Make Friends While Traveling

How To Make Friends With Strangers While Traveling?

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It can be scary, intimidating, or even lonely to be exploring a new region by yourself. Having fellow wanderers as your companions during your travels enriches your experience; you feel a lot safer; also, you have the advantage of sharing the weight on gear items like cooking stoves or tents.

From meeting new people at hostels to striking up conversations with locals, this blog will show you how to shake off anxiety, confidently meet people, and get yourself a reliable traveling companion.

Make Friends While Traveling

1. Be approachable

Say hi! Smile. Your body language and how you present yourself as a traveler make you a more approachable person. Most adventurers are outgoing, fun, open, and have similar interests as you. Be friendly and nice. 

Pro tip: Minimize the use of electronics while traveling. You will have an easier time spotting other travelers.

2. Ask your friends & family

Your friend’s friend might be an outdoorsy person that you didn’t know of. We have been introduced to many like-minded friends by mere word of mouth. So, do not hesitate to ask the reliable people you know.

3. Social media

The world is a small place these days. With the advent of the internet and social media, there’s never been a better time to travel. Leverage your Instagram and Facebook groups. Search your destination country, find related travel groups and join them. People have built long-lasting friendships through social media. You can try too!

4. Learn the language

Learning the fundamentals of any language would help you in several ways. The best way to connect with locals is by knowing their mother tongue. Meaningful and deep conversations happen when you know the language. We can state from personal experience that some locals care deeply, even after several days, we still get calls to check how we are doing and invite us to their place.

5. Travel & dating apps

Several travel & dating applications make for great places to connect and make friends. We haven’t used them personally but we can attest that many travelers have made friends through these platforms. While using these apps, keep your profile description and your intention very clear that you are looking for friends who can accompany you on your travels. 

Applications like showaround, solotraveller, flipthetrip, partywith, tourlina (female only app), tripgiraffe, travello, and dating apps like Tinder & bumble (which has a special BFF mode), are great examples of applications that people use to connect.

Among these, we have used meetup and it is good.

Obviously, this is a potential stranger that you are meeting. So before deciding on travel plans, ensure that they are actually reliable. If you decide to meet someone, choose a public & crowded place.

6. Hospitality exchanges

Hospitality Exchanges are one of the best ways to connect with the people of the region. With volunteering programs like WWOOFs, you also get to experience the countryside. You will have to work for approximately 5 hrs during the day in exchange for accommodation and food.

Couchsurfing is the most popular hospitality exchange spread across the world. “Airbnb experiences” are one-of-a-kind activities hosted by local experts. Take part in them to understand local traditions, cultures, and much more. You might meet your travel buddy there!

House sitting is basically taking care of their pets or the property, in exchange for the stay while the owner is on holiday. You get the comforts of your home and get to interact with neighbors. While house-sitting is more popular in Western countries, India is yet to catch up.

We understand you might have valid safety concerns, but people who are willing to open their homes to strangers tend to be very open-minded, friendly, and former travelers themselves. They want to help show you their city in the best light possible.

7. Stay in hostels

Staying in shared accommodations like hostels is an ideal way to meet travelers. Hostels have evolved over the years with trends and amenities combined with warm hospitality.

While playing games, dining, having coffee, and hanging out in the common area to read or journal, you get more chances to talk to someone. Alternatively, you can put your skills to work. Do you play music? or dance? or draw? or sing?  – in most hostels, there will be at least one person busking and attracting a crowd. Use such experiences as ice-breakers and get to know each other and discuss their plans. You can join them if they agree, provided your plans are flexible.

Few famous hostel chains include hostelworld, hostelz,, and hostelbookers.

8. Chat with people during transit

Initiate a conversation with the person next to you. Doesn’t matter if you are traveling in buses, ferries, trains, or planes. Just ask, hey, going to “your destination place”? Build your conversation from there. Also, avoid asking creepy questions or anything sensitive. This might sour your trip and theirs too.

9. Group tours

Making friends with locals and groups

We have found amazing travel buddies by opting for group tours. Join a group trip where you have an opportunity to meet similar backpackers. These people travel often. Group tours don’t necessarily have to stop with one trip; you can exchange future travel plans, meet each other again, and continue being great friends.

10. Famous eateries/ hangout spots

Ditch tourist trap restaurants and figure out where locals go. Talk to taxi drivers, shop owners, and your hostel receptionist/ host. They have encyclopedic information that might help you discover the hidden gems located in the area.

Good food attracts people. The street food stalls are always found to be busy. While eating street food, chat with them.

Bars & pubs are also good hangout spots to meet new folks. Be sensible and it is always good to have company while going to these places.

11. Walking tours

The great advantage of taking a walking tour is you have a considerable amount of time to converse. Utilize this luxury of time to meet and communicate with strangers. Get ideas and tips from fellow globetrotters. If you look back, most of your new friends would have come from these kinds of experiences.

FreeTours offers free walking tours in different countries along with a guide.

12. Attend local events

Cultural tours, activities, and excursions are organized by native residents. Traditional events, festivals, and marriages are where people gather around and are opportune places for you to speak with the community. Most locals tend to gracefully invite strangers to take part in their customs. Make an appearance and get a taste of their lifestyle.

13. Learn new skills

Learning a new skill to make friends
We are learning inline skating and have made friends

Take a class or go to a workshop for the skill you always wanted to learn – Juggling, yoga, surfing, language, or pottery to name a few. Ask for recommendations from your colleagues. You will get to know new information that you weren’t aware of earlier.

14. Offer to take pictures

If you see a group of folks taking a selfie, approach them and offer to take a picture of them. Once done, ask, “Where are you guys from?” It really is that easy & works most of the time. This is one of the most comfortable ways to kick-start a convo.

15. Travel slow

Traveling slowly is staying in one place for a long time, at least for more than a month. Good friendships happen when you stay longer. However, this requires you to be flexible with your plans.

16. Give a unique present

Printing a picture with a portable printer and sharing it with strangers instantly grasps attention. Write your contact details or social media account details at the back of the picture. You can also give creative presents with special travel quotations.

17. Initiate a conversation 

Even if you are surrounded by people, unless you talk or initiate a conversation, it will be challenging for you to make friends. Ask questions, give compliments, offer or ask for help, invite someone for an activity, or tag along with them – say yes often. Be curious and find some common interests where you can initiate a convo. Topics like football and dogs are often welcome.

Now that you have friends, what to do before the trip?

  • Discuss several topics – their travel experience, hiking adventures, allergic things, or anything that you need to know before planning
  • Go for a short day hike/ trip. 
  • Take the popular route where people can be found.
  • Inform someone about your whereabouts to your friends and family and keep them updated.

Whether you are traveling with your buddy, a group, or on your own, you can’t always rely on the people you know back home. Being an introvert is comfortable and the mirage of being a lone traveler is more often not very appealing. So try and shake away the cobwebs of old habits, and take it slow. Express your interests to new people and eventually, people will respond back and this will give way to the most amazing traveling experiences and life-long companions. 

With the above ways, you can be confident enough to meet people and explore any new city. For more travel tips & tricks, subscribe to our newsletter and get updates straight to your inbox. 

Happy friending!

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