How to Make Friends As A Solo Female Traveller Using Social Media
When I first set off on my solo travels at the end of 2016 one of my biggest fears was that I would stay solo. I envisioned myself alone in a hostel questioning why I’d ever left home to begin with. I’m happy to say this was not the case. Within the first half hour of arriving at my hostel in Bangkok I’d made my first friend. Funnily enough I’ve been bumping into that same guy, my first friend, in Australia ever since.
Making new friends in a different country is a scary thought. Back home in Scotland if you went up to a random group of people at a bar and asked if you could hang out you’d probably get some funny looks. What you have to remember though is when you’re making friends as a solo traveller, the rules of the game have changed.
You’d be surprised how just a simple “hey!” can strike up a conversation and lead to a friendship.
If the idea of approaching a stranger in public still feels a little daunting then don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Keep reading for some top tips on how to make friends using the power of social media.
Out of the three Tinder dates I’ve been on in my life all of them have went well and two of them have been in foreign countries. I love Tinder for making friends in abroad for two reasons:
1. If it’s awkward as hell there’s very little chance you’re going to bump into them again.
2. Who better to show you around a new city than a local?
From being invited to beach volleyball in San Diego to an awesome Thai house party in Chiang Mai. While ‘officially’ they’ve been dates, I’ve struck up amazing friendships as a result. Yes, Tinder is full of people looking for one night stands and an experience with a genuine *insert nationality* girl to add to their list. It is Tinder, come on. But don’t knock it completely – it might surprise you!
Lonely girl, alone in a new country.
Looking for some new friends and I’m staying at X hostel
Scottish girl, new to Melbourne looking to hang out for (drinks, day time exploring, cultural activities) in/near Brunswick.
Be upfront about what you want, but be careful not to seem like a target.
My favourite women’s travel group on Facebook has to be Girls Love Travel. It’s a 580,000+ strong group of women from all over the world who, yup, you guessed it love to travel. The group is packed with destination tips, useful advice and (mostly!) friendly women who want to help however they can.
A quick search of the location you’re heading to shows recently discussed topics. If you’re visiting Sydney, for example, and looking to meet up with some people while you’re there all you need to do is pop a post in the group and wait for the replies.
There are hundreds, probably even thousands, of groups on Facebook for backpackers, solo travelers – you name it. If you’re thinking of going it alone don’t worry – you’re never truly alone. There are huge communities of people doing the exact same thing as you. You can even use groups to make friendships with people before you leave home!
Never underestimate the power of a good old Facebook status. Let people know where you’re going and that you’d love to meet up with people in the area. As a result of a Facebook status within less than a week of living in Melbourne I’d made a new best friend and found a job!
How do you use Instagram to make friends?Pretty similar to real life in that you can bond with people over similar interests.
For example if I know I’m going to be visiting Surfer’s Paradise I’ll look at hashtags related to the location and message people asking for advice or how to get to places in their photos. Usually a dialogue will naturally start from there and one of us will bring up “hey, if we’re in X place around the same time we should catch up.” There’s no pressure on it. It’s all super casual, so if it gets closer to the time and you’re not feeling it you’re not tied into any obligations.
The benefit of using social media to strike up friendships is that you can screen potential new friends before ever meeting them in person. Does it look like they have a group of friends already (always a good sign)? Do they have similar interests to you? Are they indeed a real person?
As it goes with anything on the internet – safety first. If you’re going to meet a random make sure it’s in a public place and make sure other people know where you’re going. If you ever feel uncomfortable make your excuses and leave.
Remember you’re a strong, independent solo female traveler who is fearless in pursuing friendships, but also knows when it’s time to go.
Efia is a British Lifestyle and Travel blogger, who left Scotland for sunnier pastures in 2016. In her two years traveling she’s spent time exploring Europe, South East Asia and Australia.
Her blog Effy Talks Life is filled with inspirational posts for first time travelers and avid adventurers alike. She hopes to empower young women to pursue their passions with her philosophy of ‘boundless courage’, whether that’s in travel, or every day life.