5 Ways to Meet People While Traveling

Hello again! As a follow up to Sunday’s post (The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Alone), I figured I would give a little advice to solo travelers on how to meet people! As much as I enjoyed being alone on my trip, I’m also very social and was always itching to meet other travelers. Here are the top five ways I did so…enjoy!

5. Music Festivals

When I saw the lineup for Open’er Festival in Gydnia, I bought a ticket. I had no plans, no friends to attend the festival with, and I didn’t know a word of Polish. (Luckily, I was able to connect friends on Couchsurfing and Reddit. You can find the whole story here.) The four of us made a bunch of friends at the festival…just from, you know, being there. At a music festival, it’s totally acceptable to sit down with a group of people and start chatting with them, or run up to a group of people in a Morphsuit and start chugging a beer. We met friends from all over the world just by including everyone around us into our conversations and being friendly!

If You’re Shy: Ask a group of nearby festivalgoers to help you choose between two acts playing at the same time. Starting a debate on seeing Drake vs. Father John Misty, one of the biggest conflicts of Open’er, makes for awesome conversation.

Mackenzie, Erin, and I with one of the more…interesting friends we met at Open’er. Photo stolen from the lovely Sam Wilson.

4. Volunteering/Working

Not only are programs like Workaway and WWOOF (check out more on what WWOOF is here) great for saving money while traveling, but they’re also great for meeting other travelers and people around the world! For two weeks in August, I volunteered at Angloville, a week-long program that helped Polish teenagers improve their English skills by introducing them to native English speakers. Basically, my job was to speak English. I was able to meet 20 other native English speakers on backpacking adventures and talk to a bunch of Polish teenagers about living in Poland (and what they thought about Americans). The native English speakers included backpackers from Canada, England, Australia, Ukraine, the Netherlands…I still talk to a few of them on a regular basis and I currently am living through their travels!

If You’re Shy: Find programs, like Angloville, that focus on speaking or learning your native language. It takes a lot of pressure off you when you can, you know, communicate with people.

Native Speakers from Angloville Week 1! (Well…my week 1) Stole this gem from Nathan…I look ridiculous 🙂

3. Tinder

I’ll say it. I’ll say it. Tinder’s great. The online dating app was designed in 2012 and has ever since gained a notorious reputation as young people use it to find hookups. So I know what you’re thinking, but hold your judgement for a minute. During my travels, I’ve used Tinder to talk to young people who were local to the area. Since someone’s always active on Tinder, advice on what to do in a city or a friend to grab a drink with were always at hand. On my profile, I always wrote I was traveling, I was looking for friends to grab food with or who had good recommendations for bars, museums, and things to do around the city. Use caution and remember that you might have to explain that you’re using it for platonic reasons (or not, I don’t judge), but I definitely recommend downloading Tinder before your next backpacking trip.

If You’re Shy: I’d especially recommend Tinder. That way you don’t have to awkwardly approach a group of people and find the perfect way to slide into their conversation.

2. Couchsurfing

 What’s Couchsurfing, you ask? Well thank goodness I wrote a whole blog post on it! Basically, Couchsurfing is a website and an app that helps you meet locals on your travels. You can stay with them for a night or a few, hang out at a meetup, or just grab advice. There’s tons of opportunities to meet people!

If You’re Shy: Start with a meetup. It takes off the pressure of residing in someone’s house, and usually Couchsurfing meetups are pretty easy to spot. Just asking, “Is this the Couchsurfing meetup?” is an easy way to get talking!

Read more about Couchsurfing and why it's so great on this blog post!!
Read more about Couchsurfing and why it’s so great on this blog post!!

1. Hostels

Hostels are easily the easiest places to meet people while traveling. As soon as you walk into your room,  you could be greeted by a number of people from around the world. Most young adults staying in hostels are on backpacking trips or vacations, so everyone has a cool story to tell. My best piece of advice is to find a hostel that’s close to the city center, with a bar. Even if the people in your room aren’t around, you can hop down to the bar, grab a drink, and talk to people. Most also host pub crawls or walking tours as well!

If You’re Shy: “Where are you from?” is an easy enough question to ask. Again, most hostel dwellers have tons of traveling stories they want to tell and they’ll want to hear yours as well!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s post! Let me know the best ways you’ve met people abroad in the comments! See you next week!

Week 5 and 6: Dublin, and UK Part 2! 

Hey friends! Couldn’t find the time to pop out a blog post after Somersault last week (aka I was passed out on a train through England), so here’s some of the highlights from the past two weeks!
Bristol: Bristol was awesome. Met some great couchsurfers and girls from Brighton, Banksy-hunted, drank cider in parks, and explored a city that made me so excited to move to Austin. Some neighborhoods are very similar to Austin; tons of street art, a focus on local business, and plenty of vegan restaurants. Thanks again to Anthony for finding me an awesome hostel and letting me stash my stuff at your job.


  
Somersault Festival: One festival this summer just wasn’t enough. Somersault took place in Devon, in the super south west of England. I stayed with Josh, who lived on the estate where Somersault was being held. Josh was an awesome host and festival companion, and staying inside during the downpours of the weekend was quite the convenience.

Somersault’s lineup was similar to an XPoNential Festival lineup (if you went, I’m jealous and hope that you enjoyed George Ezra and St Vincent and Pine Barons and Lord Huron and….) it included world music, local artists, and more alternative headliners. Bombay Bicycle Club’s set was probably the best one I’ve seen all summer, but I have to sit on that for a bit before I officially give them the prize. Big shout out to Jeremy Loops for being the reason I found out about the festival, and for being another one of the best sets I’ve seen a summer.


  
Back to Liverpool: Michael was my host in Liverpool and since we got along so well, I invited him to accompany me in Dublin. I stayed 2 nights at his before our early flight, enjoyed an It’s Always Sunny marathon and sharing my obsession for making spaghetti bread. His parents are saints as well, and I was really glad to see them again.

Dublin: You know it’s a good trip when you have a Guinness in your hand by 10 A.M. Michael and I did the tours of the Guinness storehouse and Jameson Distillery, went to the National Library, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Museum of Archaeology, wandered, and bar hopped. During our second night in Dublin we attended a huge Couchsurfing/English speaking meetup on the oldest street in Dublin (where Handel’s Messiah was first performed!!!). We met people from all over the world, and I was able to meet up with Savannah and Erich, who are from America. Savannah and Erich are Deaf and I was more than excited to practice signing with them. I could communicate pretty well and we had an awesome time, definitely one of my favorite nights out on my trip so far!


  
Cliffs of Moehr: I had one day to explore on my own, so I decided to do a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moehr. My bus stopped by Limerick, Kinvarra, and The Burren as well, but the Cliffs were definitely the highlight. Ocean water and beautiful views make for a perfect, calm day. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to!


I’m about halfway through my trip. I’ve walked though cities, jaw hanging in awe over their beauty. I’ve fallen asleep standing up. I danced, I made mistakes, I changed my plans, I still have decisions to make. I’ve been super homesick and ready to cancel my trip back to the U.S. I have about six weeks to go! Ready to learn from the experiences I have and make even more memories on this second leg of my trip!