Traveling alone can be an intimidating idea to a lot of people. Many worry that they will be unsafe or lonely if they travel alone. This doesn't have to be the case. The tips below were honed from years of traveling alone, and meeting the most amazing people to share my day with. They will work for you too.
You are most likely to meet other travelers who speak your language if you stay in a place that has at least one common area. It doesn't have to be a hostel, though these are great places for meeting young, single travelers. I often chose to stay in hotels that have a restaurant, lounge or bar in it. I've even met great people waiting in line to use the one common computer.
One of my favorite people that I spent a fun day with in Germany, I met because he was brave enough to try the unusual jellied onion cheese mold I had bought for a dollar in a market. I had too much of it, so I marched into the reading room of the hostel I was staying in and stood up and say "Any one want to try this weird food with me?" A fellow Canadian, put down his book, smiled at me and said "Sure, why not." After that we struck up a conversation about our day, and we decided to go and see some ruins together.
I often walk up to people who are sitting alone in restaurants of my hotel, or are walking around looking rather aimless and ask them if they had any fun plans that day. If they don't I tell them what I am doing, and ask if they'd be interested in joining me for part of my day. This takes a little moxy on your part, but once you spend a fun day with a stranger, navigating a busy foreign city with another person who gets to hold the map, you'll be braver in approaching new people.
You don't just have to target people who are traveling alone. I have enjoyed my time traveling after meeting groups of other females, married couples, and even families.
I've usually met them and then got invited to join them on their day by offering them advice on places I've been, restaurants I tried and love, or even just offering if they would like the extra travel guide I no longer need. If you have something that could be of use to someone else; walk up to people and offer it to them. It will be a great ice breaker, and it will be something that many will want to reciprocate.
If you are an artist, check out the local arts scene. If you are a librarian, go to the local library. Introduce yourself, and your hobby or interest to the locals that are involved in the same work/hobby as you. It is a quick sure way to bond with locals.
I am a poet, so before I went to Guatemala I did a quick internet search to see if any poetry readings were happening while I was there. When I found a reading that sounded interesting, I emailed the organizer to let him know that I was a poet and would love to check out his reading. He wrote me back and offered to pick me up from the bus stop. At the reading I was his special Canadian guest, and he treated me like a queen. He introduced me to other English speaking poets and showed me around his city. It was a memorable trip because of that experience.
Traveling alone doesn't have to mean being alone. There are many ways to meet great, generous and memorable locals and other travelers to spend your trip or just your day with. Sharing your day with others can make the difference between a good trip and a great one.
select one here...