Often when traveling alone, people feel like they are seeing such amazing things in their travels but have nobody to share it with. One way to avoid this negative feeling is to make friends while traveling alone. It can be hard for travelers to meet locals on the road that want to be friends with tourists. Following these tips and methods will give travelers a better shot at making friends when traveling alone.
A solid method to make friends while traveling alone is to ask many questions to the people that are encountered. Most people will be receptive to curiosity and will be willing to answer tourists’ questions as long as they are interesting. As they answer the questions, pay attention closely and there may be an opportunity for a common interest to arise. After this common interest is found between two people, there could be an initial friendship that could build up over time.
Another method to meet people while traveling is to attend popular, local events. People should attend the types of events that they are normally interested in, so that way they can meet people who have similar interest as them. Usually, these events include exercise or concerts as a way for people to make friends.
If a traveler is able, they should stay in one location for a longer amount of time in order to make friends. Sometimes traveling too quickly from one place to the next allows no time to meet people for potential friendships. Staying in one location for longer allows travelers to make local connections at the grocery store, gas station, or other common meeting places.
A traveler should be inviting to any potential opportunities offered to them if they are trying to make friends on the road. Saying no to an opportunity might be the same as saying no to that potential friendship.
I’m an active participant in Couchsurfing. I’ve found that this international hospitality-exchange focused website has been a great way to connect with locals while traveling. Many people use the site to find places to stay. Since I will frequently use home exchanges to find free lodging when I travel, I don’t need the site to find a place to stay. I will, however, use the Couchsurfing network to find locals to spend time with while traveling. When I was in Argentina, I met a local graduate student at the start of my stay in Bariloche. With that connection, I had an instant group of friends. We met for drinks, played volleyball one afternoon, and they took me to a local cultural fair I never would have found on my own. In Milan, a Couchsurfer took me to see a local garden with real flamingos in it that wasn’t in my guide book. In Cusco, I met a Couchsurfer for dinner who then took me to a bar where locals and ex-pats mixed. The bartender invited me to join a group for an amazing afternoon of mountain biking two days later. Since I was doing it with locals, I received great insights into the area and I paid a local price: $8 for a day of biking with transport!
Lastly, instead of bothering everyone they meet and being labeled as a tourist, travelers should make sure to treat any potential friends they meet on the road as they would a friend. It can be annoying for the locals who actually live in the area to receive the same questions over and over again from tourists. Travelers who ask varied, interesting questions will have better success in meeting potential friends while traveling.