Solo but not lonely – Top tips for social solo travel

Solo Travel is Social!

Feel like you have no one reliable to travel with? Tired of always waiting on someone else to accompany your trips? The world of solo travel may seem like a daunting task to someone without the prior experience. But in reality, solo travel doesn’t have to be lonely at all. With the right mindset and attitude you will find yourself pushing out of your comfort zone and right into the world of social solo travel.

Solo strolls – Amalfi, Italy.

Travelling solo brings many exciting opportunities to meet interesting new people and join in a range of activities. Quite often more so than while travelling with others. Being solo leaves your plans and your perspective more open, making you more likely to dive into conversation with a stranger or join in on any activities with new people you meet.

As much as it can be a simple and super fun process, there is a couple of things that you need to make it happen!

Open mindedness and positive attitude

Have a smile on your face, some flexibility with your plans and be open to spontaneous decisions. Make sure you’ve been looking after your mental health on the road to keep yourself as fresh and positive as possible. If someone strikes up conversation with you or invites you along to something and your answer is always no, it’s going to complicate the process. Some of the most amazing people I have ever met started with a conversation struck quickly at almost inconvenient times. Be ready to adapt the plan to maximise social solo travel.

A little dash of effort

Sometimes an open mind is enough. Other times you may have to put on your extrovert shoes and make a little effort too. Branch out, introduce yourself, if you connect with someone you meet; invite them to something you’re planning. It may seem intimidating, but once you learn that most other people are just waiting for someone else to initiate an interaction too, it all starts to feel more comfortable.

Try it, what’s the worst that can happen? A little effort and an open mind will take you a long way. If you’re prepared for those things you will be just fine! So lets get into some top tips, places and ideas to make those new pals and launch into the world of social solo travel.

Make friends with photographers for the best pics – Magnetic Island, QLD, Australia

7 Top Tips for meeting new people while travelling

Stay in Hostels

This is the simplest and easiest way to meet other travellers. Hostels are full of people from all over the world. People all coming from different backgrounds and headed in different directions forward.

Not only are they loaded with other fellow travellers and holiday makers, but many hostels also host social events to encourage interactions to form. Trivia nights, game rooms, karaoke, yoga sessions, family dinners, book clubs and even in house night clubs. Some hostels have a huge variety of social events to help you connect with the right people.

Even if the idea of joining all these events with a series of strangers sounds a little intimidating, there’s definitely more relaxing ways to make these new connections. Hostels are suitable for extroverts and introverts alike. There’s generally a much more relaxed social atmosphere. Hostels almost contain their own societal norms exclusive of what you may find in other environments. Most people staying in hostels are their for the same reason, so you have a lot in common before you even say hello.

Sitting down on the same table as a stranger to introduce yourself or joining in a game of cards isn’t going to be a big deal. Or if this still sounds a little bit too far out of the comfort zone, sit back with a smile and let the extroverts find you.

Even if you’re a little more boujee in your travel style, you’ll be surprised at the level of cleanliness and quality amongst modern hostels. Private rooms are always an option too, the perks of a hostel environment with the privacy of your own room. Don’t be a hostel snob, try it out.

Free Walking Tours

Free walking tours are a secret gem for both cultural experience and for meeting people. These tours operate in all corners of the world through a range of providers and are super simple to book.

These tours are fantastic for learning more in depth about the city you’re visiting. As well as a perfect opportunity for getting authentic local recommendations on sites, restaurants, hikes, bars, activities and more.

Walking tours are also a great chance to meet some other travellers in the same city as you. The group dynamic is generally made up of small groups and solo travellers of people from all different backgrounds. Good guides create lots of discussion during tours and is a simple way to engage with others on your tour. As well as an easy way to find people seeking similar recommendations to yourself. Keep your schedule open after a walking tour and you may find yourself heading straight off to a museum, bar or walking spot with some new friends afterward.

You can book a free walking tour online any time by simply heading to google and typing in “free walking tour (insert your city here)”. Then just choose your preferred tour and time before registering with your name and contact. Done, it’s that simple! You’ll receive an email with the meeting point and generally some sort of info on a banner or identifying clothing on your guide to look for.

The premise of a free walking tour is that an educated local guide runs the tour for “free” and payment is tips based at the conclusion of your session. Your tip is based on your own discretion of the value you felt you received from your guide. Pay as much as you like, or you can not pay at all (come on now, don’t be “that” person). But don’t forget that these guides rely on this for income and provide extensive history and knowledge to you!

Dinner with some hostel friends – Florence, Italy

Pub Crawls/Nightlife Tours

Similar to joining walking tours, organised pub tours is another hidden gem that is super simple to book! Just head on over to your search engine and type in “pub crawls (your city)” or ask at your hostel reception desk for recommendations. Best for the party goers and the night owls! If you’re not a drinker, that is fine, you can still get social, just be aware that your new pals may get increasingly compromised along the way.

Now this one is possibly the easiest for striking up conversations with strangers. Firstly, because most people join these with meeting new people as a top priority. Secondly, there is generally a little bit of assistance from a social lubrication tool called alcohol. While of course this can be a helpful way of breaking down barriers and getting social, its always important not to rely on alcohol for social interaction. As well as knowing your limits, nobody wants to make a fool of themselves in front of their new friends. But also don’t be too responsible, have fun, it’s all about balance after all.

Aside from meeting people in a social and party environment, there is a few other great benefits. A night out exploring the nightlife without having to research where to go, how to get there and of course not having to wait in lines! Just strap your wristband on, grab a drink and follow your night guide. It’s also quite a cost effective way to have a night out, with one fee covering your entry, guide and some drinks.

Continue your hobbies

Too often, travelling can get in the way of hobbies, but it can be an amazing way to experience things that you love in a different setting, as well as meeting like minded people.

If you’re a sport person, head to any events you can and immerse in the culture, or head down to a basketball court or football pitch nearby and ask to join in. If you enjoy music, find small local gigs or ask for some local recommendations at a music store. Love exercising? Hit a local gym. Passionate reader? Spare a few hours to sit in a local library. I could carry on, but the idea is clear.

Continue your hobbies and entertain conversations where you can, you already know you share something in common. On top of the potential to exchange with locals or travellers with a shared interest, experiencing something you’re passionate about in a different location is always insightful and enjoyable.

Not all of your new friends need to be human – Maria Island, TAS, Australia

Volunteering

Additionally to being a budget friendly and rewarding way to travel, volunteering brings a lot of social opportunity. Interacting with locals, other travellers and tourists alike.

Many hostels or bed & breakfasts around the world are frequently looking for travellers to work in exchange for accommodation. Or platforms like Workaway or Worldpackers offer an extensive range of experiences. Farming, Teaching, hospitality work, sustainability projects, animal care, if you can think of it, it probably exists out there somewhere.

If you’re volunteering in a place that you’re keen to be exploring and completing a job you’re interested in, it’s more than likely that you’ll be crossing paths with other similar minded people. To add to that, meeting interesting locals that can guide you and welcome you.

Online

Although it may not feel as organic as meeting someone in person, online platforms are a fantastic friend making tool. Realistically, we are living in an online generation, so its best to take advantage of the positives.

Although not as dominant amongst social media as it once was, Facebook is loaded with little travel communities. These facebook groups are bursting with opportunities for work, day trips, transportation, accommodation, nights out and more. I have joined a 3 week road trip sharing a van with people that i met on a “Backpackers in Queensland” group. I have even picked up work and accommodation from someone that i met on an “Aussies in London” group. Join as many as you can find and start interacting.

Friend finding apps, dating apps and other social media apps are other great ways to meet people and have some interaction before meeting in person. Or if you book your accommodation via the Hostelworld app, you can chat and plan with other people staying at the same hostel and city before you even arrive. All makes the transition out of your comfort zone just a little bit smoother

Just Say Yes!

When it comes to social solo travel, spontaneity will be your best friend. Keep some flexibility in your plans, especially if meeting new people is a priority. Set your boundaries and ensure you feel safe and comfortable. Once you have done that, say yes as often as possible.

Being ready to adjust and say yes to a new plan opens up so many doors. Each opportunity breeds more opportunities, and they arise from saying yes. Don’t forget that you have nothing to lose.

Camel riding is more fun with new friends – Giza, Egypt.

Social Solo Travel – Lifelong Friends & Memories

Solo Travel really isn’t solo at all. Even though you may leave for a trip by yourself. With a new mindset going in, you’ll find yourself coming home with new friends from all walks of life, dotted all over the world.

The world is full of beautiful places and amazing activities. Sharing these things with other people can enhance your experience even more, and people looking to share these experiences are everywhere.

Having nobody to travel with should never be the obstacle restricting you from exploring what the world has to offer. But instead it should be the extra drive behind even more adventure. Opportunity to meet new interesting people, no obligations of where to go and what to be. Social solo travel is hugely enjoyable and great for personal growth and development. Plus with the right attitude, you might just find it much easier than you think.

As always, feel free to share your questions, thoughts and feedback!

2 thoughts on “Solo but not lonely – Top tips for social solo travel”

  1. Great write-up, super helpful tips catering for the traveller, regardless if they are introverted or extroverted

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