How to Make Travel Friends When Solo Traveling

For many, one of the most daunting aspects of solo travel is the possibility of not making friends during your trip. First and foremost, to be completely honest, that is a possibility. Although the purpose of this post is to help solo travelers make travel friends, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending time alone during your trip. Some of my favorite solo trips were spent almost completely alone! It’s a great way to relax and spend some time focusing on yourself.

That being said, I LOVE having travel friends all over the world. Many of these friends I met on solo trips and they continue to be some of my most reliable travel buddies. Below are some of the exact strategies I’ve used to make travel friends on solo trips all over the world.

How to Make Travel Friends

There are many advantages to making new friends and meeting like-minded people while traveling. For solo female travelers, travel buddies can make your trip safer, especially when drinking or going out in new cities.

Adding travelling friends to your social network can also be helpful when planning future trips. I’ve found that the people I meet while solo traveling are some of my most reliable friends when committing to new trips. Utilize the tips below to meet people easily while traveling alone!

Be Approachable

Although this seems a little obvious, never underestimate the effect of a smile and a welcoming attitude. I can be guilty of a mild resting bitch face from time to time…and from experience, it’s not helpful when trying to make friends. Instead, make a conscious effort to chat and be friendly with those around you. Try to smile often and use welcoming body language (arms uncrossed, etc).

Attention solo traveling ladies: we all know that acting overly friendly to random men can backfire quickly. Trust your intuition when making new friends.

travel friends

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are one of my favorite tools to make new travel friends, find travel guides, organize group travel and meet up with like-minded people all over the world! I’ve listed some of my favorite Facebook Groups for solo travelers below.

The Solo Female Traveler Network

Female Digital Nomads

Girls LOVE Travel (GLT)

Wandering Women Travel Bloggers

We Are Travel Girls

You can easily search these groups by typing a destination into the search bar, or try creating a post to introduce yourself! I like to include a picture, a little bit about myself, age, occupation, where I’m going and what I’m looking for. Some of these groups have over 1 million members, so the odds of finding a new travel buddy are high.

I also love using Facebook Groups to find new clients as a Virtual Assistant.

travel friends

Stay in a Hostel

Not only are hostels great for those traveling on a budget, but they’re a great place to find adventure buddies and meet travel friends. I’ve met some of my best travel friends in hostels all around the world! Before booking a hostel, I always filter by the following criteria.

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • 24-Hour Reception
  • Free Wifi
  • Non Smoking
  • Hostel Activities / Pub Crawl

A swimming pool and nightclub are added bonuses! I’ve seen hostels offering lots of cool amenities for a fraction of hotel prices. Browse around Hostelworld.com for any destination to see what you can find. Some of my favorites were Marco Polo Hostel in St. Julian’s, Malta, Alessandro Palace & Bar in Rome, Italy and The Little Havana Party Hostel in Kraków, Poland.

Traveling trick: even if you’re not staying in a hostel, you can usually book activities through that hostel. In Thailand, we wanted to meet other travelers but also wanted to take advantage of the beautiful and insanely cheap hotels. We stayed in 4-star hotels in Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai but booked every pub crawl and excursion through the Bodega Party Hostel.

travel buddy

Use a Co-Working Space

Co-working spaces are shared workspaces meant for travelers, digital nomads and remote employees. Many remote workers utilize co-working spaces in their hometowns and they become a great tool for digital nomads who work full-time while traveling the world.

Many of these spaces offer pay-as-you-go models or package rates (weekly pass, monthly pass, etc.). They typically include a coffee bar, reliable wifi, outlets and basic office supplies like printers, paper, staplers, etc. Some co-working spaces charge a monthly rate and include accommodation as well as a workspace. These spaces are a great way for solo travelers to meet like-minded people in any destination!

Coworker is a great tool to find and book co-working spaces all over the world.

Utilize Travel Apps for Solo Travelers

Nowadays, there are tons of apps geared towards solo travelers looking to make travel friends! Many travelers use dating apps like Tinder and Bumble to connect with other travelers in new destinations. I’ve used this method before. Just make sure to take adequate precautions when meeting strangers from the internet. I always choose a well-populated and familiar place, text my friends a screenshot of his profile and share my location with friends and family.

UNBLND is a fun app that connects you with like-minded people nearby that fit your specific criteria – like an interest in travel. Couchsurfing is another commonly used app for both accommodation and meeting travel friends. I’ve never used Couchsurfing myself because, to be honest, I have serious safety concerns about staying on a stranger’s couch.

Tourlina is a great app for solo female travelers because it allows you to connect with other traveling women in your area. The app is very safety conscious and involves a detailed verification process before setting up your account.

traveling friends

Book Group Tours

Rather than explore a new spot by yourself, consider booking a group tour! Although the cost might be a bit higher, it can be a great way to meet new people in an unfamiliar destination. Many hostels offer fun group excursions, which you can usually book even if you’re staying somewhere else.

Viator and Get Your Guide are also great places to find group tours. Just make sure to read the reviews and cancellation policy thoroughly before booking. You can also try joining destination-specific Facebook Groups to find local tour guides and group trip options!

travel friends

Volunteer with a Local Organization

Volunteering is both a great way to make friends and a great way to give back to local communities and become a more responsible and conscious traveler. Volunteer World is a great tool to match volunteer travelers with their perfect organizations abroad. They’ve matched over 130K volunteers in 78 countries around the world with their simple application process.

Destination-specific Facebook Groups are another great way to find volunteer opportunities. Just make sure to fact check the legitimacy of the organization before meeting up.

Take a Class

I love taking classes in new destinations! Cooking classes are one of my favorite ways to connect with and learn about a new culture. I’ve taken a pierogi-making class in Kraków, a Pad Thai-making class in Chiang Mai and learned how to make traditional Honduran chicken in homemade coconut milk in Roatán.

No matter your interests, taking classes is a great way to meet travel friends in a new destination. If cooking isn’t your thing, try taking surfing lessons, become a certified scuba diver or take an art class taught by a local artist. There are countless options!

Book a Pub Crawl

Pub crawls have been one of my favorite travel activities since I studied abroad in Rome in 2017. As of December 2021, I’ve been on pub crawls in 7 different countries…and I’m expecting that number to rise in 2022. If you’ve never been on a pub crawl, it’s a very simple process. Sometimes you need to reserve your spot ahead of time, but most of the time you can book in-person when you show up. The cost of the crawl will get you a wristband and a pre-determined amount of free drinks and discounts. The crawl leader will then take you around the city to 3-5 different bars, usually ending at a nightclub with free admission for the crawl.

The only downside of a pub crawl is that it’s a questionable activity for solo female travelers. I’ve met TONS of travel friends on pub crawls, but I’ve always had at least one trusted friend by my side. If you do decide to book a pub crawl as a solo female, make sure to check out my solo female travel safety tips beforehand.

travel friends

Wanna be Friends?

Join the Madison’s Footsteps Community!

If you’re looking to make travel friends around the world, I’d love to have you as part of my Madison’s Footsteps community! Click here to join our exclusive Facebook Group, Our Footsteps 👣Travel Bloggers. Make sure to follow the adventure on Instagram @madisonsfootsteps and grab my free PDF guide below – The Solo Traveler’s Guide to Photography.

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