I have traveled to over 20 countries solo and let me be honest, solo traveling can be boring! I usually enjoy the first few days alone but it gets boring when I plan to spend 2 - 3 weeks in a country.
I am naturally a very outgoing person so I am very open to meeting people and also exercising caution while doing so because let's be honest there are different types of people out there. The most successful way of meeting people for me has been online. Before I decide to meet someone in person, I usually spend time talking to them and asking certain questions. from my experience, other solo travelers are always eager to meet up and spend time with each other and locals are also always very open to showing tourists around their city, recommending the best spots to eat and also grabbing a drink outside their work hours. There are apps like Couchsurfing which allows travelers to leave reviews for other travelers and locals they connected with. This is very helpful because people are always honest and open about their experiences whether good or bad and this usually helps others filter who they would like to meet in person. It is relatively easy to meet people while traveling. As I stated earlier, the bulk of “meeting” in my case happened online and I was able to filter out the types of people I wanted to actually meet with in person. The apps I use most frequently are:
Tinder is one of my favorite apps for meeting people because you can get the feel of a person via small or not so small talk before deciding to meet up with them. I like tinder because I can weed out the people who I feel would not suit me or people who come off too strong in their profiles or even in my messages. The general rule I apply with tinder is open mindedness and honesty. I carry out a honest conversation and I let people know that I am a traveler and the amount of days I will be spending in a particular place so they don’t expect too much or too little. I enjoy using tinder to meet men or women who are also solo travelers and looking for someone to explore a city with.
Couchsurfing is a hit or miss. The main reason why Couchsurfing was created was for people to offer their couch or an extra room in their accommodation for travelers to use. It is a free platform and it helps offset the cost of lodging for travelers, helps people meet like-minded individuals abroad while also encouraging cultural exchange and immersion. What Couchsurfing was not created for was hookups. Some people unfortunately try to use the app solely to meet women for hookups so extra care must be taken while accepting requests to hang out on Couchsurfing. The hangout feature of the app can be used to meet with people who are in the same vicinity. I once met a girl on Couchsurfing via the hangout feature who decided to explore Tokyo Disneyland with me. I had extra tickets to the theme park and at the time I was solo traveling in Tokyo. I decided to make a post via the hangouts feature on Couchsurfing and explained that I was looking for someone who would want to visit Disneyland with me. I got a response almost immediately from another traveler and we had an amazing time!
Instagram generally is a great platform for making connections depending on how the social network is utilized. There are millions of people who use the app daily. I have connected with people who I considered life long friends thanks to Instagram. I have an experience where I went on a date in Dubai with someone I met on Instagram. We will call him Mr. K. Not only is Instagram a great place for meeting people, it also makes it possible for people to have a certain perception of the type of person you are before even meeting you based on your social media presence.
This was the situation with Mr. K. Mr. K reached out to me on Instagram when I was in Dubai and invited me out on a date. Mr. K and I had been following each other for months before I traveled to Dubai and I was aware he lived in Dubai. We picked a date to meet up, and he asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to attend Taste of Dubai which was happening later in the evening of the date we agreed on. I informed him that the taste of Dubai cost approximately $20 to enter and he said he was okay with it. He suggested meeting at the Dubai Mall, and I agreed. When we met, I asked if he was hungry and he said he could eat. We went to a restaurant at the mall and I ordered a wrap while he ordered duck. When the check came, I looked at him so he could pay his half of the bill, but he balked a little and did not make eye contact with me. I felt like the situation was awkward enough, so I did not ask him for his part of the bill, I simply put my card down to pay for both meals. We proceeded to taking a taxi to the Taste of Dubai after eating. I felt since I paid for the meal, I would ask him to pay for the taxi fare to the Taste of Dubai. When it was time to pay for the taxi, he paused again and did not make eye contact. I was not having it so I asked if he could pay for the fare which was less than $20 approximately. He pulled out some cash from his pocket and paid. When I saw him pull out the cash, I was hoping that was not the only cash he had but I figured time would tell. We walked up to the entrance of the Taste of Dubai and the cashier cashier told us the price of a ticket. Mr. K was silent. I asked if he was going to pay for his ticket and he said he did not have any money. I was LIVID!
I was mainly annoyed because I informed him of what I planned for the day and he agreed before we met up. He did not mention anything about money. He could have told me he did not have money before ordering food at the restaurant and also before agreeing to head to the Taste of Dubai with me. I am the type of person that HATES awkward situations, so I eventually paid his share of the ticket at the entrance. I was so frustrated at his behavior because I did not get the reason why he would come out if he was broke without informing me. I thought he could have told me while we were making plans to meet up then I would have decided if I wanted him to come or not instead of mooching his way. I gave him a piece of my mind at the end of the night. That was the last time I saw him! I am actually shocked that I exercised so much patience throughout the night because anyone else would have walked away at different points of the night. As a result of that experience, I started making plans and my intentions clear before meeting up with people on my travels.Are you open to meeting people while traveling? If yes how do you usually meet them? Like my post? Please share and comment.