There's a common misconception when it comes to traveling alone: people assume that traveling alone means being lonely all the time.
It's an understandable conclusion, of course. Some people can't imagine enjoying doing something as exciting as traveling all by themselves.
But just because you travel alone doesn't have to mean that you're always lonely. In fact, when you travel solo, it's usually easier to meet other people and make friends on the road.
After traveling the world solo for a few years, I've learned some tips for how you can easily meet other people and avoid that oft-feared loneliness.
The best and easiest way to meet fellow travelers is to stay in hostels or very social guesthouses. Certain parts of the world (like Europe and Southeast Asia) have a wide selection of hostels, ranging from very basic to luxury. Many have bars with nightly themes or activities, and some even organize group trips or walking tours from the hostel each day. Simply hanging out in the common areas or kitchen will make it easy to strike up conversation, too.
And remember, you don't have to stay in dorm rooms if that's not really your speed. Most hostels have private rooms you can pay a little extra for in addition to those dreaded dorms.
Some people are more outgoing than others. If striking up conversation in a hostel with strangers isn't really your thing, consider booking a small group tour with a company like Intrepid Travel or G Adventures. This way you'll have instant friends and travel companions, but will still have the freedom to explore a bit or have a meal on your own if you want to.
I've found that I often need to break up my travels with a group trip every now and then. Not only do I get to meet some new people who love traveling just as much as I do, but it can be a nice break from having to organize and do everything on your own.
If a guided, multi-day trip doesn't mesh well with your travel style, you can often get a similar result from going on day trips. I mentioned hostels that organize day trips before, but you can always just do a quick Google search or head over to a site like Viator Travel to look for day tours in whatever city you're currently in. You'll often find other solo travelers doing the same thing, making day trips another good way to meet people.
Lastly, just talk to people. Ask another solo traveler to take a photo of you somewhere, and then strike up a conversation. Or offer to lend your own photography skills to someone struggling with their camera. The photo and location are automatic conversation-starters.
Do you have any other tips for meeting people as a solo traveler?
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Graduate student by day and avid traveler and blogger by night (and on weekends and during holidays), Amanda is just a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. Amanda's adventurous nature and inability to say "no" have led her to some pretty amazing adventures all around the world. But she has no desire to stop exploring anytime soon. Read Amanda's blog, A Dangerous Business, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
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