Meeting Friends Traveling | Solo Traveler | Naughty Travels
10 Ways To Meet People When You’re Traveling
When you visit new places, it can be great to share the experience with someone.
With today’s technology, there’s no excuse for feeling lonely while you’re away. That also means there’s no excuse not to travel in the first place!
When I was 22 years old, I lived in London and traveled all over Europe on my own.
It didn't matter that I was technically alone, because that was the way it had to be if I wanted to go to all the places I wanted.
I always meet tons of people while traveling and I'll share some stories below. Back then there weren’t any of the apps that we have now or even the fabulous iPhone.
So I had to do it the old-fashioned way - by getting out there and talking to people!
But it’s all very easy, whichever way you do it, so I’ll share every way I know - old and new!
1. Social Media
Everyone’s on social media, especially tech-savvy travelers. Social media apps make it super-easy to hook up with a like-minded traveler, or a local in the place you’re visiting.
This is quite a personal app, so make sure your friends know you’re traveling, and they can share your location and updates.
This way, ‘friends of friends’ will also see where you are and what you’re up to, and you might come across someone who happens to live in the place you’re visiting.
Your Facebook friends might also be able to suggest good places to go to meet people, if you’re in a place that they’ve also been to themselves.
You can easily search hashtags of the city you'll be visiting to see who's posting there and reach out to them.
Making connections before you go will give you peace of mind and an added sense of security, especially if you’re visiting a place for the first time.
This is the best place to connect with people in amazing places.
Simply type in the city in the search box and you can search by hashtags, people, location etc, to find great photos from people who either live there, run businesses in the area, or who are visiting too.
Try reaching out to some of them to see if they want to meet for coffee, go to a club, give you a guided tour etc.
Invite them to visit an Instagram-worthy place with you so you can take photos, or maybe an Instagram-known restaurant if you’re a foodie.
Find out what people are interested in and arrange an appropriate meet-up.
Connected to Instagram, this is where thousands of people arrange to meet up to take photos and mingle. Visit www.community.instagram.com
This app connects solo travelers from around the world. Even if you’re in a group, you can use backpackr to find locals and travelers near you who are up for connecting and meeting up for dinner/club/watching the sunset.
It used to be just cash-strapped students who would stay in hostels during their gap years or road trips, but nowadays hostels are used by everyone, even families.
Sure, the majority of guests are usually young people, but it’s not exclusive. What every guest does have in common, though, is that they’re on a budget.
If you’re in your 20s, then hostels are the perfect place to find some other, like-minded travel buddies.
When I was living in London and traveling in Europe, I always stayed in hostels.
Make a special effort to find the nice ones, as there are some really surprising ones out there with really cool bars.
So look at them first online and make sure they are on the approved hostels list so you know they are legit.
I loved staying at them when I was younger, even if they took some getting used to at first but, once you settle into the laid-back vibe and minimalism, you’ll find it so easy to talk to people, especially as you’ll likely be sharing a room or a dorm.
I would usually head to the lounge/bar area and introduce myself to people.
Some hostels have themed nights to help guests socialize, or they even organize group tours around the surrounding area, so make sure to check out what each hostel offers.
One night, I made friends with my roommates. I walked in and found I was sharing with two guys.
It was low-season, so not many travelers about, and we just got talking and all decided to go for a bite to eat. As we talked, they asked more about me.
I told them that I lived in London but I ‘traveled naughty,’ looking for unique things to do.
They were very interested, of course! So they decided to come with me on my naughty adventures that night and it was nice having guys with me.
We were just out having fun and sightseeing, nothing sexual came of it.
If you haven't heard of Meetup
yet, it's time you did. It's an amazing website/app that connects people and the things they like to do.
Meetup has helped my business to grow by 100%, I just don’t know where I'd be without it as I get all my party sales from there. Plus, it's free to join!
You can either join a Meetup travel group in your area and meet people who are traveling to the same city as you, or you can research the city you’re visiting and join a Meetup already happening there.
Just log on and see what events they’re hosting during the time you’re there, RSVP to the open invitation, then just show up at the designated time and place.
The great thing about Meetup is that everyone is in the same boat as you, they all want to get out and meet others, so people are more likely to mingle when going to a Meetup group - it’s the entire point of them.
When I do my own Meetups, I get people from both other US cities and overseas attending.
They know they will be visiting LA, so they make their plans in advance to show up to one of my events, knowing they will meet like-minded people all in the same curious boat as them.
Some even join my Meetup group without a travel date in mind, but as soon as they see an event of mine that interests them, then they start planning the actual trip over.
4. Dating Apps
Some people are afraid of dating apps, thinking it’s only insecure singletons or predators who use them, but it’s really not like that.
Wouldn’t it be great to have someone take you out and show you their city? Imagine it, visiting Paris or London, and you get to go to dinner with a sexy local who can show you around and speak the language.
Just be up front when contacting others about what you're looking for.
Let them know you're from out of town and just looking to Meetup as friends and see where the night leads you. Could be a fun tour guide or a naughty hook up.
Email any potentials, respond to replies and set something up. It's always a great way to enjoy the city, especially if they’re a true local, because they can show you things which may be off the typical tourist trail.
5. Sleep on a local’s couch
Yep, this is actually a very common way of not just meeting new people while you’re traveling, but also saving some money as you do it!
So instead of renting a hotel room or someone's house, spend less and sleep on a local’s couch.
You’ll get to hang out with them and their friends and get a real feel for what it’s like to live somewhere different.
There are many websites out there but the two most popular are Couchsurfing
, both of which match travelers with hosts so you can enjoy living like a local, and make some lifetime friends in the process.
For the hosts, it means that they can bring the world to them - not everyone is in a position to travel but, by hosting other travelers, they get to meet people from different cultures without even having to leave their own homes!
Browse by country, age group, culture or go for a ‘pot luck’ match-up.
6. Women Only apps
Apps for women who want to find another female to hang out with when they travel, are becoming more popular.
They’re not lesbian apps (but that doesn’t stop lesbians using it to meet one another), they’re simply designed to bring female travelers together, because lots of women prefer to travel or hook up with other women, to share stories or just have some female company as they travel.
Of course, there might be times that people hook up but that's up to you to find out!
The most common women-only traveling app is Tourlina
, ‘the female traveling companion.’
You register with your Facebook account, then you get verified after a few hours. Then, simply set up your profile - include as much detail as you can so the app can accurately match you.
You can specify favourites like “I like beaches” or “I love to people-watch in cafes”.
Add in the locations you’re looking to visit and the app will search for any matches.
Like Tinder, you swipe right or left according to your matches and go from there. The great thing about this app is that you can plan trips in advance with a match, or simply travel to a place and see who’s there right now.
Another great app is Girls Love Travel
which has over 300k members, all independent, usually solo female travelers who network with each other to ensure safe, adventurous travel across the world.
7. Use Food!
There are tons of foodies out there, like myself, who love to experience a city through the cuisine scene.
There are many apps popping up now that let you pair up with fellow food lovers in bars and restaurants, and private houses, around the world.
It’s the perfect way to make friends by connecting through a shared love of food.
Billed as ‘the future of dining.’ Basically you sign up and choose the city or town you’ll be visiting, and your dates.
Then you’ll be matched with hosts who will invite you to join them in their home or other establishment, in a communal dining experience.
It’s a great app not just for visitors but also for the hosts - the cooks use it as a way to test out their latest culinary inventions, and also get a reputation for themselves as great private chefs.
Communal tables might be just a few people or lots of people, it depends on the size of the host’s house!
More of a comprehensive app which can hook you up not just with a great dinner, but also walking tours of bars, restaurants and food festivals.
Anything food or drink-related, these guys will know where it’s at, and their reach is truly global.
Explore Indian food in a Delhi dining car, go on a Singapore bar crawl, or simply enjoy some home-cooked pasta at a family home in Florence.
More of a localized experience which matches you with specialist food events happening in over 140 cities around the world.
Whether you want to try a chorizo festival in Barcelona, a pizza masterclass in Rome, or a truffle hunt in the forests of France, Vizeat can point you in the right direction.
This one sounds obvious but some people, especially women, still find it odd to hang out in bars on their own while they’re traveling.
I love it, because there’s always someone interesting to meet and, if you’re in a hotel, then chances are that most people in the hotel bar are also traveling alone, so you’ve instantly got something in common.
I like to go to my hotel bar, or one nearby that's either a sexy or classy place. It all depends on the crowd you're looking for, really, so go with your instincts - is there a vibe that’s inviting you in?
I will sit and order some food and/or a drink, then people watch, and it's usually not long before someone will talk to me.
Common sense should never leave you just because you’re traveling. I also had a rule of only having two drinks with people I didn't know, so I would sip slowly.
You have to decide what works for you and, as long as you’re in control and always feel safe, there’s no reason you can’t have an awesome time meeting new people every day.
This is a great app which lets you find people to go out with in the city you’re visiting.
Hooking up with a local means you’ll be taken to all the places off the usual tourist trail and you’ll be made to feel like one of the gang.
It’s so much more fun to go out with a group who know all the best places, you feel much more relaxed and it really helps you to integrate in a place you’re not really familiar with.
I absolutely love to dance so, if I'm traveling solo, I will always look for places to strut my stuff!
That doesn’t mean nightclubs, necessarily, which can be too loud, too busy and, ironically, quite anti-social, because it usually means getting hit on by single guys who assume you’re there to get laid.
Instead I like to go to jazz or salsa places where people really know how to dance.
When I was living in Paris, I looked in the Where Paris
magazine and Timeout
and always found somewhere great to go.
I found a great jazz club near me, plus an amazing salsa place down the road.
The salsa club, for instance, was actually in a cave, packed with salsa dancers, which just added to the sensual vibe going on.
Everybody was dancing with everybody else, even if they’d arrived with a partner. I’d walked in, sat down and watched.
Then, after about two songs, someone would ask me to dance, then a different person would come over to me for the next song, and so on.
I would dance the whole night long and have an absolute blast. It wasn’t about hooking up with anyone, which is why it felt so relaxed, it was simply about the dancing and immersing myself in the city’s infectious, welcoming culture.
So next time you’re traveling solo in a city, try Timeout or WhereTraveler, so you can find dancing places.
You can also try Meetup groups, as already mentioned, or find people on dating apps to suggest places you can go to. There's no shortage for finding some place to dance.
One of the best ways to see a city and make friends is to take a city tour or another organized tour outside of the city.
When I was living in London, I would get off work on a Friday, hop on a plane and be in another country in just a couple of hours.
Europe’s great for that, so many different cultures and countries within easy reach of one another.
From Saturday to Monday, I would go on tours of the city I’d chosen to visit. Even within the UK itself, there were so many different places to visit and there would usually be a bus tour to take me there.
For instance, I went to Bath once, which is a beautiful Georgian city a few hours from London.
The whole tour was around ten hours and it was mostly couples on the bus, although there was one single guy who I got talking to and he became my ‘tour buddy.’
We’d take pictures of (and for) each other and then exchange them on email when we got home. I wasn’t attracted to him, he was just a nice guy.
I've done this on so many other tours I've been on, whether it was with a single guy, a single girl or a couple. If people see that you are traveling alone they are more willing to talk to you. Even just sitting in a restaurant alone, people will talk to me, and it’s not just the men, it’s anyone. Sometimes people just like to talk.
This is not just a vacation rental app anymore, they’ve expanded it to include ‘experiences’ in the city you’re visiting.
On the home page, click on ‘Experiences’ and see what’s going on in the city of your choice.
You can dine at someone's house, go on a walking tour, maybe even do something naughty.
You never know what's being offered and others in the same boat as you will probably sign up for the same experience, which is an instant way to make friends and maybe even find a travel buddy.
This is ‘the social atmosphere of a guided tour with the flexibility of independent travel.’
Basically, you’ll have access to the Busabout network of buses which operate all across Europe and Asia.
The buses operate on a loop system, so you can hop on and off at any point along the route, spending a few days in one place as you then wait for the next bus to come round on the loop and pick you back up to go on to the next destination.
It’s a great way to make friends and some people even choose to remain traveling together.
This is a travel company with a difference. It’s for people who don’t like to totally stop working when they go away!
So, you can go to, say, Bali for six weeks and stay in a gorgeous piece of paradise, but there will be workspaces onsite, totally online, so you can be productive at the same time as you’re unwinding.
A great way to also connect with other creative types who like to be constructive with their time, this is a unique way to travel solo and still feel like you’re part of a community.