How to make friends when you travel
Whether you’re travelling solo or with a friend, it’s always nice to meet other travellers on the road.
You can compare travel notes, have instant drinking buddies, and just generally have a bigger crew to experience somewhere new with.
After all, it’s often the people you’re with that make travel experiences so memorable.
While in theory, there are heaps of ways to make new friends when you’re travelling – some of these are much easier on paper than in reality.
For example, staying in hostels and making an effort in common areas sounds relatively easy, but some hostels don’t have common areas, or sometimes the people in the common areas don’t want to socialise or aren’t on the same “travel-friends-buzz” as you… (it happens!)
Plus, this is assuming you stay in a hostel – AirBnB’s and hotels don’t have social areas!
You could also join tours; free walking tours, food tours or day trips, and hope that there are come cool people on these. I love doing activities like this, but they are time-restrictive and not available everywhere.
I know there’s heaps of Facebook Groups for travellers too – I’m part of a few myself. But trying to make travel buddies in these can seem like throwing a needle into a haystack… People write posts like “Hey I’m travelling to [PLACE] on [DATE], anyone keen to join me?” – I mean, come on… what a stab in the dark.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone made an app for this kind of thing?
Ding, ding, ding! Someone has…
Let me introduce you to HerePin – A free social app connecting travellers around the world.
Here’s how it works…
You create a traveller’s profile on the app and as you travel you can check-in to different cities/places you travel. Then you can see other travellers are in the area, message them through the app and potentially meet up.
I like that you message through the app, because then you don’t have to share your whole life (aka. Facebook profile) with people who are essentially strangers. It’s almost like Tinder, but for travel buddies.
You can also post pictures of things you’ve done/seen in a particular destination and share tips on what you’d recommend doing somewhere at that time. For example, you might have found an incredible hole-in-the-wall bar with a dirt-cheap cocktail hour, or it could be an awesome show at a local theatre, or it could just be the café that you swear has the best coffee in town.
These traveller recommendations are listed in chronological order too, helpful so you know that ratings are recent (unlike recommendations in travel guides which are often out-of-date, over-touristy and underwhelming).
I’ve been using HerePin for a wee while now, pretty much as soon as I heard about the concept I downloaded it, even though I wasn’t travelling at the time (I’ve even talked about it before). It was just cool to see who was travelling in my neck of the woods and what they were recommending.
[Side note: if you’re in Auckland right now (Summer 2017) Dr Rudi’s is a bar that’s recently opened in the Viaduct and has an incredible sun terrace – go drink here.]
I also used the app a while back when I took a road trip through the North Island in a campervan. It helped us find some awesome street art in New Plymouth and a secluded camping spot just out of Stratford. And I convinced my boyfriend to download HerePin before his recent trip to Italy too – he was travelling solo, so used HerePin (and Couchsurfing) to meet people on his trip.
HerePin is seriously easy to use and a great concept thought up by four young travel-enthusiasts-turned entrepreneurs.
I think what they’ve done is incredible – creating an app that solves one of lifes wee (first world) problems is an amazing achievement, and I’m so pleased I get to benefit from their hard work!
If you’re keen to benefit from this FREE travel app, download it from your local AppStore 🙂