VIDEO: When I first told people about the open-ended trip I was taking, the first question they asked was, “Who are you going with?”
While I’ll have some visitors along the way, I will be traveling alone for the majority of the trip.
I’m very used to traveling with a group of friends or family and this was the first time I embarked without a companion to share the joys and challenges of travel.
Needless to say, I was bit frightened by the idea of traveling solo in hopes that I’d meet someone along the way that I could call a friend. I mean, it took 26 years to determine who my 5-10 really good friends are… how could I find a new one in the first week?!
As the video explains above, traveling solo is more like voluntarily taking a class with a very niche topic. Everybody is there to learn about the same experiences and destinations. Everybody must be open and willing to exit their own comfort zones in order to enjoy their travels.
This is especially significant when traveling solo. Within 10 minutes of waking up on my first day, I met three other solo travelers that I have now been traveling with for more than a week.
We all bonded quickly over the excitement to explore a new city and new country.
Here are 3 tips I’ve quickly learned about finding travel companions during solo travel!:
1) Stay in hostels or guesthouses with a common area.
This is by far the easiest way to put yourself into the mix. There is always a time to have your own room with some privacy, but hostels with dormitories and/or common areas will immediately introduce you to fellow travelers. The easiest way to strike up a quick conversation is, “Hello, my name is _____. Where are you from? Where have you traveled and where are you going next? What are your plans for the day?” Everybody’s background is often very interesting and you might find yourself a new travel buddy for the day.
2) Couchsurfing and/or Couchsurfing Meetups.
As mentioned in our previous videos, Couchsurfing.org is a great way to not only meet locals and authentically learn about your destination, but they also hold Couchsurfing meetups in many cities around the world. These are a great way to walk into a group of like-minded people that accept you right away and without question.
3) Take a tour or a class.
Even if you’re not the “touristy” type, taking a tour or a class will put you into a small group of people that want to learn about the same thing. I don’t recall a class or tour that I’ve ever taken in which I didn’t strike up a conversation with a stranger–whether I was with friends or not!
[reminder]How else would you combat the fear of traveling solo?[/reminder]
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