Whether you are backpacking around Europe or road-tripping around Australia, chances are you have met an array of travellers along the way. I have been travelling solo for almost three years and I have met a variety of travellers, from the spiritual hippies, to the ‘Gap Yah’ kids. My favourite thing about travelling is the amazing and different people from all over the world that you encounter. However sometimes your travels can take you to a new place, with no travellers in sight and it can get a bit lonely. I recently moved to a new town in Australia and with a bunch of time on my hands I wanted to connect with other travellers and go on adventures. I tried out a bunch of different apps and sites to find new travel buddies, here is how it went.
So I know what you are thinking, Tinder to meet travellers? But stay with me here. Once you have cut through all the dick pics and sexual innuendos, it can actually be a good way to meet backpackers. Firstly I set my profile up to represent exactly what I was looking for. I posted travel related pictures and put in my bio that I was looking for ‘adventure friends’. Now don’t get me wrong a lot of responses I got were from juice heads looking for a hook-up, with some rather unsavoury chat up lines; but once I had cut out the wrong people, I actually managed to find some pretty cool guys to go on adventures with. Top tips:
- Don’t swipe right if they have a photo in the bathroom/gym with their shirt off and earphones in.
- Focus on foreigners – they are usually more up for exploring
- Go for friendly looking over hot!
- Avoid scary looking selfies
I focused on swiping right for guys who were travelling the country I was in, or some locals who seemed like they had interesting hobbies. I avoided the gym buff selfie types, like the plague. I also looked for any photos of interesting hobbies like; surfing, hiking, diving, fishing etc. and I managed to connect with some decent men who wanted to get out and explore. I went to an Australian Rugby game, for free. I went and watched a surfing competition with a tinder match, I got offers to go scuba diving and fishing and met some really cool people. I also just went for a drink with a charming Irish chap, and we discussed travelling for hours, my favourite topic!
I only recently discovered that there were dedicated Facebook groups for travellers, I could utilise to meet people. One of my favourites is a group called ‘Girls Love Travel’, which as the name suggests is a group for girls that love travel. The group is girls only (sorry boys) where they post travel ideas, photos, questions and advice. It is basically a support network for girls travelling.. The group also create meet-ups all over the world. Recently I attended a meet-up on the Gold Coast in Australia, where about 15 girls from a range of countries met one evening in a park for a bbq. It was a great way to meet travellers living nearby and connect with some pretty cool ladies. Alongside GLT, there are dedicated backpacker groups in almost every country. For example Australia Backpackers or Backpackers New Zealand are great groups for tips on travelling the country and a way to meet other travellers.
My mates swear by couchsurfing. Alongside the ability to find somewhere to stay for the night, or host somebody, you can use the site to find meet ups in your area. I have tried to use it where I am as a way to meet up with other travellers, but unfortunately there haven’t been a lot of events in the area I am in. When I was living in London, there were events popping up constantly. If you are in a city, it seems that couch surfing is a great way to meet people.
Recently there has been a bunch of new travel apps popping up, designed to connect travellers around the world. Unfortunately a lot of them are still establishing themselves and member numbers are still quite small, so finding people nearby can be difficult. Apps such as; Tripr, Backpackr, Outbound and Herepin, are all dedicated to backpackers that want to network and give/receive advice on the best local spots. I only managed to meet one backpacker from the Backpackr app, the others didn’t have members near me, or meet-ups near me. But the apps are definitely worth checking out, maybe you will have more luck wherever you are.
So in this digital age, there are definitely more ways to meet people, and specifically people travelling. Tinder and Facebook worked best for me, however getting out and about is still, for me, the easiest way to meet people. Most of the people I have met up with continually have been randoms, I have met on the piss! So go for beers in the hostels, check out local bars, get out there and try and find some awesome people to adventure with!