This blog post was updated on October 3, 2018.
More and more travelers are not letting lack of a traveling companion stop them from hitting the road. Solo travel is becoming more and more popular, but there are still those with trepidations about going it alone. One of the biggest fears of the first time solo traveler is that they will be lonely and have trouble meeting people. Solo travel doesn’t have to mean traveling alone. Here are a few ways you can easily meet people as a solo traveler.
Sign up for tours and classes: If you don’t want to see the sights alone and you are looking to make some friends, group tours can be the perfect set up for a solo traveler. You can sign up for a full tour in which you travel with a set group of people, staying and eating at the same places. If you seek more independence, you can also join day tours to see the sights and hopefully snag a friend. By placing yourself in a tour situation, you will always be surrounded by people. Those solo travelers staying in one set place for a time can also meet people by signing up for classes such as cooking or language courses. Taking courses in a new destination lends the opportunity to make friends and also pick up a new skill.
Grab dinner at the bar: When I was traveling alone in Ireland, I found meals to be somewhat lonely. However, the solo traveler doesn’t always have to eat alone. If you aren’t doing a group tour, you can easily strike up conversation by eating at the bar. It might sound intimidating but it its much easier to have a little dinner conversation when you are sitting right next to people, often times in the same boat you are.
Ask your network: If you are headed out to a destination on your own, chances are someone in your network knows someone who lives or is visiting that locale. Before you take off, ask your network of friends and social media if they have any connections at your destination. Whether it is just two travelers meeting up at the same time or a local that is a friend of a friend, you can interact with those you wouldn’t have met otherwise by utilizing your network.
Consult the local tourism board for events and meet-ups: Travelers often neglect the local tourism board, turning to their guidebooks and apps to find things to see and do instead. However, tourism boards are often organizing events and meet-ups that you might not know about otherwise. Once you arrive in a new place, consult the tourism board in person or online. They might have an event you can attend to socialize with others in the process. For example, in Ireland, the tourism board has a program to set you up with a local for a pint and a chat. There might be a program in place or an event at your destination that you don’t know about until you consult the tourism board.
Select your accommodations wisely: Traveling solo can be isolating if you select accommodations that facilitate that isolation. Hotels with no communal gathering spaces or social interactions promoted aren’t going to help you meet people. Hostels and home stays with locals can help you meet more people as you travel. A conversation in the hostel common room might lead to a life-long friendship. By opening up where you stay to social interaction, you stand a better chance of not traveling solo in a sense.
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