7 Tips on How to Meet People While Traveling

tourists posing with vietnamese locals in ha giang


So you’re ready to embark on this crazy adventure around the world, see some amazing new places, and meet some incredible people? Excited is probably a good word to describe how you’re feeling, but maybe also nervous? Something you may be already thinking about is how to meet people while traveling.


Speaking to strangers can be pretty daunting, and the fear of being lonely can stop a lot of people from going traveling in the first place – especially if traveling for the first time!


I’ll be honest, if you’re not used to chatting to strangers and meeting people regularly, it’ll take some courage to start with. But fear not! With some good tips and a bit of practice I believe pretty much anyone can bring out their extroverted side. 


So that means yes, you should book the trip. You’ll be fine, trust me 😉


Here’s some tips on how you can get better at meeting new people, and how to find the opportunity to do so. 


cooking class in Hoi An, Vietnam

1. Get into the Habit of Talking to Strangers

There’s no better way to get good at this than just doing it. Whether it’s at a social event or the cashier in the supermarket, getting into the habit of chatting to anyone will remove some of the fear or self-consciousness you may have around new people. Not only this, but it’ll become a habit. 


As a fairly shy kid, I used to think I would always be introverted. But now at 23 years old, after going to University, traveling all over South-East Asia and Australia, and working a people-focused job, over time I have pretty much trained myself to become an extrovert.


No matter how social you are right now, if you actively practice your social skills and put yourself out of your comfort zone, you will become more and more confident and outgoing.

2. Stay in Hostels

By far the best place for meeting fellow travelers is in hostels. You’ll be surrounded by other people in the same position, who are also looking to meet people.


Hostels are also very good at facilitating socialisation, and most of them have outgoing staff who run regular social events. Sleeping in a shared dorm is also a bonus since you can get to know the people in your room too! A pack of cards is always a great way to bring a group together (and won’t take up too much space in your bag).


You can use Hostelworld’s “who’s going” feature to see how busy a hostel is over a specific period of time. This will also show you which countries people are from. The big party hostel chains such as Bed Station, Mad Monkey, and Bodega usually have a very good social scene and get quite busy. That being said, I’ve met some great friends at small hostels too!


3. Always Be the First to Say Hi

A great way to make sure you meet as many people as possible is to always say hi first. Whether you’re in your hostel room, brushing your teeth, or even on public transport, the more you do it the easier it will get.

If you wait for people to come to you, the chances are some of them won’t, and you might never meet them. But, if you get into the habit of saying hi first to everyone, you’ll very quickly have lots of small connections. 

I used to do this a lot in hostels in Southeast Asia, and it was super helpful because when I went down to socialise in the evenings, I already knew lots of people!

4. Go on Group Tours

Surfing trips, canyoneering, mountain hikes, motorbike tours, and sightseeing tours are some of the best, and most fun ways to meet new people. 


Most hostels and some hotels will have notice boards full of these events and tours. Pick something you really enjoy, and you’ll meet lots of other people who also enjoy that. Not only is it fun, but it gives you something to talk about. When you’re abseiling off 30-foot waterfalls in Vietnam it’s easy to bond with others!


Canyoneering tour in Moalboal, The Philippines

5. Join Online Travel Groups

There are so many groups on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other platforms where you can chat to other travelers. You can start with The Travel Squad on Facebook, where you can also get access to destination/gender-specific WhatsApp groups as well. You can use these to ask questions or even to meet up with other people from the group! 


This isn’t something I did a lot, because you tend to meet a lot of people in hostels anyway, but you can definitely get some great tips.


6. Don't Plan Too Much

One of my biggest mistakes when I went traveling for the first time was pre-booking a hostel room in Kuta for an entire month. Yes, I had no idea what I was doing. I soon learned that no one else was staying in one place for that long, and all of the friends I made were coming and going every few days. I ended up leaving after a week and had to take the cost on the chin.

So, always allow for a certain amount of spontaneity. Booking your next destination as late as possible (within reason) will allow you to change plans if you meet some people you want to travel with.

Buffet dinner in Boracay, The Philippines

7. Learn The Local Language

I can’t say I’ve learnt the local language fluently anywhere I’ve been, but knowing some basic greetings can help you out massively. This is going to differ (a lot) depending on where you’re going. 


For example, in South-East Asia most people will speak enough English for basic communication, so you can actually get by fine without learning theirs. However, knowing how to say hello, and thank you can go a long way in making friends. The locals in Asia love it when you say something as simple as “nice to meet you” in their language!


On the other hand, if you’re going to somewhere like South America, you pretty much need to know a certain amount of Spanish to get by, and stay safe. Wherever you are traveling, make sure you research this before you go.


Now that you know a bit more about how to meet people while traveling…

Have you thought about budgeting? Check out How Much Does it Cost to Travel South-East Asia here!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *