If you’re wondering how to meet people abroad when you travel solo, don’t worry, it’s basically inevitable. Even if you’re an introvert like I sometimes am, I guarantee you’ll quickly find yourself in a conversation!
You may be wondering about language barriers, rejection, safety, and what to even talk about. Let me just assure you right now that most people abroad LOVE to talk, especially about their country or travels! It all starts with a simple “Hello”! And usually proceeds with “Where are you from?” Then results in a life-long memory about that time you befriended a local Rapa Nui guy on Easter Island and he showed you all the secret ruin spots on his motorbike.
Anyway…Of course there’s other things to consider; like where to go to meet people abroad, if it’s safe to talk to them, and so on, so I’ll start basic, and get to it all!
I Just Came to Say Hello
“Hello!” A universal word that almost anyone on Earth can recognize. Also a great way to put it out there that you speak English. While typically I also recommend learning to say it in the local language, saying it in English will usually instantly spark the question, “Where are you from?”
Don’t be scared of this question. They’re not asking for you’re home address. Most people are just genuinely curious! Plus it opens up the flood-gates for a conversation since usually everyone has some friend of a cousin who has been to somewhere near where you’re from.
If you’re not asked where you’re from, ask them! People love to talk about where they’re from, and if they don’t, you can ask questions about what it’s like there.
Where the Travelers Hang
If you’re really keen on meeting people, like you don’t want to be solo at all, I’d recommend staying at a hostel like ones you can find at Hostelworld. Hostels are basically meant for travelers to meet each other. I personally don’t do hostels, because I’m an “outgoing introvert” and also an entrepreneur who needs her own space to work, so I usually do hotels and end up talking to the people at the bar.
Which brings me to my next meeting-spot no brainer: bars and cafes! I’m not saying AT ALL to go to a bar or nightclub alone at night. I’m talking like hotel bar, happy hour, maybe a beach bar, etc. It’s safe, and your more likely to find people who want to talk about substantial topics and not just try and take you home.
Travelers also obviously tend to be around the best photo sites (like these best 8 Bali Secret Photo Spots!). This makes it really easy to spot them, and easy to drop the question, “Where are you from?” If you’re not that bold, consider asking what kind of camera they have, or if they saw any good view points.
Striking Up a Convo With Locals
Since you don’t know who you could be talking to at a bar or on the street, I always suggest striking up conversations with locals who are working! Sit at a bar or cafe and ask your server if they have any tips for things to see in their city! It’s a great way to meet people abroad while you’re also doing things on your bucketlist.
Ask what their favorite thing to do is on the weekend, or if there’s any must-try local dishes. Since they’re working, this provides an easy-to-access, yet safe environment for you to be in.
Try Using a Dating App
Yep. You heard me correctly, I’m recommending trying out a dating app to meet people when you travel solo! I’ve done it tons of times, mostly to find people to hang out with or take photos, and I’ve always had good experiences!
You don’t need to be looking for romance or a hook-up, you can simply say on your profile that you’re just looking for friends while you’re in town.
If you’re going to try a dating app when you travel solo though, definitely check out my post on Safety Tips for Using Dating Apps Abroad!
Forget About Being Shy or Embarrassed
You’re not at home, and you’re no where near anyone who knows you. You have absolutely nothing to be shy or embarrassed about when it comes to striking up a conversation. If you’re worried about people thinking it’s weird that you’re alone, just remind yourself it’s bold AF of you to be traveling solo, and also that it’s a popular trend to travel solo right now as well!
Some people also heard the lie that foreigners don’t like American travelers. This is absolutely false if not the exact opposite. You must keep in mind that the majority of Europeans and Australians travel ALL THE TIME, and doing it solo is no big deal at all, so for other travelers or locals to see an American abroad also isn’t that big of a deal. Except for the fact that a lot of countries look at Americans as celebrities sometimes!
Fun fact: I used to be embarrassed of being a U.S. citizen when I traveled. I thought everyone hated Americans; thought we were dumb, loud, fat, and spoiled, hated our president, and shook their head at our mass shooting problem. Five years of traveling later and I proudly say “U.S.!” when someone asks, and flaunt my passport at the airport.
That’s all because the positive reactions I’ve gotten over the years when I say I’m from the U.S. albeit a few laughs about how we talk. If you’re wondering why, just consider the fact that there’s only one Hollywood. And we can all basically do whatever we want – including meeting people abroad!
Always Be Safe and Vigilant!