Solo travel may sound like a solitary experience, but the logistics of navigating foreign situations on your own naturally leads to meeting new people.
From accommodations and transportation to meals and entertainment, the opportunities to bond with other travelers or locals is built in, as long as you keep your ears piqued and your mind open. And that shared sense of searching for experiences often leads you to like-minded explorers on the same path.
After two days of hopping between city walking tours and day excursions in Ecuador, I remember thinking, “Gosh, I haven’t had any ‘me time.’” So I planned a spa day to the Termas de Papallactas hot springs to truly get some downtime—and of course ended up meeting the most lovely fellow tourists relaxing in the pools there too!
When I took a small group tour to Cuba in February, the itinerary seemed sparse, so I brought a blank notebook, with grand plans of filling it with my every thought. Instead, I found myself trying to squeeze in enough sleep because I hit it off so well with my fellow travelers that we were constantly going out for more Cuban rum nightcaps… and in one case, another single traveler staying in the same casa particulares and I ended up chatting for so long that we didn’t get to bed until after 3 a.m. Incidentally, I did eventually pull out my notebook on the last day of the trip… to pass around the van to get everyone’s e-mail addresses to keep in touch!
Related: Hacks for Mastering Solo Travel
The beauty of solo traveling isn’t just in where you leave your footsteps, it’s also in the friends and connections you collect along the path. Here are 18 ways to ensure you meet people along your road to self-discovery.