One of the biggest worries when it comes to traveling solo is “How do I make friends along the way?”
Thoughts of getting off the plane, being completely lost, jumping in a shady cab with a driver who speaks a foreign language, going down strange alleyways, and hoping you don’t get mugged on your walk to your hotel or hostel can easily put you at less than a comfortable position.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
You can now take a deep breath knowing that the Travel Rebel way is the best way to get to know people on your journey. Everything is going to go just fine!
Let’s brainstorm ways that you can get a head start and be more than just a tourist. Become a person that locals and travelers alike will want to surround themselves with!
Hands down, coffee shops have got to be THE best places in the world to instantly bond with others from around the world. So many stories can be told over a cup of joe, or a shot of espresso (depending on whom you ask).
Something about caffeinated courage brings people together in ways that nothing else can, drops any prejudices, boundaries, you name it.
When you ask someone how they are doing, and to share with you more about their country (or the immediate area, if they are a local), you instantly create a friendship and get acquainted with someone. Many questions go flying, and you learn more in 5 minutes than you could ever think possible.
Typically, these experiences are eye-opening, and usually carry many life lessons with them. You learn to open up to others, becoming much more comfortable speaking with strangers, offering advice, sharing a cookie or sandwich, and even sometimes unveiling some of your most intimate moments in life with another human being, no holds barred.
You will find that coffee shops are a world in and of themselves.
Friendly debates and sharing a wealth of knowledge are only the beginning.
Download the app Work Hard Anywhere (famously known as WHA) to find amazing coffee shops close to your GPS location (outside of just the typical Starbucks).
Perhaps you don’t like coffee, or you would rather go for the stronger type of liquid courage?
No worries! Breweries, micro, and nano-breweries seem to be popping up worldwide and there’s no signs of it stopping or slowing down.
Wherever you are, ask where you can find the best brews in the local area.
Typically, locals are more than happy to take you themselves, or at least point the way. Breweries are also typical of hosting their own special events, including trivia nights, movie nights, live music sessions, and even comedy nights! You will find that locals and travelers alike will most likely meet up in these types of venues (more than the atypical grungy, hole-in-the-wall bars where people go to just get tipsy).
Also, micro-breweries tend to attract the intellectually savvy and folks who have a zest for life. More than just stories, you may find yourself surrounded by tech savvy folks, others with incredibly wisdom-filled stories, or even history buffs. These are people who truly want to do more than just drink. But rather, to also share their knowledge with others.
Here’s an incredible app called Brewery Map to find a local brewery near you, anywhere in the world.
Meetups…Traveling Solo Heaven!
What better way to meet people of similar interests, passions or hobbies than MeetUp.org?
This is hands down the best community for finding people who have similar interests and hobbies as you.
Fly a drone? Search for drone groups.
Want to learn the local language, and teach others your in exchange? Search for language exchange groups.
Like dogs? Walk dogs local on a volunteer basis (or get paid for it!)
The possibilities are endless. Check out their website and have fun meeting locals who are into what you like to do.
Based off our own experience, hostels are an incredible way to sit down with people from all around the world while traveling solo, in one room, and even learn some new words.
The camaraderie and the friendships you create are second-to-none. Within minutes, you will cross cultural boundaries and probably learn more about yourself in the process than you ever thought possible.
Characters are built, stories created, and experienced molded in hostels.
You may end up creating lifelong friendships in a hostel.
So go ahead and book a hostel or two at your next travel destination to begin creating friendships locally, and have folks to go with you on that museum visit.