The easiest friends you will ever make are other travellers on a trip.
Whether you are in a hostel in Uruguay, or a pub with an english quiz night in Bangkok, standing out because of your accent or appearance is a quick way to draw other outsiders to you.
Never has common ground been sought more ardently and quickly than with your fellow travellers. Even if you have to make it a flimsy, tenuous cultural connection (“oh you’re from Germany? My Mums friend lives there, in Dusseldorf!” / “I transited through Adelaide one time wow!” / “I’ve been to a 7/11 here too!”), the shared common language and experience of being far from home is enough to cement a deeper connection than you might find on familiar ground.
Travelling away from home and loved ones can be intimidating, especially if you are not used to striking up conversations with random strangers.
But why do we travel? To get out of our comfort zones of course!
If you’re not the outgoing type, finding friends in far off places may seem more difficult than it really is, it can certainly be more simple than you might think, if you’re willing to get inventive! Here are some social media places you may not have thought of that you can check out to get you started:
Reddit is an online community and news aggregation site that anyone can join for free. It is great for content, has 542 million monthly visitors and is the #25 most visited website worldwide. Topics are organized under ‘subreddits’ and these can be valuable resources for travellers as most cities have one. On top of sharing articles, information and links, Reddit is also used to connect with people – sharing travel dates and organizing meetups.
Looking to connect with people in a new place? Have you thought about joining a Facebook group? There are Facebook communities for pretty much anyone. Australians in Toronto? Brits in LA? Digital Nomad Girls? Girls Gone International Bangkok? Travelling Nomads? Expats in (insert place). These Facebook groups are invaluable because they are often updated regularly, and are a great place to connect with others and read what other people are up to. You might just find a hidden gem and make some cool new friends.
Want to meet some other travellers? Try geo searching on Instagram or searching through travel tags. This is a great way to find local must-see spots as well, and to connect with people that have similar interests from the safety of an app before you have to reach out to them in real life.
Obviously there are dangers associated with meeting strangers from the internet, so employ common sense when meeting someone you don’t know for the first time, just as you would when meeting someone in real life on a trip.
Don’t give away too much personal information up front, be smart and meet in populated areas, and of course if you feel unsafe do not stick around.
But if you want to find new friends with common ground, whether it is where you are, where you’re from or what you’re into, then these are some good starting points.