Whether you’re traveling by yourself or with a group, it’s always fun to make new friends along the way! Getting to know the locals or your fellow travelers better means widening your horizons and elevating your travel experiences. But just walking up to a friendly-looking stranger is a daunting task, and waiting for people to come and talk to you is no easier. So here are the best ways to meet new people during your travels!
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Stay in Hostels
The best way to meet your fellow travelers is to stay where they are. Hostels are usually filled with other adventurous people, many of which are also looking to make new friends to share their experiences with. When sharing a room with 4 or more people, conversations are quick to happen and in just a short while you will have multiple people joining you for your day trips. Many hostels are tailored to younger, outgoing travelers and often host parties or other group events for their guests, as well.
If you are introverted or would just like a bit more time to yourself, while also getting to know new people, hostels can still be an amazing choice. Often there are single or double rooms available if you want to avoid sharing a room with strangers, and instead of going to parties, you can just join a group of people in the dining halls or activity rooms.
Since hostels can be hit-or-miss, you should do some research before embarking on your trip. If you want to stay at multiple places during your trip, book at least the first hostel in advance, and then you can check out others in person!
Use a Dating App
Dating Apps are a popular way to meet someone new and (hopefully) exciting, no matter if the goal is to find a person for life or for the night. Why should this not work for travel buddies as well? Open your favorite dating app, set the location to your destination, and change your bio to reflect that you are looking to make friends in the area. Then swipe right on everybody sharing similar interests as you and now you’ll have requests from potential new friends flowing into your DMs – it’s as easy as that!
If you’re wary of meeting someone off of a dating app, that’s understandable. Luckily, there are also friend-finding apps out there! Bumble (yes – the dating app!) offers Bumble BFF for exactly this purpose. No need to hope your Tinder Match really is fine with just being friends, on Bumble BFF this is almost guaranteed. Other apps, such as Backpackr or Couchsurfing, are more directly targeted toward travelers. Take your pick or try them all!
Join a Group Tour
Most destinations will have some attractions best visited with a guide. Whether you want to see that hidden waterfall, you want to climb the tallest dune or you want to pay the art gallery a visit, booking a guided tour is often the best choice. On a tour, you can learn more about what you’re seeing, but the best part is that other people are coming along! You already have at least one common interest to chat about with the other tour members and you are immediately bonding over that shared experience. Often these tours are themed or targeted toward a specific demographic and there are plenty of options to choose from.
Check Out the Local Bars
Your destination’s bar street might be the easiest way to meet locals. While it is scary to just walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself, the easy-going atmosphere of a fun bar makes everyone more approachable.
There are a few ways to do this: if you’re by yourself, ask the bartender or an employee to find you a table with a few people you might like. The employees can often easily spot a group of people willing to add another person to their table and they’ll do the introducing for you! Now you just need to join the conversation.
If you’re with friends, simply have fun together. Once you’re in the groove, it’s easy to approach friendly-looking people and share a drink or so. Pro-tip: have another bar/club, etc. in mind to visit after the current bar. Then, after a while inform your new acquaintances that you want to check out the other place next and invite them to come along. If they do, you know they would like to hang out more. Even better: invite them to join your next day trip as well!
Take a Class
Taking a class on a topic or skill of your choice is already a proven way to meet new people where you live. Why shouldn’t this also work while traveling? Your chance to make a local friend is much higher here than by doing something specifically targeted at tourists. But many travelers also choose to learn something new away from home. There are even full retreats and holidays themed around a specific activity! Luckily, you already have something in common with the other participants, so there’s no need to work up the courage for a conversation starter.
Learn to cook the local cuisine or to speak the language, take a surfing or climbing lesson or join an art class – there’s something for everybody!
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