In my experience, it is actually easier to meet people when you are traveling by yourself than with a group. The reason is when you travel with a group you tend to alienate yourselves and stick together. Whether you realize it or not walls will be put up around your group naturally as it is much easier just to stick together and groups are more intimidating for people.
A lone traveler has the advantage of being able to talk to whoever they want when they want. You can eat with others and you are more approachable. Given this notion, I came up with a few tips for people unsure about how to go about meeting people when traveling by themselves. These are in no particular order of importance.
- Stay in large mixed gender dorm rooms at a decent hostel. Why? You will meet both sexes and form an instant group of friends from your roommates. (See, How to choose a hostel)
- Look for group pub crawls or other gatherings of travelers. These people are looking to meet others.
- Listen for your native langauge, or one that you speak, and speak up. Throw in a “Where are you from?” Always a good conversation starter in any language.
- Check social sites like Couchsurfing.org or others for local gatherings. Sometimes “singles” groups are posted.
- If you are at least a little outgoing, go to a bar or pub and talk to people. Clubs (Discoteques) tend to be more difficult as people are not really looking to socialize.
My conclusion is that it is not impossible. With time, even a timid traveler can meet tons of people and even making lasting friendships.
What do you think? Do you like to travel alone, or with a partner? Or maybe have you traveled in a group before?