In an earlier post I talked about why I believe everyone should take at least one solo trip in their lifetime. If you’ve never done it, you may think it means you’ll be constantly alone with no one to talk to. The truth is you’ll hardly be truly alone except for when you carve out that alone time
Think about it, airports, museums, restaurants and shopping malls are high traffic areas. Some of the people you encounter will also be alone and looking for someone to engage. Beyond random encounters, there are several ways to still be social even though you’re travelling on your own terms.
1. Stay in a hostel. Feel free to make it a “luxury” one that’s almost on par with a hotel if you don’t want to rough it. Booking a room in a dorm means you’ll meet people right off the bat but you can also stay in a private room and meet others in the common areas. Many hostels also organise cheap or free tours and other activities to help you to socialise.
2. Book an Airbnb. Forget landing in a new city and not knowing anyone. Many hosts will be at home to welcome you and some may even pick you up at the airport. Some will share meals with you. Just be sure to check the listing to see how much they interact with guests since some hosts live off property. If you book with one who is around often, you have access to a local who knows all the best spots.
3. Take group tours, especially walking tours. There are free/cheap ones in many major cities if you’re on a budget. If you’re a foodie or you have an interest in the supernatural, taking a food or ghost tour will put you in contact with several people who share similar interests. Walking tours tend to attract lots of other solo travellers.
4. Use your usual social networks. Find out if any of your friends or relatives have a contact in the country you’re visiting. Ask around in your Facebook groups. Some kind-hearted person may be willing to take you sightseeing for an entire day or just meet with you for a quick lunch or drink. You won’t know unless you ask.
5. Seek out events related to your community or culture. Is there a gathering of expats from your country? A community fair hosted by people from a global organisation to which you belong? What about a cultural event? Check event listings to see if there’s anything you would be interested in checking out.
Sound off in the comments! Do you travel solo? How do you get social?