While in Iceland I experimented a bit with different ways to meet other travelers and locals while traveling alone. There are a growing number of networks specifically to connect travelers. Here I will expand on my post about making friends and ridesharing in Iceland.
I have a friend who uses Grindr to meet people and get tips while traveling. This popular gay hookup app works for him: he’s attractive and so lots of guys message him. He confessed that he responds to most sexual overtures with questions about travel plans and/or requests for tips about things the guys have already done. Sometimes this leads him to travel with someone for a bit, or do a tour or other activity with a guy from Grindr. Rarely does he actually use Grindr for it’s intended purpose. Apparently lots of folks using this app don’t mind transitioning from flirting to platonic travel buddies.
This works for my 20-something attractive gay friend, but may not be the best approach for the rest of us. In a similar vein, there are a bunch of new apps that help people meet others based on location, but with some romantic intent at least implied. Although they can be used just to make friends, I don’t use these apps because of the dating focus. For those of us looking to meet folks and make new friends when traveling alone without entering the romantic scene, I’ve compiled a list of some other options below.
City Socializer – A social networking site that helps you connect with likeminded folks doing the activities you enjoy in the 35 cities where it has launched. This site includes a travel forum that is used by some to find travel buddies.
Couchsurfing – A community for hospitality lodging (free) which includes a lot of couchsurfing events where travelers can meet up and socialize with each other and with locals. In addition, many folks on this site indicate that they are interested in meeting travelers even if they can’t host.
Bewelcome – Similar to couchsurfing you can use this hospitality lodging site to meet other travelers and locals while you travel.
Travbuddy – One of the biggest websites devoted to finding travel companions. You post your travel plans and the site connects you with other people who’s destinations and dates match yours.
Companions2travel – A website that matches you with other travelers based on common interests.
Outbound – A mobile app that facilitates connecting with travelers who will be at the same place during the same dates.
Ventoura – A mobile app that uses the swipe system popularized by Tinder to connect travelers with other folks who match their destinations and dates, as well as with local activity guides.
Thelmandlouise – A network for women to connect with other women travelers.
Meetup – A popular website for organizing groups of people interested in anything from Java developers to knitters. There are a number of travel meetup groups in cities around the world. If you join a travel meetup in your hometown you’re likely to find folks interested in taking trips and/or organizing group trips. This is also a way to meet locals wherever you go, by just attending a meetup in your destination that is focused on one of your interests. It doesn’t have to be travel, if you’re an avid knitter wouldn’t it be cool to meet knitters in Barcelona while you’re there?
Triptogether – Find travel companions with common travel interests.
Wandermates – Arrange meetups with other solo travelers and find activity buddies.
Tripr – A mobile app connecting people at the same place during the same time. Has more of a dating feel even though the focus is on travelers.
Backpackr – Meet backpackers going to your destination who want to do the same things you want to do.
I know there are more options that I haven’t listed here. If you know of a good app or website for meeting people while traveling tell me about it in the comments. I’ll be updating my spreadsheet of travel resources with more of these options as I find them.