7 Essential Tips for Making Friends While Traveling Alone
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects travelers from all over the world who have similar itineraries to share costs and experiences. Simply type the destination you are journeying to, connect with travelers and locals, chat, meet up, and explore together!

14th Jul | 4 min read

The best part of travel is by sharing memories with other people. But, it is extremely hard for many people to form a friendship while they are alone and outside their comfort zone.

Phocuswright found in 2016 that a whopping 72 percent of hostel guests in the United States was traveling alone. A Solo traveler study found that 59% of solo travelers said the reason they travel alone is that they want to see more of the world and they’re not willing to wait for others.

With solo traveling growing in popularity, there are options to socialize with other travelers — it’s just a matter of putting yourself in the right position to do so. Here are some tactics you can use to meet and befriend people abroad.

1. Connect with like-minded travelers online before your trip starts

You can connect with other travelers who are planning on traveling to the same destination through travel forums. 

Thorn Tree is probably the largest collection of travel forums out there.  But, in 2019, Thorn Tree's Travel Companion branch was shut down. 

Reddit has a popular subreddit dedicated to finding travel buddies. 

There are many more Facebook groups aimed at solo travelers, including several for solo women. But, the problem is, it's time-consuming and you don't know which one would be the right fit for you! 

At GAFFL, it's simple and focused! Search for your desired destination, connect with others planning a similar trip at your same dates and start chatting instantly to meet up and travel together.

Whether you are looking for like-minded travelers to explore the beautiful national parks in the US, enjoy the beaches of Indonesia or adventure in New Zealand, you can use GAFFL to find a travel buddy instantly.  

To ensure safety, GAFFL offers a 3-step verification process that includes social, phone number, and ID verification. 

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2. Stay in a hostel

The Global Hostel Marketplace 2014-2018” showed that millennials are choosing hostels due to low cost, convenient locations, good value, experience-driven accommodations, and opportunities to meet other travelers. You’ll find common lounge rooms and kitchens, an outdoor pool and sometimes a bar or cafe.

Popular booking sites include Hostelworld, Hostelz, Hostels.com, and Hostelbookers, and all feature reviews and detailed information about available amenities and each hostel’s location.

During the research, pay close attention to hostels which facilitate group activities and also provide good security for individuals.

3. Go on free walking tours

Every tourist area has some form of a walking tour. Here, you’ll have a chance to interact with other tourists and possibly come away with a new friend.

Several tour companies, like Sandeman’s New Europe or Free Tours by Foot, are generally safe options for solo travelers. But don’t count out smaller or independent tour companies that may be better tailored to specific destinations. Visit the company website and read reviews left by travelers to make sure everything checks out.

4. Go on a pub crawl

This is for young travelers. I’m not saying you need to get drunk to have fun. However, it’s been my experience that alcohol is one of the world’s best social lubricants. Drink responsibly and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you meet people.

5. Classes

Travel is all about learning about the world and yourself. So, it’s a great time to dive into something you always had an interest in but maybe you not being able to do it in your hometown. Like ‘Pizza Making Class in Rome’, ‘Yoga Retreat in Bali’, or ‘Mui Thai Training in Thailand’.

When you learn things together, you typically end up forming deeper relationships than going on a tour or meeting at a bar.

6. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to meet other like-minded travelers. You can get out of your comfort zone, grow as a person, join a group of international volunteers, help a community in need, and spend your free time exploring.

The United States alone may send 20 million volunteer travelers on projects worldwide by the year 2020. The UK, the EU, Australia, and Canada also are seeing millions of its citizens travel for volunteer opportunities.

These travelers work in developing countries, planting gardens, teaching English, renovating community centers and temples, see themselves as citizens of the world.

Top volunteer vacations for solo travelers

  • Volunteer with sea turtles in Bali.
  • Support NGOs working with refugees in Italy.
  • Take part in eco volunteering in New Zealand.
  • Experience cultural immersion in Peru.
  • Volunteer to protect wild animals in Victoria Falls.
  • Work as a Special Needs/Childcare volunteer in Vietnam.
  • Teaching English in Cambodia.

7. Ask people questions

Asking a bunch of open-ended questions like “Where else have you traveled to?”, “What’s your favorite place?”, “What’s cool around here?”, “Are you on holiday or taking a break from work?”, or even a simple “Where are you from?” can be a great way to strike up a conversation.

“There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet” - William Yeats. So, connect safely with the people before your trip or you meet along the way.

Solo travel might help you to get out of your comfort zone and that is extremely important for your personal growth. It is not amazing meeting new people all the time. Sometimes you can encounter unfriendly people, but this is part of the experience and makes the whole world more interesting!

Any tricks or techniques you know that I might have missed, mention in the comments below. 

Take action, get results!   

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