Back when I was living in London, a friend and I made weekend plans to go to Copenhagen. Due to a passport issue, she had to bow out last minute. Not one to want to miss out on a travel opportunity (or the $$ already spent on the plane ticket and hostel), I decided to go alone. As someone who has been lucky enough to do quite a bit of traveling, I have to say my one weekend alone in Copenhagen has been one of the most personally rewarding trips I’ve ever taken. Partly because, as a solo traveler, I was much more likely to talk to and meet other people along my journey.
When you’re with a vina or a group on a trip, you’re less approachable than when alone. However when you travel alone, you open up the gates for unexpected chats that can turn into new friends and experiences. Even though my trip alone was short, the experience ended up being so wonderful because of the people I met during those two and half days.
Based on this experience, I have some tips for how to meet friends while traveling solo (and why you should try it at least once):
The majority of the people I met in Copenhagen were staying at my hostel. I was the only American in my shared room, which meant my roomies and I had a lot to talk about. Hostels are great places to meet solo travelers because most people there are traveling alone or in pairs. Everyone is young and open to meet people (an essential mindset in sharing a room with 10+ other people). Plus, most hostels host free group tours and events, have a bar to hang out at, and have communal meals (ours had free breakfast and dinner). My advice would be to ask someone to go sightseeing or visit a museum with you! While doing these things alone are great, it can be nice to have someone tag along.
GROUP TOURS (BUT NOT THE GENERIC KIND)
I’m not talking about those big red busses in every city that take you to major landmarks. Although those can be a good place to start! I’m talking about museum tours, wineries, local foodie tours, and/or small independent bar crawls. I wish that I had done something like this in Copenhagen because I think it could’ve been a great way to meet people interested in the things that I loved (i.e. art, food, and wine).
I did do a lot of these small, independent tours when I first moved in London, which is why I’m including it in this list. On a quiet Wednesday night in Camden, my friends and I decided to participate in a bar crawl. We were in a group, but there were a couple travelers who we adopted into our troupe. If you were traveling solo, this could be a great way to meet fellow travelers and tourists.
These days there are tons of apps and websites that you can reference to see find local events that are happening in the city you’re visiting. Try DoStuff or BandsInTown for local music, or even a quick Facebook event search can pop up some cool happenings. Another way to find things is just to wander and go with the flow – you’d be surprised what you may stumble upon.
During my second night in Copenhagen, I was hanging out in a café, drinking coffee and waiting for my phone to charge. All of a sudden, an open mic night started, and I found myself in the middle of a group of Danish college students, musicians, and what I assumed were comedians (everyone was speaking Danish, but there was lots of laughter). The travelers next to me were very friendly, and I got to enjoy the night with some new friends. So my advice would be to go to (or stumble upon) a local event, and then chat up someone while you’re there! You never know who you could end up meeting.
Hey! VINA is not only a fantastic way to meet other travelers, but also to meet locals. In fact, it might be the easiest way to meet a local who is excited to show you their fave spots. If Hey! VINA had existed when I was traveling, I would’ve used it to meet women to hang out with while I was in town – no doubt.
(Featured image via pinterest.com)