When you travel, this question must have crossed your mind. You travel to meet new people, for new experiences and so on. You left because you were not having enough sex or you want some anonymity in doing so – so you travel. You travel because you want to “find yourself”. You travel because you are lonely.
You are just “making friends” when actually you are looking for some romantic interaction. Someone who likes the things you like, which is to travel. To have a girlfriend or a boyfriend who you can travel with. With whom you can take pictures with and post on Instagram – so you feel that you are having an awesome life. All this.
Nowadays, with technology you can create relationships however superficial or meaningful. But meeting is the first step. There are several apps that you can use to meet people.
Use couchsurfing app to meet locals and travellers. You can use the hangouts section, enter what you want to do and wait for responses. Or you can request to join other hangouts that is happening. Most cities have weekly couchsurfing meetups.
Use tinder to date and hook up. It is a great way of creating connections when travelling, but not just brag about how many matches you have, let the measure be how many connections that you are creating. Matches – anyone can get, it can be a feel-good thing to see you being matched with a hottie, but unless you are having an actual human interaction it has little meaning.
Bumble, Happn are similar apps to tinder.
See if there are any Facebook events happening in your area. Simply browse the events section in your app and give the location where you are. See if any event catches your fancy and off you go. Browse by categories to save time.
Meet up app often has decent events if you are in a city where the app is available and used. It is always a good idea to check. You can browse by interests and categories, distance and so on.
Search in google to see if there are any language exchange meetups that are happening near you. You can go even if you don’t want to learn actually a new language, because these places will have people who are open to English speakers.
Check to see if there are any milongas near you if you are a dancer – tango, bachata, salsa are popular and usually communal. It is easy to meet people this way if you can dance or are interested in dancing.
Going to clubs is not actually an effective strategy to meet people – though it is often presented as such. You only end up spending a lot with a very low ROI. People are usually drunk and have an inflated sense of one’s own self-importance and you don’t really want to be meeting such people, unless that is what you want. They also have even shorter attention spans, you have to talk way louder than usual and you end up spending a lot of energy.
Never offer a drink to someone you meet in a club in exchange to talk to them, that is needy, and you will get used. This happens everywhere not just in Eastern Europe as some might say.
Be clear with your intentions, and if you say “you are only making friends” question that. Apart from straight guy to guy – girl to girl relationships – I highly doubt that anyone is out there making friends.
Go for free walking tours and as people if they want to grab a beer at the end of it. Many would have been thinking about doing the same, but don’t usually ask. So, ask.
If you are staying in a hostel, hangout in the lounge – simply say hi and ask someone their name to start a conversation. It is simple. Some hostels have board games, so you can invite them to play with you. Again, simple.
Also check out the pub crawls organized by the hostel. I personally don’t recommend these, because you feel like shit at the end of it and you think you are having fun, but you are not. Don’t use alcohol as an escape to your social anxiety, when there is no alcohol the interactions have meaning, even if they are awkward at times.
Check out other activities and sightseeing that is organized by the hostel too.
Walk into a tourist information center in the town you are and see if they have a leaflet containing the local events.
Take a local language class, you will meet other English-speaking travelers who wants to learn the language. Other courses are cooking courses, wine tasting and so on.
Buy a subscription to Internations website. Similar to meetup.com they have groups and events there. You can even direct message people who lives locally and invite them for a coffee. You will be surprised how many will say yes.
Check if there is an ecstatic dancing community around you, where you dance even if you don’t know how to dance. This can be quite fun. Some even have silent discos where you wear a headphone and dance to the music. And if you want to have some extra fun remove your headphone once in a while and observe the people dancing out without the music. It is hilarious.
Use Airbnb’s experiences section to look for local experiences and experience it with other travellers who will be there.
You have to talk, that is the only requirement, in any of these options.
If you are sane enough stop the cuties on the street and tell her that you are interested in them. You won’t believe how willing some will be to go for a coffee or a drink then and there. But you have to be willing.
In all this, you have to risk being creepy or awkward, to make a connection. I don’t think there is a way around that. But if you want to have some insight into the nature of anxiety read my posts in personal development.
Just remember, you are afraid, and so are others. Even if someone rejects you harshly they are in the same boat as you. But don’t be naive and think that rejection won’t happen. Mentally prepare for it, but don’t let that stop you.