17 Ways Not to Feel Lonely When Travelling Alone

Like A Local Guide • 11 Nov, 2013

Many people are afraid of travelling alone as they feel that spending so much time in their own company might be emotionally difficult. Seasoned traveller, blogger and Like A Local editor Annes shares 17 tips on how not to feel lonely when travelling alone.

1. Make friends with yourself

A wise man called Maxwell Maltz once said: “If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.” Learn to be your own best friend you won’t feel lonely when travelling or in life in general.

2. Be open to new experiences and meeting new people

If there’s a stranger on the train smiling at you, why not say: “Hello! How are you?” If you see another backpacker, why not ask: “Hey buddy, where are you going?” If you think that asking somebody to put sunscreen on your back at the beach is a stupid idea and sounds like you’re hitting on them, forget your prejudices and just go for it.

3. Stay at hostels

Hostels are the best places for making friends. Although most of the people you meet never become more than just hostel friends, there’s always a chance you’ll find a soulmate with whom you’ll stay friends with forever. Forget about fancy and lonely hotel rooms and open hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com in your browser, read the reviews and find the best social hostel there is. You’re guaranteed to meet lots of interesting people.

pexels-photo

4. Use Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is an online community of members with open hearts and open minds who offer travellers free accommodation in their homes. Oftentimes your host will also show you around the city, have a meal with you or simply just converse with you. So grab the bull by the horns, Couchsurf and hang out with a local in their home.

5. Meet other travellers via Couchsurfing forums

Not only is Couchsurfing good for finding accommodation, it also has Internet forums for each country, city and district where anyone can post. For example, Lisbon’s forum is extremely active – here you can discover regular events covering everything from yoga to techno raves. In each city there’s usually a weekly meetup where you can meet locals and other travellers.

6. Smile

It might sound very hippy and bohemian, but it’s the truth – smile and people will want to communicate with you. On the other hand if you’re sullen and have a negative attitude, people will subconsciously avoid talking to you. As the saying goes: “Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.”

11170_10201440304223844_39512178_nPhoto credit: nomadicsamuel.com

7. Make friends with the locals

It’s always good to have local friends as they can give you firsthand recommendations and warn you about tourist traps. What’s more, if you hang around with locals you’ll get to see their traditions and customs up close. In this case modesty in not a virtue, just chat up a local!

8. Make friends partying

Head to a bar alone and strike up a conversation with someone – there’s nothing weird about this. You might just find another traveller looking for some company. And if it doesn’t work out at least you tried!

9. Join a pub crawl

If going out alone seems a bit too crazy and terrifying, join a pub crawl. Pub crawls usually have a minimum of 3–5 attendees, with a typical group size of 10–15. Group leaders are local party animals who knows the best party places and they’ll take you to 3–6 different bars/pubs/clubs. In Europe, the standard price for pub crawls is €8–20, typically including entrance fees and some drinks. If you have trouble finding a pub crawl to join, simply Google “pub crawl” and the name of the city where you are staying!

10. Take part in tours and excursions

Many cities offer free tours. While no payment is required for these tours, tips are encouraged if you enjoy the experience. Join a free tour or any tour for that matter – it’s guaranteed that you’ll meet people as you’ll be spending time with stranger for hours. It’s highly likely that you’ll find someone to have a lunch or dinner with later.

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Photo credit: Tallinn Traveller Tours

11. Hang out at a hostel (even if you’re not staying there)

Besides dorms and private rooms, many hostels have big hang-out areas and bars. Sometimes access is restricted to guests only, however this isn’t a steadfast rule. For example in Tallinn the Red Emperor Bar & Hostel has an awesome backpacker bar where anyone is welcome.

12. Make contact with friends or friends of friends who live at your destination

You probably have at least 300 friends (surely even more) and each of these friends has their share of at least 300 friends – this makes 90,000 people. At least one of these connections must live at your destination and be willing to spend some time with you!

13. Seek out locals with similar interests

If you’re a chef find out if there’s a local chef club. If you like dancing Google local dance schools. This is a useful tip especially if you’re staying more than 2–3 days at your destination.

14. Find a local meetup

If you’re visiting a bigger city, check out the Meetup website. You might find a cool event nearby where you can meet like-minded people.

restaurant-people-alcohol-bar

15. Take courses/classes

Here’s another recommendation for travellers who intend on staying somewhere for a longer period of time. Take a class or course on anything from Tibetan massage to cooking. You’ll definitely meet new people and maybe even make good friends.

16. Become a volunteer

It’s quite similar to the previous recommendation, although while classes cost money, this option is typically free. Definitely try volunteering if you have the chance – you’ll feel great and it’s likely you’ll also meet great people.

17. Find a travel mate

If you still consider travelling alone to be a nightmare then you should find a travel mate. If you say you’ve tried but haven’t found one, then obviously you haven’t tried hard enough. The easiest way is to start with your Facebook friends – just write to them all and if they’re not interested they might know someone who is. Otherwise head to a travel forum such as Travelbuddy.

Opening photo credit: seikle.me

Like A Local Guide
Like A Local Guide is about stepping off the tourist trail and finding cool and cosy spots where locals like to spend their time. We built a website and mobile app to bring insider recommendations from around the world to your fingertips.

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    U really did a good job guy😻 Such a beautiful handbook for a scared solo traveler
    Sevil lahoz • Oct 16, 2017 • Reply
    Great article...what helped me most was the point about couch surfing 🙂 I had no idea about it..thank u
    Ashish clifford • Jul 04, 2017 • Reply
    Great article! I am 25 and leaving to go travelling on the 22nd August 2016 on my own, its safe to say I am scared but so excited! Thanks for the tips!
    Rae • Jul 30, 2016 • Reply
      Good for you, I'm 35 and heading off in september, flying to LA then touring the US by train to end up in Ottowa which is where I'll meet up with old pals! Like wise I'm nervous but so excited about setting off on my own .... Not quite an Everest exhibition but hey ho it'll be fun!! Good luck.
      Ian • Aug 03, 2016 • Reply
    Oh and I think that your link above for Travel Buddy may have needed to be for Travbuddy instead? Travel Buddy is for flights and hotels I believe :)
    Aradhana • Jul 22, 2016 • Reply
    I found this to be a very useful article thank you. In response to the many lonely travellers that I have met along the road, I have started a facebook community site for people that are looking for that community of people to hang out. For the nomads and the location independent people, and to connect. It is not big, and more of an organic community of sorts. Feel free to check it out at www.facebook.com/solitarysociety
    Aradhana • Jul 22, 2016 • Reply
    24
    admin • Mar 13, 2016 • Reply
    A big thank you !
    ILlBeAnonymous • Feb 09, 2016 • Reply
    Very nice post! I can totally connect with it. Many people are afraid (including myself, before I did it) think that traveling alone can be lonely? But from my experience I have found out the opposite. Traveling alone can be an antidote to loneliness. Sharing my story with you here: http://www.obaidurrahaman.com/travel-alone-overcome-loneliness-plan-flexible/ Please feel free to make any comments and share it with your friends.
    Obaidur Rahaman • Feb 02, 2016 • Reply
    Hey mazen, i am okay with ur proposal ...
    Manu • Dec 26, 2015 • Reply
    I m looking some travel buddy for travels
    Amit • Dec 22, 2015 • Reply
    Great article! I have had great experiences with both hostels, volunteering and Couchsurfing. All great ways to meet new people - especially if you're staying at the same hostel for an extended period, and if you are - why not ask for a bit of work, which will give you colleagues too.
    Brian • Dec 14, 2015 • Reply
    If any one who cooks delicious food is coming to goa(india) then i am ready to offer my home at minimum price ,we can enjoy delicious foods and hangout together :)
    Mazen • Nov 21, 2015 • Reply
    Dear Sayak! If you had read the article more carefully, you would have noticed that it is written by a single guy in his 20s and all the recommendations come from his personal experience. I simply translated the article into English. Also it is very rude to assume that I am a bitch, especially if your assumption is solely based on my looks. Maybe if you weren't as rude, you would find it easier to make friends when travelling.
    Kris Härsing • Oct 23, 2015 • Reply
    Thanks for these wonderful ideas. At least I can start by trying anyone of 'em. I'll surely talk about my experience in being friend with myself.
    Anurag • Oct 12, 2015 • Reply
    Hallo. Can you avice me a restaurant of mexican food in Moscow? I was in Dionis http://dioniscafe.ru/ , tasty, not expensive. But I'd like to see more varied menu!
    Helga • Sep 21, 2015 • Reply
    IMHO, it's easier for an attractive girl like you to make friends while travelling abroad because you are constantly surrounded by interesting men who want to make conversation with you. Same goes for stuff like couchsurfing, car shares and whatever. Whatever applies to the "goose", does not apply to the "gander". For single men in their 20s or 30s, it's a lot harder not to feel lonely when travelling. I did two months backpacking in and around Europe recently, while I did meet tons of interesting people all the time and made some really amazing friends on many occasions, I also had to contend with days and nights when I felt completely alone, not a single soul to talk to. Not all hostels are "social" as you put it, it's really a matter of luck. Some hostels may enjoy excellent reviews online but when you get down there, you find yourself surrounded by the most boring, unfriendly and possibly hostile people who don't speak English. My advice to single men traveling alone: do your own thing and not carry huge expectations. Open yourself to adventure, do something different like cutting yourself loose and heading down to some kinda small village or mountainside, something off the regular tourist trail and you'll always make friends. When you're in hostels, make sure you ignore bitches that resemble Kris Härsing, for all their supposed talk of friendliness, you'll find that they're always on some kind of bitch ego trip and will decline to make friends with you. They seriously think all men are only trying to hit on them which isn't actually true.
    Sayak • Sep 13, 2015 • Reply
      Well, really - no, it is not easier as a woman. On the occasions when I traveled by myself, without my boyfriend, I quickly got tired of men on the street approaching me asking for a date or sex, sometimes not taking a "no" for an answer and following me around - to the point I begun to be really uncomfortable of men beginning to talk to me me at all, because it was ALWAYS this, with one exception of a kind soul that just tried to give me directions when I appeared to be lost (and I'm ashamed I was already paranoid from all the previous unwanted attention that at first I was afraid to talk to him too.) On my last trip I even didn't dare to look at map while walking on the street because then I was be quickly singled out as a tourist, and for a lot of people obviously woman travelling solo means only one thing. If you want to just do some sightseeing in peace, this can get really tiring, and worse, if you genuinely would just like to make some friends, or just talk to someone, you end up being lonely too. I believe being man and woman has both its downsides while travelling, but if you think that for women it's just sunshine and rainbows, I wonder how would you feel, being scared of someone following you around with this kind of unwanted attention.
      DH • Oct 07, 2016 • Reply
    Hi, I will be in Barcelona for a few days in December and would love some more info on the rooms you have
    Desiree • Aug 19, 2015 • Reply
    Hi, I am living in a hostel for a week but I can't able to make any friends or any acquaintances from my past poor hostel atmosphere. I feel very lonely. What to do ??
    Vishakha • Aug 05, 2015 • Reply
    Hello, I am planning to go to Moscow alone during 2nd week of September. I want a local friend who can help me to make my stay with homely atmosphere.
    ranajit • Jul 27, 2015 • Reply
    I feel sad for the people that say: I have been in Cuba or Canarias... What? you have been closed in a resort for a week. That was it! The same feeling I have when people start5 to colect info about Barcelona It seems the tourists think Barcelona has there are only 4 districts (Raval ,Eixample Barceloneta y Gracia) and you all do the same like lambs! You back to your country without seeing or knowing anything about this beautiful city. Have you ever wondered why the locals do not live or go to places you reccomend or talk about? Do not you think there must be a reason? Because you see the fake Barcelona ! Overcharged and full of pickpockets because you go to the wrong places, vomits in the corners,guetos in the city center,frozen cheap paella(not a lical dish,I remind you it is valencian) and sangría(something we never drink as it is the best way to sell to an idiot a cheep wine),Nigerian prostitutes maybe?? Why do not you Google the comments about that áreas to confirm Ramblas is the most degraded part of the city? plus the dirtiest and dangerous.... Do you come to see the indian/pakistaní/maghrebian community or the spanish ? So why do you wanna live there? Why do you ask tips for foreners that do not know anything else about that 4 áreas and the same all english speakers do?? Why you do not contact or follow the reccommendations of the locals? What about the house shared? give it a try! It is the best way to really know a country and its people and the lest expensive way of experiencing the marvelous city of Barcelona! I offer 2 single rooms in my apartment in Barcelona for woman only (18+). (I can only host a maximum of 2 easy going people) My apartment is in the quite,safe and typical Catalonian área of Sants/Les Corts. With metro services only 5 min walking distance you can access all the tourist locations(beach & city center 10 min ride), cultural and shopping áreas. PLEASE NOTE: You MUST contact me providing your email address and introduce yourself to make a booking or get more information and pictures ( with age,where are you from,date interested, etc...) I speak english,spanish french and italian well and enjoy helping my guests get the best from their stay. Sorry, but animals and children cannot be accommodated. It is time to know Barcelona from the inside! English,français,español e italiano spoken. I was travelling around the world for one and a half year alone...I know what I talk about!
    Cv • Jul 05, 2015 • Reply
    Hey... I'm planning on travelling to ladakh in first week of July and looking at making friends who are planning on travelling at the same time. I'm from mumbai and like to live like a local.. my friend suggested I should write about myself to explore and get to know more about people and places.
    Vishal Mehra • Jun 14, 2015 • Reply
    Great roundup Kris. I would like to add a third option to item 17 beyond facebook and travel forums: https://www.tripolette.com/ I started Tripolette so travelers with matching travel style and itinerary can connect and plan the trip together and it's been very well received so far by travelers. It's a great way to find travel companions before setting out on the journey. Would love to hear your thoughts about it! Happy travels :) @babakkademi
    Babak • Jun 07, 2015 • Reply
    Great article
    Kalev Külaase • Jun 03, 2015 • Reply
    […] 17 Ways Not to Feel Lonely When Travelling Alone | Travel Tips … – Nov 11, 2013 … Many people are afraid of travelling alone as they feel that spending so …. Tagged: couchsurfing, locals' meetup, loneliness when traveling, … […]
    Is It Traveling Or Travelling | amazingnaturetours.com • May 06, 2015 • Reply
    Thanks for this great list of tips! I´d like to ad www.globologo.com to your list. Its a great site for people who love to connect with others ( travellers and locals) while being on a trip. I mostly use it for inspiration und direct questions to locals, but there are many other possibilities too. I´d recommend it highly.
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    WOW!! Amazing article.. Nice job LIKEALOCALGUIDE!!!
    Geetpal • Aug 26, 2014 • Reply
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