When you decide to go on your first solo trip there’s already a lot to think about. Once the planning is out the way, for a moment (or few) you’ll wonder if you made the right choice to go solo. If you’re still unsure of your adventure alone, here’s my advice on how to make friends on your first solo trip.
1. Book a stay in a hostel
If you haven’t stayed in a hostel before, you should consider doing so for your first solo travel adventure.
Hostels are particularly good for solo travellers since you’ll find a lot of people staying there are also travelling alone. They tend to have a very welcoming atmosphere and the environment is great for meeting new people and making friends.
Most hostels have a range of activities and things to do which will allow you to meet new people. Plus if you choose to share a dorm (did you know you can also book a private room in some hostels?) you could make friends with your roommates. You may find someone else who’s travelling alone too and can swap stories. I’ve stayed in a few dorms now and each time there was at least one other solo traveller.
If you’re considering it, here are my recommendations for hostels in a few cities in Europe. I have stayed in each of these before:
• Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Stayokay Vondelpark
• Berlin (Germany) – Plus Berlin
• Copenhagen (Denmark) – Sleep in Heaven
• Florence (Italy) – Plus Florence Hostel
• Munich (Germany) – Smart Stay Hostel Munich City
• Stockholm (Sweden) – City Backpackers Hostel
• Estoril (Portugal) – Blue Boutique Hostel and Suites
2. Get involved in at least one activity
If you have time, try to get involved in an activity your accommodation hosts.
Hostels have a variety of things to join in with from group dinners and pub crawls to indoor activities like movie or games nights and karaoke. Hotels also provide some form of entertainment and activities to get involved with too.
Joining in at least one activity will give you the opportunity to mix with other people. Hopefully you’ll make a few friends that you can hang out with during the rest of your trip.
3. Go on a free walking tour
There are a number of companies such as Sandemans New Europe or FreeTours that offer free walking tours. These tours can provide a good overview and history of the area but can also help you make a friend or two.
You end up talking to others in the group along the way and some tours will have a break so you can grab a snack or drink, so it’s the perfect opportunity to mingle! You may meet people for all over world in your group and likely to come across another solo traveller so you’ll feel less alone.
I’ve been on this tour with Sandemans in Berlin and another in Prague. Both were really good.
4. Book yourself on a group tour
Another way to meet people is to go on an organised group tour.
Sometimes where you’re staying will organise their own tours or partner with local tour companies and will offer discounted rate for guests.
You can also try other companies like Expedia or Get Your Guide. Both are good places to start looking for things to do.
It may be a better idea to choose a tour from an external company other than your hotel. This way you’re more likely to meet a different group of people.
5. Chill out in the lounge or communal areas
If you stay cooped up in your room you’re not going to meet new people. By spending a little time in the lounge or communal areas you can interact with others more.
From experience, hostels, B&B’s and smaller hotels, offer more opportunities to make friends as they will have more shared facilities like a shared kitchen or computer area.
If you’re considering your first solo trip, let me know how you get on!