One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt while travelling, is that it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with that makes a trip most memorable.
Cliche I know, but it’s true.
Some of my favourite trips have been to completely random places, with little or no typical tourist attractions, but they’ve been amazing because of who I’ve gone with or met along the way.
For example, while I was living in Spain I escaped to Murcia for the weekend – a place which many of my Spanish colleagues turned their noses up to. Literally when I told some of them of my weekend plans, they simply asked “Why” as they just couldn’t understand why I’d want to go there.
But because I went there with one of my best friends, we had an incredible time and as a result I now hold Murcia in such high regard.
Of course this doesn’t mean I’m anti-solo travel – quite the opposite really.
I think when you’re travelling solo, you actually tend to meet more people and have more spontaneous experiences in a place as you combine your list of must do’s with other people’s.
So while this might sound contradictory, one of the first things I do when travelling solo, is look for new travel buddies!
There are tonnes of way’s to do this, and if you look online you’ll find heaps of recommendations. And while the options are plentiful, for me not all of them are as easy as others. For example…
a. I’m not a big on sleeping in strangers houses – so couch surfing is out (weird as I’ll hitch a ride with a stranger in a heartbeat)
b. I find meet-up’s are often more targeted to locals rather than travellers – they worked for me in Madrid, but that’s about it
c. The concept of picking someone up in a bar with the intention of just being travel buddies is a bit ridiculous for anyone really.
And even though these ways don’t work that well for me, I still manage to meet lots of people when I’m travelling, using much easier means…
My top 3 ways to meet people when travelling:
Whether it be a free walking tour, food tour or week-long expedition – meeting people on a tour is such an easy way to meet people. I met one of my best friends on a month-long Contiki tour in Europe, and I was welcomed into a brand new friend group in Madrid, after taking a chance on a weekend tour to Carnival in Cadiz. In general, everyone on tour wants to make the most out their experience – including making new friends, so as long as you choose a tour that suits you, you’re likely to meet some great people!
Staying in a hostel is another easy way to meet trade buddies naturally. Different hostels attract different kinds of travellers – there’s budget hostels, party hostels, private room-only hostels, cute & quaint boutique hostels etc. And while the people staying at these hostels might be different, they probably have very similar travel expectations! Don’t be afraid to talk to other travellers at your hostel 🙂
HerePin is a cool new APP, a bit like Instagram just for travellers in your area – you pin geo-tagged pics related to where you are/ what you’re doing/eating etc., so other travellers in the area can see what’s worth doing. You can also message other travellers in the area, and meet up with them to do something in the area together. It’s a new app, but def one to watch!
This post was written for a monthly travel link up. For other lessons learnt while travelling, check out other posts in the link up here.