you meet someone cool at your hostel, you can actually change your plans around and spend time with them.

Pro Tip: When traveling solo, have a rough idea of what you want to do each day and only book tickets in advance for popular activities that may sell out quickly.

6. Download Travel Apps

Not only can travel apps help you travel faster, safer, and smarter but they can be used to help you with making friends while traveling alone.

Some travel apps you may want to consider downloading include:

  • Couchsurfing – If you’re looking for a free place to stay and want to meet some locals, then Couchsurfing is the perfect app for you. It will connect you with potential hosts who have a wide variety of accommodations available. Typically, all that is expected in return is a small gift or to cook your host a meal at some point during your stay.
  • Flip the Trip – A fantastic app that connects you with other solo travelers and allows you to find travel companions for future journeys.
  • Solo Traveller – This social platform connects you with other solo travelers who are in the same area as you. It’s a great way to make friends, get updates, and find people to share rides with.
  • PartyWith – For anyone who wants to party like a rock star when they solo travel, this platform helps you find other people to party with. This way, you can safely enjoy local nightlife as a solo traveler.
  • Showaround – As the name suggests, this app allows you to meet up with locals who want to show you around their hometown. Filter searches by needs and common interests to connect with like-minded people. Be aware that some hosts charge for their services, while others do it free of charge.
  • TripGiraffe – Use this app to create a trip and then invite others on the app to join you. You can also choose to join trips already listed on the app and make tons of friends while traveling solo.
  • Tourlina – This app allows solo female travelers to connect with one another safely after a quick verification process. Once accepted, you can chat with travelers based on age, interests, language, and more.

7. Do a Work Exchange or Volunteer

A great way to make friends while solo traveling is to sign up with a reputable work exchange program or volunteer organization.

While there are many such companies out there today, Workaway and Worldpackers are two of my faves.

In particular, Worldpackers is a fantastic way to meet people since you spend plenty of time with your coworkers and hosts as you live and work together while traveling in a foreign country.

8. Book a Stay in a Hostel, Not a Hotel

In general, hostels feature more inviting, friendly, communal environments since patrons live together in a communal dorm room.

Take advantage of common areas and use them to connect with other solo travelers.

You can also join a variety of – often free – hostel-organized activities like walking tours, dinners, trivia nights, pub crawls, and more.

Also, don’t forget to show up for breakfast so that you can indulge in complimentary pancakes, fruit, and coffee while chatting with other travelers.

Trust me, people are usually eager to talk about their plans for the day. And if you run into them later, then you can always follow up by asking them how their day went, thereby fostering a friendship.

9. Chat with People on Public Transportation

Instead of wearing your headphones and avoiding eye contact by looking down at the ground, try engaging with other people on public transportation.

Travelers are often bored with their commute and are only too happy to chat with someone about their everyday lives.

Plus, it allows you to interact with a large cross-section of society, as basically everyone has to use public transit at some point in their lives.

Pro Tip: A great conversation starter can be something simple like, “So, are you traveling for business or pleasure?”

10. Frequent Local Hangouts

Two girls hanging out in a car as they learn how to make friends while traveling solo.

Don’t just hide away in your room so that you can binge-watch your latest and greatest Netflix obsession.

Instead, get out there and visit local hangouts where you can meet people with common interests.

Just ask people at your hostel where everyone hangs out in the evening and they’ll steer you in the right direction.

Once you get there, be sure to mingle with locals who can give you tips on where to go, what to do, and how to immerse yourself in the local culture.

11. Try Using Co-working Spaces

As a full-time digital nomad, I use co-working spaces A LOT.

Not only do they provide you with a safe place to get your work done, but they also enable you to work with and meet like-minded people.

Chances are, if you’re both using a co-working space, you probably already have a lot in common.

It’s also a great way to meet professionals in your field and to foster future business partnerships.

Additional Solo Travel Resources You’ll Love

There you have it! That just about wraps up this guide on how to make friends while traveling solo.

Tell me, did your favorite ways of making friends while traveling solo make the list? If not, let me know in the comments below.

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