Most of the people are afraid to travel alone because they think they will end up alone every single day or it wouldn’t be a fun trip since you have nobody to share with. Some people also worried that they won’t have good travel pictures and get lonely. Well! Forget about those thought because if you follow those, you will miss a very great thing in your life! An unforgettable solo traveling experience.
Let me share my experience to you how I managed to get many friends every time I travel alone. To be honest, it isn’t easy to start but when to get along with some other traveler, you will be so happy and proud because you will add some more nice people in your life.
- Be a Real Human being
Please try to be a nice human being and put all your gadget including your phone and your earphone inside your bag. How can people approach you if you do not even give a good signal? I wouldn’t talk with someone with a phone on their hands and headphones on their ears. These people basically say,” STAY AWAY FROM ME”. Instead try to do eye contact and smile to people around you and please don’t equate this with flirting. Why smiling? People who smile show more positive vibes then people who are grumpy. The possibility people approach you is a lot bigger and this technique really works for me.
When you are sitting in the bus or any public places put your head up! How can people see your face if you look down? When I was travelling alone in Cambodia, I was sitting alone in the restaurant of my hostel without my phone. I looked around and yeees! My eyes caught an Australian girl eyes! We looked each other and smile. At the end, I asked her “are you traveling alone?” and she said “yes”. After that we decided to do some trip together in Siem Reap. Easy right?
2.Use some Travel Application
Everything is a lot easier these days with technology. If you get tired strolling around in the hostel lobby trying to find a travel buddy, using travel app will be a good idea to find a new friend. My favorite is Couchsurfing! And if you are Indonesian who want to meet some Indonesian as well you can contact the student association (PPI) in that country. Some people I met often use Tinder as well to meet people!
- Staying with Local
With this app, your opportunity to meet local people is way bigger! If you are lucky enough, you could stay with local, talk with them and be friends. Some of them often show you around and cook their special dishes for you. I have a lot of great Couchsurfing experience in my life and those are unforgettable.
- Hang Out
Couchsurfing has a feature name ‘Hang Out’. Through this feature, you can easily see who is online, chat with this person and grab a glass coffee together. These people could be travelers or local people.
- Local Event
When I traveled alone in Malta, I joined a Social Gathering of Couchsurfing Group of Malta. In this event, I met new people and at the end I traveled around Malta with one of them. Besides Social gathering, you may also find other events who are created by local people.
- Create a Public Trip
You could easily publish your trip on Couchsurfing. By doing this, you could see some traveler who are travelling in the same place and the same date with you. You could chat them and arrange something together.
3. Stay in the hostels
If you want to find a travel buddy to explore the place you are visiting, stay away from hotel and go for hostel. Hostel is center for young solo traveler! If you are staying in the hostel, you could meet fellow traveler who might look for a travel buddy as well. My tips when you are in the hostel are:
- Hang out in the common area
How you will find a friend, if you only lay down on your bed? You should go out from room and hang out in the common areas (lobby, pantry, restaurant)! The chance to meet new people is bigger there then in your dorm room.
- Join hostel activity
Hostel often provides some activities, such as cooking class, eating and watching film together. Through these activities, you will meet people.
4. Brave to start a talk
Instead of waiting people start a conversation with you, be brave and start the talk with people who gave you good signal. It is difficult to break the ice and of course it will be awkward as well! Sometimes we are scared if these people will not response you or even ignore you completely! Just try it and you will know the result. Most of the time, it works. If you think these people are nice and you like them, go ahead and plan the trip with them but if they are annoying and leave them haha.
When I was in Phnom Pehn, I would like to visit a Genocide museum with shared tuktuk but they were fully booked, the receptionist asked me to wait for 3 hours until they get more people. When I was sitting, I saw these 3 people booked a private tuktuk to Genocide museum and my brain was so chaotic thinking “Should I join them? But I am so embarrassed to ask! Better to wait 3 hours or ask them?”. At the end I approached them and asked whether I could join them or not and they said YES! After that museum trip, we also explored some places in Phnom Pehn together. I told you, we just need to be brave.
5. Go on group tour
If you go traveling, you will find a lot of group trips offered by travel agency or your hostel. In some places, you could find a free city trip! These activities will give you an opportunity to find fellow solo traveller.
6. Be Flexible
I know that having travel itinerary is a good thing but, in some point, you must be flexible especially when you meet new people in your trip. During your trip you might meet local people who invite you for drink, and if you really want to make friends, you should join them. This experience will make your trip more interesting than only following your schedule, no?
I hope those tips will help you finding new wonderful friends when you are travelling solo in strange places. But please use your feeling and instinct when you meet new people. When you feel uncomfortable, it is okay to go away, and I am sure you will find a nicer person along the way. I must find ‘a click’ when I decided to go with a stranger, because it means I feel safe with them. Don’t go out very late or get very drunk with people that you just met! Try to be conscious and sober because at the end they are strangers, and you still need to take care of yourself