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How To Make Friends And Meet People While Traveling


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Chloette Tomaszewski



Traveling is an incredible experience that allows us to explore new places, immerse ourselves in different cultures, and create lifelong memories. However, one aspect of travel that can sometimes feel daunting is meeting new people and making friends along the way. Whether you’re an introvert or simply unsure of how to approach strangers in a foreign country, it’s completely normal to feel a bit apprehensive.


The good news is, there are plenty of ways to break the ice and form connections with fellow travelers or locals. Making friends while traveling not only enriches your experience but also opens doors to unique cultural insights, exciting adventures, and long-lasting friendships that transcend borders.


In this article, we’ll explore practical tips and strategies to help you meet people and make friends while traveling. From joining group activities to utilizing online travel communities, and everything in between, you’ll discover how to navigate social situations with confidence and create meaningful connections along the way.


Remember, making friends and meeting new people should be a fun and enjoyable part of your travel experience. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to building a global network of friends during your adventures!


Step 1: Be Open and Approachable

One of the most important things when it comes to making friends while traveling is to have an open and approachable attitude. People are more likely to engage with someone who is friendly and welcoming. Here are a few tips to help you become more approachable:

  • Smile: A simple smile can go a long way in breaking the ice and making others feel comfortable approaching you.
  • Body Language: Maintain open body language by keeping your arms uncrossed and facing towards people. This indicates that you are open to conversation and approachable.
  • Eye Contact: Make eye contact with others and show genuine interest in their conversations. This helps to establish a connection and make people feel valued.
  • Show Interest: Ask questions and listen actively when engaging in conversations. Show genuine interest in others by asking about their travels, experiences, and recommendations.

Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of cultural norms and customs when interacting with locals. Each country has its own unique etiquette, and being respectful of these cultural differences will go a long way in making a positive impression.


By being open, approachable, and respectful, you’ll create an environment that encourages others to approach you and strike up a conversation. This sets the foundation for building new friendships and connections during your travels.


Step 2: Join Social Events and Group Activities

One of the best ways to meet like-minded people while traveling is by actively seeking out social events and group activities. These gatherings provide an opportunity to connect with individuals who share similar interests or are also looking to meet new people. Here are a few ways to find and join these events:

  • Hostel Activities: Many hostels organize communal activities such as pub crawls, city tours, or game nights. Participating in these activities not only allows you to explore the local area but also provides a chance to interact with other travelers.
  • Meetup Platforms: Utilize meetup platforms or local event listings to find social events happening in the area. Whether it’s a language exchange, a hiking group, or a cooking class, these activities bring people together and provide opportunities for connection.
  • Group Tours: Joining group tours or excursions is an excellent way to meet fellow travelers. Whether it’s a guided tour of a historical site, a day trip to a nearby attraction, or an adventure-filled activity, group tours create a shared experience and foster opportunities for friendship.
  • Social Media: Use social media platforms and travel-focused groups to connect with other travelers or locals in the area. You can join online communities, seek recommendations, or even organize meetups with like-minded individuals.

By actively participating in social events and group activities, you put yourself in environments where meeting new people is encouraged. These shared experiences can lead to meaningful connections and potentially lasting friendships.


Step 3: Utilize Online Travel Communities and Platforms

In today’s digital age, the internet has become a valuable tool for connecting with like-minded individuals around the world. Utilizing online travel communities and platforms can greatly enhance your chances of meeting people while traveling. Here are some ways to make the most out of these platforms:

  • Travel Forums: Join travel forums and discussion boards where you can interact with other travelers, ask for advice, and even arrange meetups. Platforms like TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, and Reddit have active communities ready to share their experiences and connect with fellow travelers.
  • Social Media Groups: Join travel-related groups on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These groups provide a space for travelers to share their stories, seek recommendations, and organize meetups or events.
  • Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is not only a platform for finding free accommodations but also a community of travelers who are open to meeting up and sharing experiences. Explore local events and join gatherings organized by Couchsurfing members in your destination.
  • Language Exchange Platforms: Language exchange platforms like Tandem or HelloTalk are great for connecting with locals who are interested in practicing languages and exchanging cultural knowledge. This provides an opportunity to meet new people and gain insights into the local culture.

By actively participating in online travel communities, you can connect with people before you arrive at your destination or find locals who are eager to show you their city. These platforms act as a bridge to facilitate interactions and provide opportunities for meaningful connections.


Step 4: Stay in Communal Accommodations

Choosing to stay in communal accommodations, such as hostels, guesthouses, or shared apartments, can greatly enhance your chances of meeting new people while traveling. These types of accommodations are designed to foster social interaction and provide a platform for travelers to connect. Here are some reasons why communal accommodations are a great option:

  • Shared Spaces: Communal accommodations often provide common areas such as lounges, kitchens, or outdoor spaces where guests can mingle and socialize. Take advantage of these spaces to strike up conversations and meet fellow travelers.
  • Dormitory Rooms: Opt for dormitory-style rooms instead of private rooms. Sharing a room with other travelers not only saves on costs but also allows for natural interactions and opportunities for friendship.
  • Organized Events: Many communal accommodations organize social events, such as pub crawls, barbecues, or game nights, to encourage interaction among guests. Participating in these events is a fantastic way to meet people and create lasting memories.
  • Communal Activities: Some accommodations offer organized activities or tours exclusively for their guests. Joining these activities provides a chance to meet other travelers and explore the destination together.
  • Community Vibe: Communal accommodations often have a lively and inclusive atmosphere, with staff members who are knowledgeable about the local area and eager to help facilitate connections. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the staff for recommendations and guidance.

Staying in communal accommodations not only provides a budget-friendly option but also creates an environment conducive to meeting fellow travelers. The shared experiences and common areas make it easy to strike up conversations and form bonds with people from all over the world.


Step 5: Learn Basic Phrases in the Local Language

Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can go a long way in breaking the ice and connecting with locals while traveling. When you make an effort to communicate in the native language, it shows respect for the local culture and can help foster meaningful interactions. Here’s why learning basic phrases is important:

  • Bridge the Language Barrier: Even knowing simple greetings like “hello,” “thank you,” or “excuse me” can create a positive impression and make it easier to connect with locals. It shows that you’re making an effort to respect and engage with their culture.
  • Show Interest and Respect: Learning phrases such as “How are you?” or “What’s your name?” can initiate conversations and demonstrate your genuine curiosity about the people and their way of life.
  • Break the Ice: Striking up a conversation in the local language can often lead to interesting exchanges, recommendations for local spots to visit, and even invitations to join local events or gatherings.
  • Enhance Cultural Immersion: By learning basic phrases, you can navigate daily interactions more easily, such as ordering food, asking for directions, or bargaining at a local market. This enhances your overall travel experience and deepens your connection with the local culture.
  • Show Appreciation and Gratitude: Being able to express gratitude in the local language can make a lasting impact on the people you encounter. It shows that you appreciate their hospitality and efforts to make your time in their country memorable.

Learning the local language doesn’t mean you have to become fluent overnight. Simply knowing a few key phrases and attempting to communicate in the local language can make a world of difference in your travel experiences. It helps create a more immersive and rewarding journey while opening doors to new friendships and cultural exchanges.


Step 6: Volunteer or Participate in Local Initiatives

One of the most fulfilling ways to meet people and make a positive impact while traveling is by volunteering or participating in local initiatives. Engaging in community-based projects not only allows you to contribute to a worthy cause, but also provides an opportunity to connect with locals who share a passion for making a difference. Here’s why volunteering or participating in local initiatives can be a rewarding experience:

  • Meaningful Connections: Volunteering brings together individuals with a common goal and shared values. It provides an avenue to meet like-minded people who are passionate about making a positive change in their community.
  • Cultural Immersion: By getting involved in local initiatives, you have the chance to interact with locals on a deeper level and gain insights into their way of life. This immersion in the local culture can lead to valuable connections and a deeper understanding of the destination.
  • Learn from Locals: Volunteering or participating in local initiatives offers an opportunity to learn from the wisdom and knowledge of the locals. You can gain insights into their traditions, customs, and everyday life that wouldn’t be possible as a regular tourist.
  • Exchange of Skills and Ideas: Volunteering allows you to share your own skills, expertise, and perspectives with the community. This exchange creates a platform for learning and growth, as well as fostering meaningful connections.
  • Create Lasting Impact: By contributing your time and effort to a local cause, you can make a lasting impact on the community. This sense of purpose and shared mission can lead to strong bonds with fellow volunteers and locals.

Research local organizations or initiatives that align with your interests or skills, and reach out to see if there are opportunities to get involved. Whether it’s environmental conservation, education, social welfare, or any other cause, lending a helping hand can lead to unforgettable experiences and connections that extend far beyond your time spent volunteering.


Step 7: Take Part in Cultural Exchanges or Classes

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture and meet people while traveling is by participating in cultural exchanges or taking classes that showcase the unique traditions and skills of the destination. Engaging in these activities not only provides a chance to learn something new but also fosters connections with locals who are passionate about sharing their cultural heritage. Here’s why taking part in cultural exchanges or classes can be a rewarding experience:

  • Connect with Locals: Cultural exchanges and classes offer a platform to interact with locals who are eager to showcase their traditions and customs. This allows for meaningful connections and the opportunity to learn from each other.
  • Learn a New Skill: Engaging in classes or workshops, such as cooking, dance, art, or language, provides a unique opportunity to acquire new skills while connecting with instructors and fellow participants.
  • Deepen Cultural Understanding: By actively participating in cultural exchanges, you gain a deeper understanding of the local way of life, their values, and their traditions. This helps you appreciate the destination on a more profound level.
  • Share Your Knowledge: Cultural exchanges are not one-sided; you also have the chance to share your own cultural background and experiences with the local community. This fosters mutual understanding and creates a space for cultural exchange.
  • Form Meaningful Connections: Sharing experiences and learning together can lead to lasting friendships and connections. The shared passion for culture and the arts acts as a strong foundation for building relationships with locals and fellow participants.

Research cultural centers, community organizations, or local schools that offer cultural exchanges or classes relevant to your interests. Engaging in these activities not only enhances your travel experience but also deepens your connection to the local community, leading to enriching and memorable encounters.


Step 8: Embrace Solo Activities and Meet Like-Minded Travelers

Traveling solo can be a liberating and eye-opening experience, providing you with the freedom to explore and connect with others on your own terms. Embracing solo activities not only allows you to discover yourself but also creates opportunities to meet like-minded travelers along the way. Here’s why embracing solo activities can be a great way to make new connections:

  • Shared Interests: Engaging in activities that align with your interests, such as hiking, photography, or yoga, gives you a chance to meet fellow travelers who share similar passions. Look for local events, workshops, or classes centered around your hobbies.
  • Join Group Tours: Taking part in group tours or excursions, even as a solo traveler, can introduce you to a diverse group of people from all over the world. These shared experiences create a natural camaraderie and opportunities for meaningful connections.
  • Attend Meetups or Social Events: Look for meetups or social events specifically geared towards solo travelers or expats in the area. These gatherings provide a platform to meet others who are also looking to make new friends and explore the destination together.
  • Stay in Social Accommodations: Choose accommodations that cater to solo travelers, such as hostels or guesthouses with communal spaces. These environments are designed to encourage social interaction and provide opportunities to meet fellow travelers.
  • Be Open to Spontaneous Encounters: Embrace the unexpected and be open to spontaneous encounters while traveling. Strike up conversations with fellow travelers in cafes, parks, or public transportation. You never know when you’ll meet someone who becomes a lifelong friend.

By embracing solo activities and stepping out of your comfort zone, you increase your chances of meeting like-minded travelers and forging connections that can turn strangers into travel companions or confidants along the way.


Step 9: Be Respectful of Cultural Differences and Customs

When traveling, it is essential to be respectful of the cultural differences and customs of the destinations you visit. Respecting the local culture not only demonstrates your appreciation but also fosters positive interactions with locals. Here are some key reasons why being respectful is crucial:

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Each destination has its own unique cultural norms, values, and customs. Taking the time to learn and understand these cultural aspects shows respect for the local way of life.
  • Dress Appropriately: Dressing modestly and adhering to dress codes, especially in religious and sacred sites, is paramount. This shows respect for the local customs and helps you blend in with the local community.
  • Etiquette and Manners: Familiarize yourself with local etiquette, such as greetings, gestures, and table manners. Understanding and practicing these customs can create positive impressions and facilitate positive interactions.
  • Language and Communication: Make an effort to learn a few basic phrases in the local language. This shows respect and helps bridge the communication gap, allowing for more meaningful connections.
  • Follow Local Laws: Respect and abide by the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting. Familiarize yourself with local rules regarding photography, public behavior, and cultural practices.
  • Be Mindful of Traditions: Participate in local traditions and festivals with respect and an open mind. Observe and learn from the locals to fully appreciate the significance of these cultural practices.
  • Avoid Cultural Appropriation: Be mindful of appropriating elements of the local culture, such as traditional clothing or sacred symbols, without understanding their cultural significance. Appreciate and enjoy the culture without misusing or disrespecting it.

By being respectful of cultural differences and customs, you show that you value and appreciate the local culture. This can lead to more meaningful and authentic interactions, fostering a positive travel experience for both you and the local community.



Traveling is not just about seeing new places and experiencing different cultures; it is also an opportunity to make meaningful connections and form friendships that can last a lifetime. While it may feel intimidating at first, there are various strategies and steps you can take to meet people and make friends while on your journey.


By being open and approachable, joining social events and group activities, utilizing online travel communities, staying in communal accommodations, learning basic phrases in the local language, volunteering or participating in local initiatives, taking part in cultural exchanges or classes, embracing solo activities, and being respectful of cultural differences and customs, you will create an environment conducive to meeting new people and forming connections.


Remember, making friends while traveling is not just about the number of people you meet, but the quality of the connections you make. Be genuine, curious, and open-minded, and you will find yourself surrounded by a global network of friends who will enrich your travel experiences and create memories that will last a lifetime.


So, go out there, explore, and embrace the opportunity to meet fellow travelers and locals. The world is full of incredible individuals just waiting to share their stories, adventures, and cultures with you. Bon voyage and happy travels!