Striking up a conversation with a stranger in a foreign country can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Here are Culture Trip’s top tips for making new buddies while traveling alone.
Traveling on your own can be a great way to build confidence and see the world, but how do you meet people or even make friends? The beauty of traveling solo is that you’re forced to live outside of your comfort zone – making new mates is up to you, particularly when you don’t have a safety net of travel companions. Read on for some advice on making new buddies while globetrotting.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Looking for an easy way to make friends while exploring culture-rich destinations? Check out TRIPS by Culture Trip, our expertly curated, small-group adventures led by Local Insiders.
Stay in a hostel
If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, don’t worry. Many hostel dwellers are traveling solo, too, so it’s a fantastic place to make new friends. The best hostels offer relaxed communal areas, with reading nooks, cooking facilities and maybe even an adjoining cafe. Chances are, you’ll be swapping travel tips with someone over a bowl of pasta in no time.
Join a small group tour
The easiest way to meet people when you’re traveling alone is to join a group tour. Whether you book for three days or three months, group tours offer you the flexibility of solo travel with the added bonus of potential new and like-minded friends. I made a lifelong buddy while overlanding in Tanzania – she shared her cookies with me on the long ferry ride to Zanzibar.
Make friends with the locals
Locals are always ahead of the guidebooks when it comes to knowing the hottest street food spots or the best bars for scoping out live music. When you travel alone, you’re more likely to interact with local people, even if you’re not fluent in the same language. It’s amazing how far a friendly smile and a sense of adventure can take you.
Take a class
Have you always wanted to master the art of making macarons in Paris? Perhaps you see yourself as a budding surfer? There’s no better time to learn than when you’re on the road. Seek out a day trip or join a small group tour with fellow newbies, and you will bond instantly over your newfound skills.
Give a little back and volunteer
Volunteering while traveling alone offers you a completely different experience of the country you’re visiting. Do your research and pick something that you’re passionate about. If you join a group trip, you’ll bond even quicker than usual, as you’re all working towards the same goal of making a positive change.
Act like a local
If you want a genuine local experience, take part in something you love to do back home. Love running? Get up early and take your trainers with you. There’s something special about seeing an unfamiliar city waking up. You could even join a local running group or take part in a yoga class. Getting a haircut while traveling is highly recommended – hairdressers are a gold mine of local information and love to chat.
Try something new
New experiences can be daunting, but they’re highly rewarding. I recently tried kayaking for the first time in Regent’s Canal in London. It was so much fun to see the city from a unique angle, and thankfully I didn’t fall in once. I bonded with one of my group buddies when I accidentally whacked her with my oar (no real harm done). She forgave me and we warmed up afterwards with a cup of tea and cake in a cafe down the road.
Make friends in transit
If you’re moving on to your next destination, there will probably be some fellow travelers headed in the same direction. I made a Dutch friend on a long-distance bus journey as we were crossing the border from Argentina into Chile. We buddied up and traveled together for the next three weeks, enjoying Holy Week celebrations in Northern Chile and even hosting an impromptu dinner in the Atacama Desert on Easter Sunday.
Flexibility is key
When I set out on my first trip, I had each day planned down almost to the hour. However, over-planning can leave no room for a change of plans. You might want to stay put for a few days to relax. While hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, I made a great group of friends; we all extended our stay in Cusco afterwards, because we were getting on so well. On top of that, we needed to recharge our batteries after those early starts and long hiking days.
Be open to everyone
It sounds so simple, but the number one golden rule to meeting people is to be open to it. Try not to be glued to your phone and you’ll find sometimes the most unlikely characters can make for fascinating travel buddies. I took a group boat trip around the Whitsunday Islands in Australia and ended up chatting to a couple in their 80s who were on a silver gap year. After swapping stories of our shared love of the Great Barrier Reef, we persuaded the skipper to arrange one last dive before we headed back to shore.
Feeling inspired? Check out TRIPS by Culture Trip – our carefully curated, small-group adventures for solo travellers looking to share once-in-a-lifetime experiences with kindred spirits.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.