Ways to meet people while traveling

Besides the work place there are many ways to meet people to date if you are single.

Jet-setting solo does not mean you have to fend for yourself in a foreign country all alone. The days are long over where you’ll have to grit your teeth through cheap booze and find the clubbing district of wherever you’re headed in order to bump shoulders with other humans.

That said, we understand if you might be slightly freaking out as you pack your bags. It can suck to think about whether you’ll have to go on exciting excursions alone, or if the only people you’ll ever share your Parisian café latte with are your Instagram followers. (Unless you’re into that, in which case, work those lighting angles!)

The best apps for people who travel alone

Sure, it can be downright liberating for some people to choose their own path when abroad. Like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book of experiencing different cultures, you get to go at your own pace, surround yourself in environments that suit you, and not have to split the check.

But loneliness can definitely hit you like a bullet train if you’re going at it alone in an unfamiliar place. The good news is that if you have a phone, putting yourself out there in the world has never been easier. Apps and websites can be excellent ways to make new friends abroad, online and off.

So put the social back in social media. Globe-trotters packing a bag for one are on the rise(opens in a new tab), which means there are plenty of opportunities to connect with others on the experience of a lifetime. Here are our best tips for meeting some awesome explorers on your latest journey.

Dating apps

Trust us, you can totally shoot your friend shot on dating apps to score a new travel pal. While it might be an unconventional choice, you can finesse it — the key is choosing the right platform, and explicitly stating boundaries. Be upfront on your profile about the fact that you’re just a visitor, and that you’re only looking for a buddy (after all, people are horny worldwide). Bumble BFF is a great place to find platonic companions in your area of choice, and even though Tinder can be a garbage fire most of the time, Tinder Passport(opens in a new tab) allows you to swipe through profiles anywhere on Earth.

1. Match.com

Match.com is an online dating platform that was launched in 1995. It is one of the oldest and most well-known dating sites, and it operates in various countries around the world. Match.com allows individuals to create a profile, browse through other users’ profiles, and connect with potential romantic partners.

As for whether Match.com is good for dating, it depends on personal preferences and experiences. Like any dating platform, Match.com has its pros and cons. Here are some factors to consider:

Pros:

  1. Large user base: Match.com has a significant user base, which increases the chances of finding potential matches.
  2. Diverse profiles: The platform caters to a wide range of interests, preferences, and relationship goals.
  3. Detailed profiles: Users have the option to create detailed profiles, providing more information about themselves, which can help in finding compatible matches.
  4. Communication features: Match.com offers various communication tools, such as messaging and chat, allowing users to interact with others and get to know them before meeting in person.
  5. Paid membership benefits: While basic features are free, Match.com offers additional benefits to paid subscribers, such as advanced search filters and priority messaging.

Cons:

  1. Cost: Match.com requires a subscription fee for certain features, and the cost can be relatively high compared to other dating platforms.
  2. Competition: Due to its popularity, there can be a lot of competition on the site, making it more challenging to stand out.
  3. Limited free features: While basic browsing and profile creation are free, some features require a paid membership.
  4. User commitment: Some users may not be genuinely interested in long-term relationships or dating, leading to potentially mixed intentions.
  5. Success rates vary: While some people have found successful relationships through Match.com, others may have had less favorable experiences. Success on the platform depends on various factors, including individual effort and compatibility.

2. Meetup.com

The fact that Meetup.com(opens in a new tab)‘s tagline was previously “the real world is calling” says it all. Get your butt out of the hostel! Ease yourself into meeting new people with a larger group activity. The massive platform works well at connecting people with common interests in a local community. Find a group that’s meeting in the area you’re staying, and pick your goal. Want to practice your Español at a local park picnic? Or is hiking and white-water rafting more your speed? There’s a wide variety to choose from, and Meetup is especially good for LGBTQ solo travelers looking for queer-friendly group activities.

3. Facebook groups

If you only go on Facebook to get your daily dose of surreal meme groups, we completely understand. But there are still many, many active solo travel FB groups out there that can be totally useful. Especially for DFAB (designated female at birth) solo trekkers, it’s nice to connect with others on established groups like Girls Love Travel(opens in a new tab) and Solo Female Travel Network(opens in a new tab) (but there are definitely more general groups like Solo Travel Society(opens in a new tab).) Many of these networks host meetup tours(opens in a new tab), but don’t be afraid to message individual group members if you’re looking for a travel partner. Although, you may have to re-download the Facebook app, since it might’ve been a while for you people.

4. Travello

One of the first social media apps actually focused on meeting up with fellow solo travelers! You can do a lot with this app(opens in a new tab) — discover other travelers nearby, join groups that match your interests, and match travel plans with people who’ll arrive at a destination the same time as you. Bonus points, it’s totally free! You can also tailor your results to find other people based on nationality, age, gender, etc, if you’re looking to vibe with a specific group. There’s also a social feed feature where you can post trip updates and photos, but let’s get real, leave it for Instagram where the real clicks are.

5. Couchsurfing and Airbnb

You don’t have to use a room-booking app just to crash on some stranger’s couch anymore. Apps like Couchsurfing and Airbnb are branching out their offerings to allow you to actually, ya know, meet people in the area you’re staying in. On Couchsurfing you can create a profile and tell others who’ve checked in around you that you’re down to hang. If you don’t mind the confines of a paid official tour, Airbnb’s “Experiences”(opens in a new tab) are still great to meet people (you never know if you might lock eyes with your new best friend while baking scones in a French cooking class.)

6. Nights out

Meeting someone to date on nights out can be a fun and spontaneous way to connect with new people. Here are some tips to increase your chances of meeting someone while you’re out:

  1. Choose the right venue: Opt for social environments where people are open to meeting new people, such as bars, clubs, or social events. Look for venues that align with your interests and where you feel comfortable.
  2. Approach with confidence: Confidence can be attractive, so try to approach others with a positive and self-assured demeanor. Smile, make eye contact, and engage in friendly conversation.
  3. Be approachable: Make yourself approachable by being open and friendly. Avoid appearing closed off or preoccupied with your phone or a large group of friends. Show genuine interest in others and actively listen to what they have to say.
  4. Start with small talk: Begin conversations with casual topics like the music, the atmosphere, or any other observation related to the venue. Small talk can help break the ice and create a comfortable atmosphere for further conversation.
  5. Find common interests: Once you’ve initiated a conversation, try to find common interests or topics you both enjoy. This can help establish a connection and keep the conversation flowing.
  6. Be respectful and mindful of boundaries: It’s essential to respect personal boundaries and consent. If someone seems uninterested or declines your advances, gracefully accept their response and move on.
  7. Use body language: Non-verbal cues can play a significant role in communication. Maintain good posture, use open body language, and show genuine interest through active listening, nodding, and appropriate gestures.
  8. Exchange contact information: If you feel a connection with someone, don’t hesitate to exchange contact information. You can suggest exchanging phone numbers, social media handles, or even planning a future meet-up.
  9. Stay safe: While meeting new people can be exciting, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety. Stay aware of your surroundings, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, and let a friend know about your whereabouts. Trust your instincts and remove yourself from any situation that feels uncomfortable or unsafe.

7. Instagram

Instagram’s already halfway a dating app anyway, why not use it to find a friendly partner to take to the salsa club or show you the best Irish pub in the area? Don’t underestimate the power of a polite DM or two to local bloggers (or even influencers) from the place you’re visiting. People’s profiles are (usually) much more of a genuine reflection of their interests and personalities than dating apps, and the pressure to escalate an interaction into romance is way lower. If you feel uncomfortable jumping straight into contacting people, a good hack is posting a pic and tagging it with location and travel tags (get as annoyingly extra with the tags as you want). You’ll never know who will like your photo! If you check out their profile and they seem like a friendly local, reach out. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Once you want to take it offline, there are some safety tips you should remember before you break out the paddle boats and off-the-beaten-path pad Thai with your new bestie.

  • Meet in a public space, and trust your gut. Trust your Spidey sense  when chatting up anyone online. Don’t ignore bad vibes if you’re getting them, and remember that it’s always better to meet up somewhere well-lit, local, and full of people (like a cafe or museum). Going way, way off the beaten path can be great, but be aware of people who immediately want to meet somewhere like the outskirts of a city, or where transportation, cell service, etc, are minimal.
  • Share your location (but also be careful sharing your location). Sounds like a Catch-22, right? But there’s a big difference — once you’ve agreed to go hit the trail with some Swedish backpackers or go grab a mojito with a Cuban local, share your location with a trusted friend or family member just in case. Location sharing that could get you in hot water would be checking in everywhere you go, or sharing what hostel or room you’re staying in with people you’ve just met. Again, Peter tingle it.
  • Consider video chatting before you meet up. The show Catfish exists for a reason. If you’re unsure about potentially hitting someone up IRL suggest you swap specific photos (the ol’ “how many fingers am I holding up?” trick) or video chat first. If the person on the other end vehemently objects, it’s red flag city.
  • Be aware of travel scams. Preying on unsuspecting travelers, no matter the gender, is a reality of many tourist hot-spots. Spend a few minutes before your departure researching local travel scams in the area you’ll be visiting. You won’t always be able to completely avoid being clocked as a foreigner, but knowing how to spot and avoid typical scams(opens in a new tab) when you meet up with people gives you a lot of power.

But most importantly, have fun, and keep an open mind. It’s true that friendship can happen unexpectedly, anywhere, but you have the power to put yourself out there during a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After all, even if you’re traveling solo, you’re never really alone.

 

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Stevie Flavio
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