Let’s face it—the thought of going abroad solo is terrifying. You mean, I have to navigate a foreign land all by myself? Is a thought that could go through your head. And I’m sure you’re also wondering, “how the heck am I supposed to make friends abroad?”
Many times we think we need a partner, family members, or friends to go with us, so that the transition can be smoother, but that’s not always possible.
What if you’re single, or the people you know can’t afford to come? Should that stop you from living life? NOOOOOOOOO.
So, if you have that inner voice urging you to “go abroad and see the world,” then maybe it’s time to let go of the fear of doing it solo. You know why? Because you can always meet people along the way.
And how do you do that, you ask?
Believe it or not, I’ve met tons of people abroad from Facebook groups.
When I was solo in Vietnam, I posted in a group about my trip and a lady volunteered to show me around town. This made me feel safer on my first solo trip.
When I moved to Thailand, I found communities in Facebook groups for nomads, teachers, and melanated people; all of which helped the transition.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable meeting people online, you can still gain valuable info, like what cool spots to go to, safety measures, events going on in the city, and more. You can always search _________ (your nationality/ethnicity) in _________ (the country). Or solo travelers in _______ (the country).
Always trust your gut and follow your intuition. If you ever feel uncomfortable meeting up, don’t do it.
These are some groups I’m in that have international communities worldwide:
- Blackpackers of SouthEast Asia
- Americans in Portugal
- The Tribe (melanated women in Spain and Portugal)
- Brothers and Sisters of Chiang Mai
- Black to Portugal
- Lisbon Expats and Friends
- Brothers and Sisters of S. Korea
- GoWonder – Female Solo Travel
- Host a Sister (women only. Meetup, host, or find free accommodation worldwide)
- Black American Expats in Europe
Most major cities are listed on this site.
It’s a chance to find like-minded individuals or even step out of your comfort zone and take up a new activity. You can search for various hobbies + interests in the city you’re moving to or visiting.
This is an easy way to make new friends because it’ll be an event where there’s many people. That can take off the pressure of meeting someone one on one.
It might sound strange to use a dating app to make friends abroad, but I guarantee it’s a quick way to meet new people.
Since dating apps have become so normalized, some people don’t use them for romance anymore. People might use it to make new friends and, actually, I have made two great friends from Tinder and one from Hinge.
You can also use Bumble since it has the BFF mode where you can specify that you’re looking for friends. Trust me, lots of foreigners use these apps to make meaningful connections—regardless of if it’s platonic or not.
Visit Places Solo
Just start going places by yourself—the coffee shops, beaches, restaurants, bars, events, wherever. I get it might feel weird + awkward at first, especially in a foreign place, but that’s when you are most approachable.
People are more likely to spark up a conversation with you when you’re by yourself. And after you get over the initial awkwardness, you’ll feel more confident about speaking to new people.
I would encourage you to do this and also start talking to someone else you see that’s solo.
Couchsurf or WorkAway
Both sites let you find housing internationally or find people to meet up with. All you have to pay is the membership fee. Couchsurf has a monthly fee of $1.99 and you can find hosts to show you around the city, meet up with for lunch, or if you need to find a place to crash at.
Workaway allows you to do work in exchange for housing—which is perfect for staying in a place long-term solo. There’s also the option to find other travelers in the area that want to meet up.
Every country I’ve visited or lived in, I’ve done these things to make friends abroad. Because of that, I’ve made lifelong connections. Wherever you visit or move to in the world, you are never truly alone. There’s a bunch of people out there that would love to connect and meet you. Just put yourself out there, and you will see.