Congrats! So you’ve finally taken the leap of faith and decided to ship off overseas. With all the logistics of your trip of a lifetime covered, a new challenge awaits... making new friends once you get there.
Starting from scratch in a new place can be daunting. But, whether you’re taking off on your first trip or ticking yet another new country off your list, we’re here to take the loneliness out of it. Here are our handy tips for finding new pals overseas.
The best thing about hostels besides the price, is meeting other travellers, especially when you’re the new kid on the block. Concealing yourself away and sleeping off that nasty jet lag is presumably number one on your arrival checklist. But, hostels are always full of fun, like-minded travellers who are often on their own solo explorations and looking for people to hang with. If you hang out in communal areas and stay in a dorm, this is hands down the easiest and quickest way to make new friends abroad. Plus, most hostels host tonnes of activities to get people mingling - pub-crawls, walking tours and movie nights. So force yourself to get out there and socialise!
Did you know Couchsurfing is not only handy for finding cheap places to crash, but it’s also a smart and safe way for finding friends in a new city? The aim of their game is to make travel a truly social experience so it also offers a peek into local life. Each city has loads of activities, groups, and events that you can attend, even if you aren’t staying with someone. Everything from picnics to movie nights to language exchanges are hosted weekly. All you have to do is search up a destination and find an event that catches your eye - voila, friends!
There’s definitely an app for that
Let’s start with Meetup.com. It’s like Tinder... but for friends. At this very second, there are approximately 12,431 meetups happening all over the globe. So, if you have a hobby, there’s probably a meet up for it. Learn to cook, hike a mountain or build a mobile app - it’s packed with great ways to find folks who share your interests. Some groups are purely based around having people meet up and mingle. If you can’t find a group that tickles your fancy - start your own!
Then, there’s always Facebook. There’s thousands of groups solely dedicated to travel and connecting expats with one another. Often if you search up a destination there’s a group for it. If you write up a friendly post, people will more likely than not jump on the bandwagon and offer to show you around town.
Learn the lingo
Learning the language is important. Obviously so you can properly interact with locals, but also because heading to a language school is a fantastic way to meet other foreigners trying to learn too! You’ll all be learning at the same pace so it's a great way to practice your new skill. Plus, they usually come from all over and who knows when you might be in their neck of the woods and need a place to stay.
Searching for an apartment can be a bit like dating these days. Make sure you choose very wisely, because these people are likely going to be some of your first pals in the city. When you're on the search, make sure you try to find people who are like-minded and sociable. If you choose a fun house to move into, with people who enjoy spending time together you'll have friends in no time.
Why not try out a new hobby?
If you’re looking to meet new people, now’s the time to try out a new hobby. Take a cooking course, a book club or join a gym class. Getting involved in local hobbies is something that everyone should do when living abroad. It gives you the opportunity to learn a new skill, make some new friends and understand the local culture a little deeper.
Consider a group tour
Otherwise known as ‘all inclusive friend packages’. If you start out your adventure with an organised holiday with companies like Contiki, Topdeck or Busabout - it’s a sure way to make new friends because you're stuck together, you're instantly connected with new people from all over the world and they’re all sharing the same experience with you - queue the bonding.
And there you have it. Don't forget about our awesome Global Communities too of Facebook & Instagram, which grows by the thousands every year and where there’s plenty of solo travellers making friends before they go everyday! Our Global Travellers have created new friends, inspired others to get out there and even sparked a few love interests too! Click that little blue button to join the adventure.