Travelling alone is awesome and there are lots of cool benefits. However, the major drawback is that you usually don’t know anyone when you go to a brand new city. It can be especially difficult if you’re travelling in Europe, so many languages! That’s why I used to worry about meeting new people to hang out with. However, I’ve come to realize that 90% of the time it’s really not that hard at all. Here’s how I make new friends in every city that I go to.
1. Stay at a Popular Hostel
If you’ve traveled before than you already know that this is the easiest way to meet people. Hostels are awesome social hubs where friendship is easy to come by. You’ll probably never see any given person again in your life, but you never know.
Staying at a popular hostel is also awesome because it’s so, so easy to score an invitation to hang out. All you have to do is say hi to the people in your room and ask them what they’re up to that night. 75% of the time they’ll tell you and then invite you to hang out with them. If you’re staying in a smaller room or you don’t like your roommates, go to the common area.
2. Take a Guided Tour
In general I’m against all things that label me as tourist. However, an occasional guided tour is a good way to meet some new people. After the tour is over you can always see if someone wants to get a beer or some dinner at a nearby cafe. These tours are also nice because if you take one in English then you know that everyone else there will speak English as well.
3. Ask Your Friends on Facebook for Hook Ups
This can be totally hit or miss. It really comes down to your friend group. If all your Facebook friends are from your hometown then this won’t work. However, if you’ve done some travelling before then you’re in the perfect position to do this. Create a Facebook post and ask for people to tell you about one of their friends in the city you’re going to. You may be surprised at how well this works. Not to mention that if you meetup with this new person you’ll instantly have something to talk about.
4. Use InterPals
InterPals is a website that has people from across the world. Ostensibly it’s for practicing languages. It works great in that regard, but lots of people also use it to meet friends in new cities. You should plan ahead though. If you know where you’re going, write some people a week before you get there. If all you want to do is hang out you should be upfront about it. Some people are only there for language practice and you don’t want to waste their time or yours.
5. Go to Couchsurfing Events
Save the best for last. Going to Couchsurfing events is by far the best way to meet people in any given city. The events are free, they’re usually in a cool local pub, bar or park, and the people are usually friendly and welcoming. I’ve been to dozens of Couchsurfing events in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and Dresden. On average I’ve enjoyed myself 4 out 5 times. That’s a good percentage in my book!
Even if the event ends up being a bust, you’re still guaranteed to meet a few people. Exchange numbers and offer to hang out the next day. Just like that you have a new contact in a city where you didn’t know anyone before.
Do you have any other ideas about how to meet people while travelling? Post them below, I’d love to hear about them!