Solo travel can be enlightening, invigorating, and terribly lonely. Interestingly, solo travel has good number of upsides -- less advance planning, a loose schedule, more spontaneous decision making and many say, a flourished sense of what is going on around the world, which is one of the main reasons to travel in the first place.
Why not just “say hi” to new people that you meet? Here is why: because introducing yourself to a total stranger in a café or others place can feel creepy, anxiety-provoking and awkward — especially when you don’t have a friend backing you up.
If you are like me, you crave context before goading up a conversation as a solo traveler. You want to know something about the person, have a common subject to talk and, ideally, have already corresponded before meeting. With such a context established, people choice us feel more confident, relaxed and prepared in our socializing. But while you travel solo, you must have great sense for yourself, usually it is not so favorable for your money, mainly because you have to foot the full tab for your everything. Traveling solo can be beneficial for extroverts and introverts.
There are many ways to discover to meet new people while you traveling solo, whether internationally or in your own nation.
Couchsurfing is an amazing forum for member-created parties, meet-ups and other events (use the “Find Events” tool). In my experience, these gatherings are hit-or-miss. I once attended a meet-up in the Amsterdam with about 40 incredibly friendly travelers from all over Europe and America; another meet-up in Madrid was less friendly. Couchsurfing is not limited to hosting; the most powerful way I have found to tap the network is to directly message other Couchsurfing members in your area. Use the “Find Hosts” tool and making sure to check the “Wants to Meet Up” box.
Salsa, blues, and Argentine tango: the world of partner dancing is robust, including of beginners, and a shockingly easy way to meet new people in almost any large city. Social dances, festivals/intensives/boot camps and group classes are all typically accessible to the beginning dancer. All dance styles might not be available in any given city; be willing to fit yourself in whatever the local favorite may be (like tango in Buenos Aires) to meet the most people.
Facebook is the most dominant social network in the world, and that makes it incredibly useful for finding people abroad to meet. Start your searching to find people in your given destination and get connected with him/her. Finally, write a simple Facebook post with your travel plans and dates. You might be surprised by the incredible people to which you are connected.
Group language classes are great place for meeting fellow travelers, but more crucially, they are enable you to better communicate with the locals. Either you can pay for an official class or look for free language exchange meet-ups.
Conferences / Gatherings / Festivals
If you have an interest — like ultramarathons, Python programming or raves, — do a speedy search to see if any events are scheduled in your destination area where you’re traveling. Join as a paid participant or, even better, become a volunteer.
Co-working spaces are good hubs for freelancers, digital nomads, small business-people, entrepreneurs and anyone else who wants to rent a little office space with reliable wi-fi, good environment so they do not have to camp out in coffee shops for anymore. If you had like to get some focused work done while traveling, a co-working space can be a great place to do that among a group of like-minded peers.