12 Jul Our Guide to Meeting Locals and Like-Minded Travelers
We meet all kinds of amazing people while traveling – it’s one of the biggest gifts travel has given us. Recently, a reader asked us if we had any tips on meeting locals and other like-minded travelers in new destinations. We thought this was a superb question that would interest many of us – families, solo travelers, digital nomads, and pretty much anyone else.
To help expand on our own tips, we asked our community how they connect with other people in a destination, where they meet locals, and how they find travel buddies online. We got some great responses and a few new ideas we hadn’t considered before.
We hope these travel tips help bring deeper connections and meaning to your trips:
Travelers’ Tips For Meeting Locals
“I love doing some quick research for people in my field. I regularly search for local founders of interesting companies and reach out ahead of time. This always provides a cool perspective because you have a lot in common but likely in very different environments. Also, Facebook Graph Search to find “friends of my friends who live in X” (or are currently in X). Of course just talking to people once I’m there is always a big one.” – Konrad Waliszewski, Tripscout
Search on Google for “free walking tour” and the city you’ll be in. Quite a few towns have local-led tours. In some countries, they’re led by students eager to meet travelers and practice their English. It’s a great way to get the feel for a new town, find out some insider knowledge, and make friends with local guides.
“We often look at church bulletin boards! Restaurants too sometimes, but more often than not they cater to visitors. The churches usually have pretty authentic events in town.” – @thecompassiscalling
“CouchSurfing! If we don’t surf then we can still contact people and get local tips.” – Lianne Bronzo
“I start at a coffee shop or bar and ask my server/barista [about their favorite places].” – @wanderlust_dietician
“The couch surfing app has a new “Hangouts” feature that has worked out fairly well for me.” – Srivatsa Ray
“I use Meetup often (if a city is supported) to find events or groups of likeminded international A) hustlers B) dancers C) personal development enthusiasts D) videogame nerds E) food lovers.” – Kean Keeks
Sign up for a Help Exchange or Work Away experience to live with a local and save money while you’re at it. These two online networks connect you with hosts around the world who are looking for help on a variety of projects – from farming to nannying to construction to website work. (There is a small annual membership fee to be able to contact hosts.)
Facebook groups can be a good way to connect with people before arriving or during your stay. Just search for the name of the city along with a particular interest (like hiking)- or search for expat groups in the city. Expat groups are especially helpful if you don’t speak the host country language, and – don’t worry – there are often plenty of non-expat locals in those groups as well, looking to connect with foreigners. Pose a specific question like “Where’s the best spot for coffee and wifi in Cuenca?” or “Would anyone be willing to meet up with us at their favorite tapas bar next week to tell us about the town? Our treat.”
Tips for Meeting Like-Minded Travelers
“Facebook groups are great, and these days I’m very likely to meet people who are friends-of-friends.” – Kit Whelan, 7in7 Conference
The TravelStoke app was made to help you find and meet up with new friends wherever you go in the world.
Search by destination and time period on FindANomad.com to see what other digital nomads you could cross paths with.
Search Instagram “Places” for your next destination. Scroll through the posts for that location and see if you have shared interests with any of the Instagrammers. Comment on their posts and mention that you’ll also be there shortly. You never know, you may eventually decide to meet up – or you can at least ask for tips and recommendations about the area.
If you have more tips to add on how to meet locals with similar interests, or how to meet other travelers online or in person, please share! Leave a note in the comment below, and we may add your advice to our list!
If you’re looking for more in depth information about how to find local experiences on your next trip, we’ve gathered our very best advice in a free e-mail series. Subscribe here.
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