How to Make Friends When Backpacking

by Michelle on January 17, 2011 · 5 comments

Picture this: you’ve planned an exciting summer abroad backpacking with your best friend. You’ve been waiting months for this and all of a sudden…he/she bails on you! All of a sudden, your trip doesn’t seem so fun anymore. In fact, it’s starting to look a bit scary. How will you ever survive your trip to Spain without your friend’s superior knowledge of the language.

On the bright-side, solo traveling isn’t that bad. In fact, I actually prefer it.

It may be a bit nerve-racking thinking about traveling to a distant country by yourself, but the truth is, making friends abroad is actually really easy!

Here are some of my sure fire tips!

HOSTELS

Hostels are by far the best way of making friends. After all, you’re sharing a room with 3-10 other travelers…you’re bound to meet like-minded people, or at least a drinking buddy for the night. Try to choose a hostel in your guide book, or ones that have received positive reviews online. Hostels advertised as “party hostels” will be your best bet!

If the only other person in your room happens to be a crazy man from Bratislava, most hostels have a bar, which is a great way of meeting a mix of travelers and locals. Some hostels also host events, such as a pub crawl, where you are guaranteed tons of new friends! (Although, most of them you will never see again, but you will never forget from all the crazy photos you keep getting tagged in on Facebook)

If rowdy parties aren’t your style, most hostels have a common room. Bring an interesting book to read and you’ll be surprised by how easily the opportunity for a conversation will arise. Kitchens are also a great way of meeting other travelers, especially if you’re willing to share some food!

MODES OF TRANSPORTATION

With that huge backpack, it’s easy to spot the backpackers from the locals. If you have your country flag sewn on your pack, other travelers of the same nationality are usually eager to talk to you. Also if you happen to be heading in the same direction, most travelers love to have someone to talk to during that long flight/bus/train ride. I have made a lot of friends this way, and it’s great too because you’ve already made some friends before reaching your destination!

ONLINE

While I have never met anyone from online, there are a lot of travel communities (such as Travbuddy) which are a great way of finding others who are going to the same destinations as you. Online travel communities are also a great way of sharing tips and experiences with other travelers, as well as locals. (Just be careful with who you talk to! If someone seems a bit ‘sketchy’ DO NOT plan a meet up with them!)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

DCAllen January 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Hi,
Cool. I all but missed the backpacking time of my life but am thinking of doing it again. Probably more the flashpacker now. Good advice. Thanks.

The best hostel I've ever been to was in Edinburgh this year. There were 20 people in my room, but it was quiet and comfortable. There was also a modern, large pub in the hostel.

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Michelle Globetrotter January 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I'm glad you found the article helpful! :)

I'm planning on moving to Edinburgh sometime late this year. It looks like an amazing city!

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MrD3071 January 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Good to see that you are really churning out the articles. Alas university hinders me from writing as often as I might like to! Keep up the blogs.

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Michelle Globetrotter January 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Thanks! I've been pretty busy as well, but I try to set aside an hour or so a day to blog. So far, its been working pretty well :)

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chino September 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm

solo backpacking is my cup of tea! Thanks for sharing//

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