I’ll start by saying this: I find it much easier to meet people when solo travelling than when travelling with friends. The reason? I have to make the effort when I’m alone.
I wouldn’t say I’m an outgoing person but solo travelling has definitely taught me a few things about making new friends and getting out of my comfort box socially. I’ve tried to bring that home with me and to be more spontaneous and outgoing!
I found my last trip to Europe (Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Bratislava) the easiest social experience so far. I scheduled my first solo trip (2017) to the minute and didn’t allow myself much time to meet people and spend time with them (if I wanted to). Here are a few of my experiences and some tips for you, if you want to meet people but don’t know how.
I know this sound ridiculous but it can be intimidating for some people to say hi and strike up a conversation. Sometimes you end up talking to people with a lot of similarities or have been to the places you will be visiting and you can ask for tips. Sometimes, you don’t and that’s okay. The conversation may only last a few minutes or you may end up going out for a drink together. I’ve done a few walking tours in Europe and I end up talking to most people in the group. In Prague, three of us went out for beers after meeting on a walking tour and then met up and went to the bar that night (tip: make sure to give the correct number or you may not hear from them). I then met up with one of the guys from the bar night later in my trip to check out more of the city together.
Join a Tour
There are so many types of tours out there: pub crawls/beer tasting, food tours, walking tours, etc. They’re an excellent way to meet people and you don’t have to feel awkward about approaching someone because everyone is there with similar interests! Pub crawls/beer tours are great for us solo travellers wanting to go out for a night but not wanting to end up in a sketchy situation. Tours range in price so pick one at your price point and go from there!
Stay in a Hostel
(& use the communal areas). Making food in the kitchen (or bringing food back to the hostel) or having a drink in the common room is another great way to make friends. Read the reviews on the hostel site to see what kind of hostel you’re staying at: it may be a party hostel (in which case they should have a great bar), it may be a chill hostel (I stayed in one in Belfast that had a music room and people played guitar in the common room), or it may be just a cheap place for people to sleep. I went out in Budapest with a group of us who were just talking in the kitchen at dinnertime and all decided to go for a drink in the ruin bars.
Go to the Hostel Activities
If there’s an event at your hostel, GO! It’s a great way to meet people who are staying where you’re staying. When I stayed in Bratislava, the event was “Tell a story, get a beer” so I planned to go for one drink then head to bed (I was really sick). I ended up staying out until 2 am before walking back with some of the girls we went with and it was a great night! This leads into my next point…
Be a “Yes Man”
(within reason). I’m referencing the movie with Jim Carrey who went to a seminar that told him to say yes to everything and it changed his life. Go to events that you are interested in and go explore. In Prague, I was ready to go to bed when a girl came in to the dorm room and sat on the bed next to me. We got to chatting and went up to the terrace together to have a drink. Even though I had to get up a 3 am, we stayed up till 11 pm!
I haven’t done any of these but Contiki Tours or something similar is a great way to have everything planned for you and to meet with a group of people.
Do you have any other tips for how to meet people solo travelling? Leave them in the comments below!