Stay connected while travelling
In the modern world, we use social media to meet people and keep in touch with current friends. Social media can be used to meet new people while travelling. So, if you’re a solo traveller, starting out in a new country or just want to meet new people (other than the ones you’re travelling with) then here are some apps that can connect you to both travellers and locals. I’ve only included apps that help you to meet locals and well as other travellers because the aim is to meet local people.
4 ways to use social media to meet people
Couchsurfing (IOS/Android) is a community of travellers from all over the world that you can connect with. Once you’re signed up (click here to find out more about Couchsurfing), on the home dashboard scroll down towards the bottom of the page to events and you’ll be able to see the events happening in your location. I’ve used it to go to a free walking tour and a language exchange event.
The hangouts feature allows you to see other couchsurfers in the local area who want to meet up. Firstly, you say what you want to do in your status. In the status, your can choose one of the default statements or write one of your own, for example, ‘go exploring’ or ‘have a beer’. People can see your status and can request to join you, and vice versa you can see what people want to do, as well as see any groups that have been created and request to join.
To join a handout
- On the app, click browse hangouts
- Search the person or people that want to do the same activity as you
- Click on the person/ people and wait for them to accept your request to join their hangout
- Start talking and arrange and meeting point.
To create you own hangout
- Click browse handouts
- Click on dropdown menu at the bottom of the screen
- Wait for people to request to join you hangout
Tips when using Couchsurfing hangouts
- Join a group (if a group has been created) rather than individuals, as someone from the group is more likely to reply. Although requesting to join individuals can also works.
- Request to join more than one hangout; again it will increase your chances of a reply
- Notifications from the app are slow, so once you’ve decided that you’re going to meet use alternative methods of communication i.e. WhatsApp that will speed up the process.
- Meet in a public area where there are lots of people, preferably during daytime or early evening.
In conclusion, Couchsurfing hangouts are a great way of meeting travellers and native, especially when you’re a solo traveller. I used it when I was in Rome and I met a local and traveller. He showed us round a part of Rome and told us that best places to visit at night. Again in Rome a met another traveller and we had dinner together. He told me where the cheap places were to eat in Rome, that was very useful. Meanwhile, there will be some days were you’re not able to connect with anyone, but that’s not the app that’s just people.
Meetup (IOS/Android) is a fantastic way of doing a wide range of activities while meeting new people including locals, expats and travellers. Groups include sport and fitness, business, religious, cultural and more, so there’s a group for everyone. You can join as many groups as you want and once you’ve joined a group you’ll get notifications on upcoming events. You have the freedom of picking and choosing the events you go to, there’s no commitment. Some groups require for you the chip in for costs such as getting a train to a location or ingredients for a dish in a cookery class, which is only fair. While other activities are completely free and all you need to bring is yourself.
- Fill in your details including your nationality and the current country you’re in
- Select the category of interests and join group of your choice
- Look at the group events and RSVP the event you wish to go to.
Creating a group
If there isn’t a group that hasn’t been created you can create your own and become the organiser. Creating a group of your own incurs a fee, which is the membership fee starting from $2.99 per month, however you can request a fee from members of the group. You can also make the group public or private and members join by request.
I’ve been to quite a few meetups and have met a lot of locals and foreigners this way. A bonus is that you’re meeting people that enjoy the same activities as you. It’s always a good way to learn about the local culture by talking to locals and getting involved in cultural groups. I’ve been to a street bull running event where I meet a lot of Valencian locals and I’ve learned that Marching bands are part the tradition before the army used to go into battle. I’ve also seen other parts of Valencia and done activities that I’ve never done for example hiking. So it’s a great opportunity to try something new with new people.
Search for the location and activity that you want to do and you’ll be able to find a group. Join the group and check when the group is meeting up. Being part of a group or team is a great way to meet locals with the same interest as you. It also helps you to settle into the new country, and by being in a group you can build friendships and contact, also well as learn about the culture, language and other information to help you get started in a new place. Furthermore, you can found out events and festivals that are happening via Facebook (IOS/Android). You can also be invited to events by joining groups. One of my colleagues found a sailing group for me via Facebook; thereafter I followed her trend and found lots of other groups via Facebook. Unfortunately, I can’t go to the sailing course as I couldn’t afford it but at least I knew it was there, for when I could.
If you’re single, Tinder (IOS/Android) is not only a kick hook up but can also be used to meet others and have a chat. You can meet travellers and natives alike; thereafter it’s up to you what happens. I spoke with other traveller and he told me that he’s used tinder for find a host. I’m not sure how that happened but there you go, the possibilities are endless. Setting up a Tinder account is pretty simple but you will need a Facebook account, it link to Facebook but it won’t show on your Facebook profile. You can also link it to Instagram to upload photos onto Tinder. Keep your profile short and simple and be honest.
What social media do you use to meet people while travelling?