How to Travel Solo if you Hate Being Solo
One of the common answers I get when I ask individuals if they would ever travel solo is, “Well, I think it would be awesome…but I hate being alone.”
Personally, I think there are a lot of reasons why everyone should give solo travel a shot at least once in their life; however, I completely understand the hesitation of not wanting to spend an entire vacation alone. Who will I eat with? Who will I visit sights with? Who will take my pictures?…these are all perfectly valid concerns.
I think there’s a big misconception with solo travel that it means you have to have zero human interaction. While you can certainly go solo traveling and spend an entire trip alone, it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to! If you are someone that has been curious about traveling solo, but also values time with others, I am here to show you a few ways that you can meet people during your solo travels and not spend a single day alone, if you don’t want to.
Hostels are a great way to meet other travelers. Whether you bunk up in a multi-person room or opt for a private room, hostels usually offer communal places where people can hangout and mingle, as well as organize tours or pub crawls. I have stayed at my fair share of hostels and I will say that there is a wide range between super budget to fancier boutique-like hostels. Hostelworld.com is a great place to find hostels of all types in most major cities.
One of my favorite experiences staying at a hostel was visiting Mambembe Hostel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where my siblings and I stayed when we were attending our first World Cup. I loved Mambembe because although the place is very simple, the people there felt like family. Mambembe is situated in one of the most charming neighborhoods of Rio, in the hills of Santa Teresa. Waking up to the views of Rio was truly spectacular!
Free Walking Tours
Free Walking Tours are one of the first things I do whenever I arrive in a new city. Free Walking Tours, much like the name suggests, are tours that are offered in most major cities that are free to attend (some require pre-registration online) and operate on a tip basis. During most tours, the guides usually like to start with an icebreaker asking everyone where they are coming from. Many guides encourage people to mingle throughout the tour and get to know other fellow travelers. I have met a ton of people through these tours and have often planned future days of sightseeing together.
Couchsurfing is a way to connect travelers and locals through free homestays and activities. Local hosts can offer up a place to stay within their home (ranging from an actual couch to a private guesthouse) or offer to host activities in their hometown. Because hosts make no money from sharing their home or time, you generally find that hosts have a true passion for meeting travelers from all over the world and have a genuine excitement about sharing their hometown with guests. As with any shared service, be sure to read host reviews and take regular safety precautions.
I relied on Couchsurfing quite a bit during the beginning of my solo travels. My experiences as a couchsurfer were truly some of the best from all of my travels. I made genuine friendships with my hosts; we would sit at night in their living room sharing a glass of alcohol and share stories about our home, talk about the current political climate in our countries, and enjoy each other’s company. I remember one night super vividly in Pisa, Italy laughing and sharing stories for hours by the fireplace with scotch in hand and learning how to smoke a cigar from my older Italian woman host (I remember feeling like a total badass that night and waking up with a raging headache from that cigar the next morning).
Meet up with friends of friends
Another (free) way of meeting people on your solo travels is to reach out to your friends and see if they have any local friends who you could meet up with for a meal or who would be willing to show you around. More often than not, friends of friends are usually very excited to show off their home country/city, or at the very least be able to provide you with a list of recommendations if they aren’t able to join you physically. Be sure to thank them for their time by bringing them a small gift or offering to pay for their meal :)
EatWith is a platform that offers dining experiences with locals. Whether you want a wine and cheese night in a Parisian garden, a feast of tapas on a Barcelona rooftop, or learn how to make homemade pasta in a charming apartment in Rome, EatWith has you covered! EatWith allows you to sign up for dinners, cooking classes, or food tours hosted by locals, across major cities worldwide.
Use referral code F7C33A77 at checkout for $10 off your first EatWith dining experience.
Aside from accommodations, Airbnb offers Experiences, which are activities hosted by locals. These activities range from cultural tours, cooking classes, watersports, hiking, concerts, food tours, to social impact. These single-day activities are a great way to meet like-minded travelers.
First-time Airbnb users can register through this link to get $40 off their first home booking and $15 off their first experience worth $50 or more.
Similar to Airbnb Experiences, Airbnb also provides Adventures which are multi-day trips hosted by locals, including lodging, meals, and activities. These Adventures are offered worldwide, and can be filtered by experience level and type, such as active, cultural, and culinary. These Adventures are also a fantastic way to meet other travelers who share similar interests.
So, whether you want a healthy mix of alone time and time with others or you prefer sightseeing with newfound friends every day, these are great ways to meet people during your solo travels!
Til next time!