A Nomads' Guide to Making Friends on The Road

Whether it be delivering your worst dad-joke to break the ice with strangers or using a dating app to simply make a few friends, here are a few ways to make connections on your travels.

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As independent as you may be, there are times when you might feel alone on the road. We asked our travel community to share their tops tips on how to make friends on the road and make the most of your adventures. 

Try to Mingle With the Locals

“If you have a hard time striking up a conversation with strangers from scratch, try CouchSurfing, loads of locals are willing to show you their city and give you tips (you don't even actually have to literally couch surf if you don't think it is safe enough).”

- Rafaela Sinopoli, via Facebook

Take Photos

Being on your own means that the memory of the trip will be yours alone. Document your trip and take lots of photos to share so you can share your experience with everyone when you get back home.

Sign up for a Volunteer Program

You are bound to meet other volunteers, as well as get to know the local people by joining a volunteer project. It’s a great way to give back to the community and immerse yourself in a culture quickly if you are on your own.

“Voluntourism. I've done it alone three times and it's perfect.”

- Michelle McAlister, via Facebook

Try a Class

"Check out the local yoga place! I’ve done Kundaliniyoga in New York, St Paul, Honolulu, and Värnamo, Sweden." - J Charpentier (@MrsJCha), via Twitter

Share Food

"Share your food! Nothing breaks the ice like sharing a simple snack or meal.” - William Parker (@William10302010), via Twitter

Get Out!

Don’t spend a lot of time in your room. You are there to explore, not sit in front of a computer screen and send messages home. Keep yourself busy and your schedule full.  

“Try to wake up early and go to sleep early, this way you don't spend a lot of time alone in your room." - Alaric Willi, via Facebook

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Say Hello

If you are staying at a hostel you are literally surrounded by other travellers. You are probably not as shy as you think – chances are you can’t help but bump into new friends in your shared dorm room or in the common areas.

“Mingle at your hostels and get to know people you can go out with. Feel free to stay out late, just make sure you don't miss anything you've planned the next morning.” - Aleksandar Ristevski, via Facebook

Take Your Time

The beauty of being on your own is that you can make your own schedule. There is no one else to influence your itinerary, no one else’s plans to consider. So, bask in your complete independence and decide what you really want to do during your stay and go - at your own pace.

Spot the Other Solo Travellers

Usually they aren’t too hard to pick out – you know, the only other person sitting in the café reading their guidebook over lunch alone.  Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself –it’s easy to buddy up for a few days or just have someone to chat with over lunch.

Find a Local Tour Guide

If you want to enjoy an authentic sightseeing tour without having to share it with busloads of other tourists, why not hire a local tour guide? OurExplorer matches travellers with guides that know the area and plan authentic and individualized local experiences.

Have the Courage to Eat in Places Alone at Night

“I like to eat dinner at restaurant bars where possible. Often, the bartenders are friendly and respectful of a solo female and you don't miss out on any night vibe. Not least, break out of your shell and enjoy meeting others!”

- Christina Tunnah, World Nomads

Network Before You Go

If you are really worried about travelling on your own, ask around before you leave. You may not know anyone where you are going, but friends and family might have a great connection that you would be able to meet up with when you get to your destination, or at least be a contact person in that country.

Join Tinder

"Met a woman using Tinder while in the states. She showed me all the best places not mentioned in the tour guide books. Also got a great insight into some of the local history. Highly recommend tinder for travel." – Con Og O Dulchaointigh, via Facebook

"I used Tinder in Hong Kong to meet people while on a short trip there. Ended up having some great nights in Lang Kwai Fong. Also used it in communist China, where there was a selection of expats and some locals – even though it would appear to be very difficult to get on to the app over there."– Adam Cheesbrough, via Facebook

“I met my boyfriend Julio on Tinder while I was in Madrid for 8 months. We met for a wine date right before I was about to leave for two weeks to travel solo around Europe. While I was gone he kept up with my itinerary and gave me recommendations, and secret clues for things to discover in each city I visited.

Three months after we met, I left Madrid for Florence. At first, we met up for romantic weekends, first in Bologna then in Venice. Neither of us wanted to be in a long-distance relationship, and I called things off. I spent the summer traveling alone through the Balkans. A short conversation a few months later, and we both booked flights to Fez, Morocco to celebrate my birthday.

We haven't looked back since. I spent the holidays with him in Madrid before going to India for six months. He visited India and we got to see the world's greatest monument of love, the Taj Mahal together. A few months later we met in Nepal. Now, almost a year and a half later, Julio has resigned his job and joined me to travel SEA for a year.

After, we'll go wherever our hearts desire, as long as we are together. Despite the distance, our love managed to cross borders, time zones and language barriers. We finally removed the "long distance" aspect of our relationship when we met up in Malaysia last week!” – Lola Méndez, Facebook

How do you make friends on the road? Share your tips and stories with us in the comments below!

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1 Comment

  • Alaric Willi said

    Ohh, Just noticed I'm quoted in this article! Thanks WN you guys rock.<br>Anyone interested can find more about me on www.alaricproductions.com.<br>

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