Are you thinking of long term solo travel once travel gets back to some sort of normality in the future but worried how you can make solo travel friends?
Don’t worry It’s a fear many have. In-fact It’s one of the biggest fears that stopped many taking the step in the past. But here’s the thing – You can always make solo travel friends – It’s as easy or as hard as you make – The opportunities though they will always be there.
The fear that you will not make solo travel friends stops so many from taking the first step into long term travel. Even though most do research, watch vlogs and have a little understanding of travel life our brains still try and convince us we will be alone.
It was the same for me before I started long term solo travel back in 2010. I knew I would meet people, make friends but that little voice tried to convince me otherwise.
It doesn’t matter the type of person you are, if your shy or loud, introvert or extravert, brash or timid, nervous and full of anxiety or confident – You will make solo travel friends and in this post you will see how and where.
Make solo travel friends anywhere you want
Ok, lets dive right in, in this post we are going to show you:
- Your prerogative to make solo travel friends
- Where you can make solo travel friends
- Different levels of friendships
- Common types of solo travel friends (9 common types)
Your prerogative to make solo travel friends
People choose to travel solo for their own reasons and you will have yours. It might be a simple case of there is nobody else to travel with or it could that you need to escape and be alone for a while. You might want to find and make friends with people while traveling, but remember you are not obligated to.
Many of us love solo traveling because of the freedom it brings. It’s not like group travel or with partners where there has to be give and take. We do things on our terms and It’s the same when we make solo travel friends. It’s up to us when we wan to make friends.
If there are situations you find yourself in and don’t want to make friends then don’t feel like you have to or are obligated to. However when you do want to make solo travel friends but the other person isn’t being receptive don’t force it that way either. You’re not going to get along with everybody and they are not obligated to be your friend either.
You can make solo travel friends anywhere.
Quite literally It’s anywhere, there will always be opportunities to make solo travel friends but It’s up to you if you do or don’t. There are some situations and settings where it will be easier to make friends than others but It’s down to you.
It might be hard to believe before you start traveling but although you are solo traveling It’s quite hard to be alone. People who travel short term for a few days or weeks will more likely be alone while solo traveling than those traveling long term except if you really go off the grid.
Those who travel short term, for a few days or weeks, tend to stay in hotels or in solitude and because they’re on the move all the time don’t have the time to make friends. However those who travel long term tend to do so on budgets, they tend to stay in shared accommodation, and hang around in locations longer so there is more time to make friends.
So where can you make solo travel friends?
- Make solo travel friends at the airport/bus station/ train station
- On the flight/bus/train/tour groups, they’re great to make backpacker friends
- Arriving in your new destination
- Your accommodation, especially in a hostel. Hostels are probably the easiest place to make backpacker friends
- Walking tours, bike tours (a lot of destinations have free walking tours you can join in morning or evenings and great place to make solo travel friends)
- In cafes, bars, restaurants are great places to make solo travel friends
- Make solo travel friends on excursions, tours, trips, events
- By simply walking around and getting to talk to people
- On a beach, a hike, sightseeing,
- A chance meeting can lead to becoming solo travel friends
- By just becoming a regular face to locals
How to make solo travel friends?
While the where is the easy part the how can be a little more difficult in making friends solo traveling for some of you. Everybody has different personalities, some of you will not have any issues making friends, while it will be daunting for others. That’s the beauty of solo traveling there are al types of people, personalities, characters and nationalities who do it.
While at home you may find it hard to meet people like yourself, there is a much higher chance of meeting people who have the same interests and are like you while traveling. You will also notice there is a higher chance of getting along with personality types that you necessarily wouldn’t back home.
Easiest ways to make friends solo traveling:
- Be friendly
- Be respectful
- Be approachable
- Be open minded and non-judgemental of others
- A simple smile can go a long way, say hi
- If you are staying in hostels, It’s one of the easiest places to make friends
- When doing tours and excursions, don’t hide away, talk to people
- Put yourself out there to make friends
- Say yes not no – when somebody asked if you want to grab a drink, get some food, watch a movie, do a tour, take a walk, say yes – what the worst that can happen?
- Get involved with social gatherings – your hostel might hold an event, or have a BBQ night, pub crawls
- In hostels one of the easiest ways is to drink, get drunk, party with other guests,
- Join in with games in the hostel
- A hostel kitchen is a great place to meet others, cook with them, sit and eat together
- Join a couch surfing event
- Check for local Facebook groups they might organise get togethers
- There are groups online for travelers to meet and get to know each other
- Be sociable in bars, cafes, eateries with locals
- Hang out in local social places and don’t be afraid to talk to people
You have to put the leg work in at times
If you are very shy, are full of anxiety It’s ok, take your time to settle and feel comfortable. Sometimes the best thing to do is just keep yourself visible, be in and around the social interactions without pushing yourself in too quickly. Others will recognise you, they may invite you to join them or you may come out your shell and join them. The worst thing to do is just hide away as that will lead to loneliness.
However in saying that, there are times you will have to put some leg work in yourself. Not everybody will jump up to be your friend or instigate a conversation. Just as you’re under no obligation to make friends nor are they. You have to make some effort too, especially if you’re around more experienced travelers who may already have their circle of friends.
Different levels of friendships
As you start your journey you will see just how many people you come into contact with, along the way there are going to be different levels of solo travel friends you make, especially if you’re staying in hostels. Some are going to be just faces that pass in a blur and others are going to be deep connections who feel more like family.
People also travel at different speed; you may be a slow traveler but some people you make solo travel friends with travel quicker or vice versa. Connections can be broken and you loose touch with each other while others you will have constant contact with.
Level 3 – Those you come in contact with, you could be friends with while in each-others company but as soon as one of you leave they just become a blur or forgotten about completely
Level 2 – Those you become friends with, get along with well and are even quite close while in each others company. Once you leave each other, you keep in touch, follow each other on Social media, but eventually the friendships fades out.
Level 1 – The ones that become closer than family. They are the friends you make for life. While in each others company you do everything together. Once one leave there is still contact. They are the ones you’re most likely to keep seeing in the future, the bond created are too strong. Even if you don’t speak for a while, when you do meet up again It’s like you never left each other.
Different types of solo travel friends you’ll make
You’ve seen how to make friends solo traveling, you’ve seen where you can make friends solo traveling and you’ve seen the different levels of solo travel friends you can make but what about the different types of solo travel friends or travel friends might you make?
- Hostel solo travel friends
- Other accommodation/ couchsurfing solo travel friends
- Drinking/bar/Party solo travel friends
- Excursion/tour/sightseeing friends/ Walking tour backpacker friends
- Same route/ solo travel friends
- Work/volunteer solo travel friends
- Local friends
- Meeting yourself
- Travel romances
Backpacker hostels are the easiest place to make backpacker friends for a number of reasons but also keep in mind there are different types of hostels to suit different personalities.
- They are mainly social places
- Have ample opportunities for backpackers to get to know each other
- Meet people in dorm rooms
- Others in social areas around the hostel
- Meet people in the kitchen, cook together, eat together
- Some hostels have a family enviroment
- Organised and un-organised events
- There are different types of hostels to suit you, some are more sociable and crazier (party hostels) to others.
- Start eating and drinking together
- Doing activities/tours/excursions together
- Start hanging out together
- Before you know it do everything together
Hostel life can become quite an intense vortex, you’ll meet people from all walks of life, and people you wouldn’t associate with back home. Yet in a hostel you can become solo travel friends, create bonds, and connect with people after 5 minutes of meeting them and in turn make friends solo traveling. Friends in hostels can quicky create a mini community or even a micro society. For the period you’re all together nothing outside your bubble matters.
Looking to book a hostel for your trip – have you looked at the worlds most popular and trusted hostel site – HostelWorld
Other accommodation/ couch surfing
It’s not just in backpacker hostels you’ll meet likeminded people. You might opt against staying in a hostel and choose couch surfing, Airbnb or a house share. It will be the same type of scenario but less people. Like in staying in smaller more intimate hostels, you might get to know your hosts or other backpackers on more of a personal level. You may find you all start to travel together in a group rather than going your separate ways.
The type of solo travel friends you do nothing else with but party and get drunk or high with. You do your own things during the day but when it comes to partying you become best of friends.
- It might be in the hostel
- Drink in the same bars together
- Love each other’s drunk company
- If there is a party you both will be there
Excursion/ walking tour/ tours/ sightseeing buddies
There is a good chance you will make travel friends while on excursion, tours, walking tours and trips. You might just have different interests to other people you’ve made friends with, or just like to do things alone. You might find others with the same interests and only meet them on excursions and tours.
The more excursions and tours you’re on together, the more you start hanging out together during it and become friends. You might still go your separate ways once the excursion is over but safe in the knowledge that friendly face will be there the next time.
Some tour company also offer meetups after tours and excursions or on certain days of the week so you can get to know other travelers
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Same route travel friends
There are some countries or regions you’ll go to where everybody takes the same kind of routes like the East coast of Australia or the Gringo trails through Central America. These are well-trodden paths and you’re likely to see the same faces along the way.
You might start off as strangers but the more you bump into them the more you recognise each other
- Your traveling routes are in-sync
- Keep bumping into each other in the same destinations
- Or bus and train stations
- Slowly start hanging out together
- You may stick to your own plans – meet up hang out then go your own way
- Potentially start traveling together as you become friends
- Still do your own thing but travel together
- Start doing the same things
Work/ Volunteer travel friends
If you’re on a working holiday visa, replenishing your backpacking funds with work or giving back and being part of a volunteer program you’re likely to make friends with the people around you.
If you’re working the other people might start out as just work colleagues but over time you might start doing this outside of work together and end up friends. Or it might just be at work that you’ve become friends, you click at work but have no real interests outside of it.
If you decide to do some volunteering work, you’re more than likely getting a place a sleep and eat. It will feel more like you’re part of a community with likeminded people rather than work colleagues, and you’ll find that you start becoming close to people and become friends
Making local friends while solo traveling
The longer you travel, or if you travel slow and stay in a location for longer the chances are you will start getting to know locals. Making friends with locals can be an enriching experience in that not only will you see and learn things from a different perspective, they will start passing on more local knowledge and insight.
You can be friends with locals by:
- Being friendly
- Being approachable
- Putting in effort, like attempting to speak the local language
- Hanging out in local areas
- Eating in local eateries
- Hanging out in local social areas
- Getting involved with local events
- In local cafes and bars
- Not being afraid to conversate with them
You will notice the more you stay in one place the more they will recognise you and be more receptive to you. Locals are friendly with you if you show them the right respect.
Or you might just have a chance meeting, bump into one randomly, getting talking and hit it off. Next thing you know you feel like you’ve known each other all your lives and instantly become not just travel friends but lifelong friends.
No, I don’t mean self-discovery or meeting your doppelganger, I mean there will be somebody you come across who is the exact same as you. The funny thing is you won’t know anything about each other, you might already be staying in the same place and have made the same friends but are not friends yourselves. It will be only after a chance meeting that you just instantly click and realize you’ve met yourself.
- You both have the same mentality
- Think the same
- Same characteristics
- Same mannerisms, personalities
- The same outlook
- Same views and opinions
- The same things in common
- Same interests
- Always on the same page and wavelength
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Follow British backpacker Amit’s humorous wild ride into nomad life. From his early calamitous struggles with solo travel, the odd brush with death, to ghetto snobbing (his words), it’s been a ‘take the rough with the smooth’ type of journey
Don’t just imagine the journey – see it through this FREE photo album
The spanner in the works or the best thing that can happen to you – it could go either way.
Everybody is human at the end of the day, there are going to be people:
- You’re attracted to
- There are some you’ll fall for and
- Have the right chemistry with
- Some you’ll just have hook ups with
It happens. You’ll meet somebody, you’ll click, hang out possibly, and either you’ll hook up and go your separate ways, maybe become fuck buddies or it could turn into a travel relationship.
Traveling relationships can be brilliant or really tough. They can be brilliant as you’ve found somebody to make and share your trip and memories with; you’ve found a companion. Or, it can be a spanner in the works because you merge your travel plans together, you both make sacrifices to things the other wanted to do. You’ve gone from being a solo traveler doing things on your own terms and pace to compromising. What you thought you wanted might not be the case and it could turn into a bigger headache than It’s worth.
Groups to make solo travel friends
If you really struggle to make solo travel friends along the way, there are also groups you can get involved with online. Check online there’s always
- Facebook groups – travelers make groups of the area your in, meetup groups etc
- Get on twitter see If there are people in the area or any groups and get togethers set up
- Lonely planet travel communities – Lots on online communities
- Couchsurfing community – Organised events in local areas for travelers to meet
- TravellersPoint – A travelers website, you can post on there to see if others are in the same area
- Local community events, get togethers, social events
- Online travel communities
You’ll find other backpackers and even locals sometimes who organise events and get togethers for solo backpackers to meet and get to know each other, which is another great way to make friends.
So many ways to make solo travel friends
And there we have it. As you can see there are plenty of opportunities to make solo travel friends and levels of friends wherever you wish to.
As a long term solo traveler, believe me, there will be times you will find it hard to have space and time alone.
One last thing I will leave you with – It’s actually easier to make friends while solo traveling than in groups. As weird as that may sound, solo travelers are just more open because they are by themselves. Whereas those traveling with partners or in groups are content with their own circle of friends.
If you’ve been worried about how to make solo travel friends, I hope this post has eased that concern.
before you leave
Weather you would like to get informed on long-term solo travel or love reading travel stories of adventure, discovery & despair Amit has you covered. Check out his latest books
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