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How To Make Friends When Traveling Solo


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Rhody Alva



Traveling solo can be an exhilarating and transformative experience. It offers you the freedom to explore new destinations at your own pace and opens doors to self-discovery and personal growth. However, one challenge that often arises when traveling alone is the desire to connect with others and make meaningful friendships along the way.


Having a travel companion can enhance the overall experience, but fear not! There are plenty of ways to meet new people and make friends while traveling solo. In this article, we will explore some practical tips and strategies to help you break the ice, build connections, and forge lasting bonds with fellow travelers and locals.


Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, making friends on the road is entirely possible. It might require stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new experiences, but the rewards are tremendous. From sharing memorable adventures to learning about different cultures, forming friendships while traveling can enrich your journey in unimaginable ways. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can make friends when traveling solo!


Be Open and Approachable

When traveling solo, being open and approachable is key to making new friends. People are more likely to approach you if you have a friendly and welcoming demeanor. Here are a few tips to help you become more open and approachable:

  • Smile: A warm smile can go a long way in breaking the ice and signaling to others that you are approachable.
  • Make eye contact: Maintaining eye contact shows that you are attentive and interested in engaging with others.
  • Body language: Keep your body language open by avoiding crossed arms and maintaining an open posture.
  • Initiate conversations: Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with fellow travelers or locals. Start by asking for recommendations or sharing your travel experiences.

Remember, everyone you meet has a story to share, and by being open to new connections, you might just stumble upon lifelong friendships. Embrace the opportunity to connect with diverse individuals from around the world!


Make Use of Social Media and Online Platforms

In today’s digital age, social media and online platforms provide excellent opportunities to connect with like-minded travelers and locals. Here are some effective ways to make use of these platforms:

  • Join travel-focused Facebook groups: These groups are a treasure trove of information and a great place to connect with fellow travelers. Post your travel plans or ask for recommendations, and you may find someone interested in joining you or meeting up.
  • Use travel-specific apps: Apps like Couchsurfing, Meetup, and Backpackr are designed to connect travelers and locals. You can find travel buddies, join group activities, or attend local events through these platforms.
  • Engage with travel bloggers and influencers: Reach out to bloggers or influencers who share similar travel interests. Comment on their posts, ask questions, and you might find yourself connecting with other followers who share your passion for traveling.
  • Connect with locals on Instagram: Search for location-specific hashtags and engage with locals who have tagged the same location. This can lead to valuable connections and insider tips for exploring the area.

Social media and online platforms provide a virtual community for travelers. Take advantage of these platforms to connect, share experiences, and potentially find travel buddies to explore new destinations together.


Join Group Activities or Tours

One of the easiest ways to meet fellow travelers and make friends while traveling solo is by joining group activities or tours. Here’s why it’s a great idea:

  • Shared interests: Group activities or tours often revolve around a specific interest or activity such as hiking, cooking, or sightseeing. By joining these activities, you instantly connect with people who share the same interests.
  • Built-in socializing opportunities: Group activities provide a structured setting for socializing. Whether it’s during a break or while participating in the activity, you’ll have ample opportunities to strike up conversations and get to know your fellow travelers.
  • Shared experiences: Participating in group activities or tours creates shared experiences and memories. This shared bond can form the basis for lasting friendships and continued connections even after the activity or tour has ended.
  • Safety and convenience: Group activities and tours often have experienced guides who can provide valuable information about the destination. Additionally, being part of a group can enhance safety while exploring unfamiliar places.

When choosing group activities or tours, consider your interests and preferences. Look for activities that align with your passions and hobbies. Whether it’s a cooking class, a city tour, or a hiking adventure, joining group activities can be a fantastic way to make new friends and create unforgettable memories.


Stay in Social Accommodations

Choosing the right accommodations can greatly impact your opportunities to meet and connect with fellow travelers. Consider staying in social accommodations such as hostels, guesthouses, or homestays. Here’s why:

  • Shared spaces: Social accommodations often have communal areas like common rooms, kitchens, or outdoor spaces where travelers can interact and socialize. These shared spaces provide a natural platform for meeting fellow adventurers.
  • Dormitory-style rooms: Many social accommodations offer dormitory-style rooms with multiple beds. Opting for a shared dormitory not only saves you money but also allows you to meet and interact with other travelers staying in the same room.
  • Activities and events: Some hostels and guesthouses organize social activities or events for their guests. It could be a pub crawl, movie night, or a group cooking session. Taking part in these activities can foster a sense of community and create opportunities for friendships to flourish.
  • Traveler-friendly staff: The staff at social accommodations are usually well-versed in the local area and can provide recommendations for nearby attractions, activities, and events. They can also connect you with other travelers or organize group outings, further enhancing your chances of making new friends.

When choosing social accommodations, read reviews and consider the atmosphere and vibe of the place. Look for accommodations that prioritize community and foster a friendly and welcoming environment.


Remember, social accommodations are not limited to budget options. Many mid-range or boutique hotels also offer social spaces or organize events that encourage interaction among guests. So, whether you’re a budget traveler or seeking a more upscale experience, consider staying in social accommodations to enhance your opportunities for socializing and making friends.


Attend Local Events and Festivals

Attending local events and festivals is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the culture of a destination and connect with its people. Here’s why you should make it a point to attend these events:

  • Cultural immersion: Local events and festivals offer a glimpse into the traditions, customs, and celebrations of a place. By attending these events, you get the opportunity to experience the local culture firsthand and engage with the community.
  • Shared enthusiasm: Festivals and events bring people together in a spirit of celebration and enthusiasm. The festive atmosphere creates a conducive environment for meeting and interacting with both locals and fellow travelers who share the same excitement.
  • Conversation starters: Events and festivals provide countless conversation starters. From asking about the significance of certain traditions to inquiring about local cuisine, these topics can initiate interesting conversations and help you connect with others.
  • Collaborative experiences: Some events and festivals may involve collaborative activities like group dances, games, or workshops. Participating in these activities alongside locals and fellow travelers can foster a sense of camaraderie and create lasting bonds.

Research the local events and festivals happening during your visit to a destination. Check out community calendars, tourism websites, or ask locals for recommendations. Whether it’s a cultural festival, music concert, or sporting event, attending these gatherings will not only enrich your travel experience but also provide ample opportunities to meet and connect with new friends.


Learn Some Local Language

Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can significantly enhance your travel experience and help you connect with locals on a deeper level. Here’s why learning the local language is important:

  • Breaking the ice: Attempting to speak the local language shows respect and interest in the culture of the place you’re visiting. Locals appreciate the effort and are often more open and receptive to engaging with you.
  • Practical communication: Knowing key phrases like greetings, thank you, please, and asking for directions can go a long way in navigating through the destination and interacting with locals. It can also help you communicate your needs and preferences more effectively.
  • Cultural understanding: Language is an integral part of a culture. By learning the local language, you gain insights into the nuances of the culture, traditions, and everyday life of the locals. This understanding can facilitate meaningful conversations and connections.
  • Building trust and friendships: Speaking the local language, even if it’s just a few basic phrases, can make the locals feel more comfortable and at ease with you. This can lay the foundation for building trust and forming deeper friendships.

Start by learning simple greetings and common phrases, and practice them whenever you get the chance. Use language learning apps, phrasebooks, or take a short language course before your trip to familiarize yourself with the basics.


Even if you make mistakes or struggle with pronunciation, locals appreciate the effort and will often be supportive and patient with you. So, don’t be shy, embrace the language and watch how it opens doors to genuine connections with the locals.


Volunteer or Join a Work Exchange Program

Volunteering or participating in a work exchange program while traveling not only allows you to give back to the community but also provides an incredible opportunity to meet fellow travelers and locals. Here are some reasons why you should consider volunteering or joining a work exchange program:

  • Shared purpose: Volunteering or working on a project together creates a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. You’ll have the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who are passionate about making a positive impact.
  • Collaborative environment: Working alongside locals and other volunteers fosters collaboration and teamwork. As you work together towards a common goal, you’ll have ample opportunities to bond and form friendships.
  • Cultural immersion: Volunteering often provides a deeper cultural immersion experience. You’ll have the chance to interact with locals on a more personal level, learn about their daily lives, and gain a better understanding of their customs and traditions.
  • Learning opportunities: Volunteering can offer valuable learning experiences, whether it’s developing new skills, gaining insight into local issues, or discovering different perspectives. These shared learning experiences can bring people together and create lasting connections.

Research volunteer opportunities or work exchange programs in the destination you plan to visit. Look for projects that align with your interests or skills. Whether it’s conservation work, community development, or teaching, choose a cause that resonates with you.


Engaging in volunteer work or joining a work exchange program allows you to make a positive impact while forming long-lasting friendships with both locals and fellow volunteers.


Practice Good Communication Skills

Effective communication is essential for building connections and making friends while traveling solo. Here are some important communication skills to practice:

  • Active listening: When conversing with others, make a conscious effort to listen attentively. Show genuine interest in what the other person is saying and respond accordingly. This not only fosters meaningful conversations but also makes the other person feel valued and acknowledged.
  • Non-verbal communication: Pay attention to your non-verbal cues, such as body language, facial expressions, and gestures. Maintain eye contact, use open and inviting body language, and smile to show your engagement and openness to communication.
  • Respect cultural differences: Be mindful of cultural differences in communication styles and norms. What may be considered appropriate or polite in one culture might be perceived differently in another. Respect cultural diversity and adapt your communication style accordingly.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Instead of sticking to yes or no questions, ask open-ended questions that encourage detailed responses. This allows for more in-depth conversations and gives the other person an opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives.
  • Be empathetic and considerate: Show empathy and understanding towards others. Respect their opinions and perspectives, even if they differ from your own. Practice active listening and validate their feelings and experiences.
  • Use humor and positivity: Humor can be a great icebreaker and can help create a comfortable and light-hearted atmosphere. Be positive and maintain a friendly and upbeat attitude in your interactions with others.

Remember, effective communication goes beyond language barriers. Even if you don’t share a common language, simple gestures, smiles, and friendliness can still bridge the gap and foster connections.


By practicing good communication skills, you can create meaningful connections, foster friendships, and have more enriching experiences while traveling solo.


Be Respectful of Local Customs and Culture

Respecting the local customs and culture is vital when traveling solo. By doing so, you show appreciation for the destination and its people. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Research before you go: Educate yourself about the local customs, traditions, and cultural norms of the place you’re visiting. This will help you understand and respect their way of life.
  • Dress appropriately: Dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites or conservative areas. Adapting your attire to align with local customs not only shows respect, but it also helps you blend in with the local community.
  • Learn and practice basic etiquette: Familiarize yourself with common etiquette practices such as greetings, mannerisms, and table manners. This demonstrates your effort to adapt to the local culture and fosters positive interactions with locals.
  • Observe and follow local customs: Pay attention to how locals behave and interact in different situations. Follow their lead when it comes to greetings, gestures, and social norms. For example, in some cultures, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or certain establishments.
  • Be mindful of religious sensitivities: Respect religious customs and practices when visiting places of worship. Dress modestly, remove your shoes if required, and follow any specific guidelines or restrictions.
  • Show appreciation for local cuisine: Embrace the local cuisine and be open to trying new food. Respect the dining customs and food etiquette of the destination. It is often considered polite to accept food and drink offerings, even if you don’t consume them all.

Remember, you are a guest in someone else’s home when you travel. By showing respect for the local customs and culture, you not only foster positive interactions but also contribute to cultural preservation and mutual understanding.


When in doubt, observe and learn from the locals themselves. Most people appreciate your efforts to respect their customs and will be open to answering questions or providing guidance.



Traveling solo offers a world of possibilities for personal growth and adventure, but it doesn’t mean you have to navigate the journey alone. By following these tips, you can open yourself up to making new friends and forming meaningful connections with fellow travelers and locals.


Being open and approachable, making use of social media and online platforms, joining group activities or tours, staying in social accommodations, attending local events and festivals, learning some local language, volunteering or joining work exchange programs, practicing good communication skills, and being respectful of local customs and culture can all contribute to your social experience while traveling solo.


Remember that forming deep connections takes time and effort, so be patient and persistent in your interactions. Step out of your comfort zone, embrace new experiences, and be open to unexpected friendships that may enrich your travel journey.


As you meet new people and create bonds on the road, cherish and nurture these connections. Friends made while traveling can become lifelong companions, with whom you may continue to explore the world or reunite in different corners of the globe.


So, set off on your solo adventure with a sense of openness and curiosity, and watch how the friendships you cultivate along the way truly enrich your travel experience.