It was lonely sometimes when I traveled alone. Even I love the freedom to do anything I wanted to. But I needed some socialize activities as well. Luckily that I was not a shy person. So I always made new friends all the time when I traveled.
Now I have got load of friends that still keep in touch on the road more than friends I have known them from my home town.
Trust me , it is very easy to get a new friend. As I am an Asian guy , there are more boundaries than you guys would have. Here are my tips and tricks to make a new friends. And the best thing about it is that you could choose the one you want to know!
Here are seven of the ways I make friends while traveling solo:
1. Make friend in a local tour group.
I hate to travel with a tour group if the tour organize everything for a whole trip in the country I travel to. It is rushed and take my freedom away. But I always go with a local day tour in some places that it is hard to find public transport , or if I want to take a rest , or if I want to make new friends.
You could meet load of new people in a group of local tour. And a very good thing about making a new friend in local tour group is that you could see their characters first. Then you could decide who you want to approach. Mostly they are in a good mood to open up their doors to know new people.
Case study : I always made a new friends in a local tour group. First I would look around and I could feel who would get along with me well. Then I would approach them by saying “Hi” , Where are you come from? , Talk a bit of some information you know about their country. Or if you don’t know anything about it. Ask something you want to know about that country. Then conversation would flow well.
Thanks to the new technology that you could keep in touch with your new friends easier. Ask them their whatsapp or facebook. Then you might end up with a new trip together after finishing a local tour!
2. Stay in hostel dorm.
Before I knew host networks , my easiest way of making a new friends was to stay in hostel dorm. You would meet load of people. Most of them are traveler who have a holiday. They are not in a rush , chill out , relax , and easy to make friend with.
The trick is you have to show up not hide yourself in a hidden corner. Go to a living room or kitchen to increase your chance to meet new people. Then try to start a general conversation and see how they feel. When you have done it. It would be very easy to do it again for the next time.
Case study : It is easier to make a new friend with a solo traveler than with a group of travelers. But sometimes you could not find that perfect case. But don’t worry. I did traveled alone to Magnetic island , Australia to find Koala in a wild.
It was awkward that all the dorms are full of youngster because it was a school break. I was one of the only two Asian guys in that hostel and surrounded by 15-18 years old teenagers. Anyway I used all my courage to ask four of nice young German girls to join the trip to find Koala in a wild together. And we stick together for couples of days.
My perfect case to make new friends easy and quickly is to join a couchsurfing meeting. You could just sign up and check the information about the meeting and join them. There is a lot less complicated than to be hosted.
It is super easy to make new friends in couchsurfing meeting as people who join this event have the same mind and goal. They want to meet new people , share stories , ask questions about traveling , and or make new friends.
Case study : In Bangkok couchsurfing meeting which organize every Wednesday night at Cocowalk place , Rachathewi. People just go to join this meeting even they are not a couchsurfing member. The meeting always run on the same place , same time. Even the one who organizes this event does not come. But this meeting still go on by itself. Many of people who join are the same old faces. But I found newcomers every time I went there as well.
4. Use helpx.net!
This is my perfect way to make a new friend by staying with host in helpx.net. In this case , you have to work for your host in exchange of foods and accommodation. Of course , at least your new host would become your new friend. Sometimes you would meet some more people who travel in the same style with you and stay with the same host as you.
You would get to know and learn more about your host as you would live and work with them. Sometimes relationships could turn from friends to be your second mom or dad!
Case study : I love to travel by helpx.net. It let me embrace the beauty of beautiful people , not just to see only pretty sceneries. I made this website to spread out this way of traveling by sharing my experience. And I am sure that you could do the same and experience this wonderful journey as I did have.
5. Use meetup.com!
If you plan to stay in the country you travel to for a week or two. Meetup.com is a good way to make new friends. The idea of meetup.com is to form a group that have the same interest. It could be a group of dancing , language exchange , karaoke , and or traveler. Then you could apply to be a member of each group. Once the organizer accept your request which I have not got a reject before. Then you could join the event that the organizer would give you a notice via email or you could check on the website.
Case study : I did join two group from meetup.com. It gave me a totally different experience. I love the second group that I joined but I didn’t like the first group I went to at all. I think it depends on the organizer a lot to make it in the right atmosphere. However meetup.com still be a perfect place that you could meet lot of people and I am sure some of them would become your new friends.
6.Search for local activities on internet.
I met Sonia , the Spanish girl , in couchsurfing meeting. We talked for a while. Then she told me that she would join a local group of Zouk dance in Bangkok.
What is it again? I have never heard any kind of dance before. So I went with her to Sukhumvit soi18 to see the dance. As I have never learnt how to dance before. But I did enjoy to get the new experience. I met a lot of nice people. Some of dancers even taught me a little bit of Zouk dance.
Case study : I found out it was very easy to make new friends by joining this kind of activity. Salsa dance or Zouk dance must be perfect. Sonia found this activity by the internet search and she had just only few hours to join it. Then the next morning she had to leave to Cambodia. So I am sure if Sonia can do. You and I could do it as well. Look for activities you love to do and join it when you have a free time while you are traveling.
7. Ask locals some questions even you don’t need to?
It is fun and useful if you have local friends. They know something that is not written in a guidebook. So don’t be shy. Just go to say Hello to some local people you feel like they are friendly.
I have done this kind of things many times. Many times were fails , many time were succeeded. So let’s see it as a fun and challenging thing to do. And guess what? It would not hurt you or cost you anything. Just do it!
Case study : I was walking alone while I met these three high school girls. I was free and felt a bit lonely. So I started to talk with them , don’t even remember what did I ask them. They didn’t speak English well. But we did walk around and see the local fish market at the pier. At the end of the day , all of them went to my host house. We made Thai foods together and enjoy our dinner together!