How to Meet People While Traveling Solo

So you decided to go on a trip alone. How do you actually meet people? 

Well, there are two different ways I met people while I was traveling through Europe. Drumroll please…

How to meet people while traveling solo method #1: In real life

On the train (shoutout to Daniel in Madrid). In line at the museum (shoutout to Paul in Florence). At dinner, sitting at the table next to me (shoutout to Sam in Rome).

Ok, so you might ask, how do you break the ice? My #1 pickup line, so to speak: “Where are you from?”

So how did you graduate from having a mere conversation to hanging out?

In most of these cases, I offered something of value…. A travel tip! I told Daniel about the free night at Museo del Prado, and he waited in line with me. While we were complaining about the 100 degree temps in Rome, I told Sam about the amazing lake I was planning to day-trip to, and we went the next day. Paul and I were dying of thirst after touring the Galleria dell’Accademia, so I suggested prosecco, the Italian sparking wine of choice.

Don’t forget: when you share your travel tip, ask, “Wanna go?”

And guess what — this method is very versatile. It can be used in your everyday life! Just replace “in line at the museum” with “in line at the grocery store” (remember to pull your head out of your phone)!

How to meet people while traveling solo method #2: Online

This one can be a bit trickier. Why? Perception. (For instance, I wasn’t going to use Tinder. Sorry Tinder! I’ve got nothing against Tinder, and any of those other dating apps. I just didn’t want someone to get the wrong idea.)

So… let me tell you about the app that worked out incredibly well for me — Couchsurfing!

(Some of you are probably already familiar with Couchsurfing. The premise is, people around the world open up their shared spaces — at no cost — because they enjoy hosting. Of course, you should pay it forward if you get the opportunity.)

I know you guys want to hear more about how I dabbled in Couchsurfing (the sleeping aspect). I’ll get more into that here. The feature I want to focus on today is called “Hangouts.”

When I got to a new city and I wanted to be sociable, I could turn on “Hangouts” and see other members who had opted into Hangouts. Their profile reveals current location, age, country of origin, languages spoken, and how they described themselves. If someone caught my eye, or I caught theirs, then we could connect and arrange an (in-person) hangout! Shoutout to Hazel in Nice, France — great Aperol Spritzes! — and Aernout in Prague — nice views and great conversation was had at the Petřín Lookout Tower.

Why Hangouts over Tinder, you ask? You can 1) screen, it’s 2) platonic, and 3) it connects you with people in the same traveling mindset as you.

Have you used Couchsurfing’s Hangouts or do you have another app of choice? Share your recommendations with me!

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