How to Meet People While Traveling Solo

July 17, 2019 New York, NY, USA

How to Meet People While Traveling Solo

If you're traveling solo and don't know where to start in finding people to connect with. Here are effective ways and tips to meet people abroad while traveling.

How to Meet People While Traveling Solo.
One of the most asked questions I get about solo traveling from friends, family, or strangers is "How do you meet other people?" Solo traveling doesn't mean you're going to be lonely and isolated. Unless you want to travel that way (no judgements here) but that's not the case if you landed on this post! In fact, I meet the most people when I'm solo traveling. Everyone is always surprised when I say that but it's completely true. The idea of solo traveling can be daunting for some but for others it's a very liberating experience. If you want reasons as to why you should solo travel (click here) to read more.

I'm in no way a social butterfly nor an outgoing person. I would say I'm pretty shy and reserved but when I travel abroad alone, I just attract conversations from people. I guess the famous saying of "you attract the energy you give off" is true in a way. If you want to meet people then your first step is to appear as approachable as possible. Make eye contact and smile, ask how they're doing. You can do this anywhere, whether it's when you're out exploring a city, taking public transport, or eating at a restaurant. Keep a positive and friendly attitude while traveling. Making friends is a million times easier when you’re upbeat and happy. No one wants to chat or approach someone with a negative Nancy energy. 

Another thing to note when trying to meet other people while traveling is being open minded. Give everyone you meet a chance. If you pass judgment on everyone you meet by the way they look, dress, talk, act- you're not going to form any type of connection with anyone to be quite frank. If you just look and seek out people like you, you’re doing it very very wrong. Engage with everyone especially in different age groups. Everyone you come across has a different story from yours, so take the time to listen and learn from them.

When you're abroad it's also the time to stop feeling embarrassed. If you don't usually put yourself out there while being at home, don't bring that energy abroad. This is the time to get out of your comfort zone! Be the conversation starter, go to local meet-ups, dance like no ones watching, do things you don't do at home! You won't go very far in meeting anyone for that matter if you isolate yourself in your hotel room or sit in a corner and don't interact with anyone.

There are many different ways to meet others while traveling, and you may even make a life-long friend or better yet may find a significant other. I also have a post about safety tips and advice when traveling alone (click here) to read more. At the end of the day, the people you come across your travels are what makes your memories of that trip stand out. Think of all the places where people are social and make your way there. Here are some of the best ways to make new friends while traveling solo.

Your Accommodation.
No matter what your accommodation situation, you can find ways to connect with people. Here are some recommendations for all accommodation types.
  • Hostels are the easiest places to meet people. It's set up to be a communal environment. As soon as you step one foot inside, you will be meeting so many people. The majority of the people who stay in hostels are usually other solo travelers. A lot of solo travelers especially travelers who travel long term have an open schedule and so they more willing to join in on adventure with you.
  • Adult Only Hotels/Resorts is another alternative if hostels aren't your thing. Staying in adult only accommodations lets you meet other individuals around your age. As opposed to staying in family hotels/resorts, everyone is only focused on their own family and don't really branch out to meeting other people. Staying in more trendy hotels/resorts is a great idea because they usually have happy hour mixers, or themed nightlife activities to join in to meet other people who are staying on the property.
  • Airbnb tends to attract some of the coolest hosts on the planet. Ask your host to connect you with some of their local friends who share your interests or point you in the direction of neat places/events that you won't read about in a guidebook. If your host as an open schedule and loves meeting travelers they tend to invite you to dinner or show you around.
  • Couchsurfing is an option I've heard from many travelers but I haven't personally used myself yet. You basically stay at a hosts home for free whether it's crashing on their couch or if you're lucky maybe in their extra room. What draws many people to taking this route is that you're instantly connecting with a local. You get a deeper connection with someone by learning new things from a locals perspective but also gaining a new friendship.

Social Media.
Social media connects people in so many ways even while traveling. So use social media to your advantage. Facebook is a great way to connect with people abroad through your mutual friends. If you post that you're going abroad maybe one of your friends can connect you with their friends or family who live there in that specific location. If this doesn't work, go and search Facebook groups and join a few that interest you. There are many travel related Facebook groups that you can join and post and say "I'm going to be at this destination on these dates, anyone willing to meet up." Not only will you get to meet someone who has similar interests but also they can show you around their favorite spots if they are a local.

Apps are another great way to meet people whether its dating apps, meetup apps, or friends apps. The dating app Bumble has a BFF feature you can use to meet people with similar interests just looking for friendship. Check the Couchsurfing app or website for local Couchsurfing meetups and events. Use the Meetup App to find local meetups about whatever you’re into – running, photography, etc. And if you're seeking an international love connection of course dating apps are an easy way to set up dates when abroad.

City Tours + Activities.
  • Free walking tours often attracts other travelers looking to make new friends. Not only do you see some city highlights but you also can find people people to hang with afterwards. I usually find these tours to be more interesting than paid tours as well. While free walking tours are more prominent in European cities, free walking tours can be found worldwide. Some tours just have a meeting time and location, while others may require you to sign up beforehand. The guides typically work solely on a tip-based income so remember to bring some local currency if you’d like to show your appreciation. Often, the company offering free walking tours will also have other paid tours to delve deeper into more specific interests around the city.
  • Bus tours attract tourists in big cities. Usually there are hop on and hop off bus tours but also there are bus tours that show you around for a couple of hours. For the most part you get a head-set and listen to the historical facts and get quick interesting facts about places you pass by. But if you either see another fellow solo traveler on the bus or a group of people you think you can connect with, you can easily strike up a conversation with them since you're on the same tour. You never know where those conversation can lead to whether it's just recommendations on things to do around the area or meeting up later on in that day to eat dinner or get some drinks.
  • Join a group tour. Whether it's a day group tour, multi-day group tour, or week-month long group tour- try it out! I know many people aren't fans of group tours because they don't have that control over the itinerary. But many people don't realize there are many different kinds of group tours out there, it's just choosing the right one. I have a blog post all on the topic that goes into more detail (click here) to read more. You may be thinking why would you join a group tour if your solo traveling? Well majority of group tours have solo travelers on them. It's a great way of sightseeing and learning about the destination you are in but not having to plan out the logistics because it's already taken care of. Also if you have been solo traveling for a long period of time, joining a group tour just makes meeting people more effortlessly and switches up the dynamic of your trip! I've met the most incredible people through group tours and still have contact with them till this day.

Join a Class.
One of the best ways, in general, to meet like-minded people is to get out there and do what you like to do. If you like to work out, go to the gym. Maybe you like yoga, you can join a studio. If you like to watch football, find a bar that broadcasts games. Want to learn how to surf, find surfing lessons. You like to dance, find dancing classes nearby. Want to learn how to cook local cuisines, find local cooking classes. Want to scuba dive, find scuba diving courses. Whatever it is that you like to do, go out and do it. When you are doing what you love, you are happier and appear more approachable to others. You're also bonding over a common connection way easier as opposed to meeting people who don't have common interests.

Language Classes.
Group language classes are great for meeting fellow travelers, but more crucially, they enable you to better communicate with the locals. Locals appreciate you taking the time to attempt to learn their language and it just helps you while traveling in that specific country. Although I'm a huge fan of using Google translate or Duolingo, there's something about taking group classes. TNot only are you part of an instant community of people who want to learn a new language but there's accountability there as well.

In these classes, you'll find other travelers who maybe have an open schedule so you can meet up throughout your stay there. But they can also  be your language buddy and you guys can practice together what you just learned in the class.You can either pay for for an official class or look for free language exchange meet-ups (most often advertised at hostels, on Couchsurfing or Meetup, or via location-specific Facebook groups).

Join Local Events.
Using a local app or looking through Facebook events, you can fin local events wherever you are in the world. Not only do you get to experience an event but you get that local authentic experience. You never know who you may come across by checking these events out.
  • Community events
  • Attend festivals
  • Join a pub crawl
  • Go to a concert
  • Attend a conference
  • Visit a local farmer’s markets
  • Get tickets to a sports game
  • Etc!

Volunteer.
There are endless benefits to volunteering and one of the best ones is that volunteering is an effective way to meet new people. Whether you get to know other volunteers, workers or the people you’re helping, you’ll undoubtedly get to chat with a lot of different people. A search online should help you find volunteering experiences in your chosen destination. Not only will you get the chance to meet new people and make friends, but you’ll also get to have a unique experience and make great memories.

Volunteer opportunities range from storm relief, helping out at a local soup kitchen to teaching English abroad. Over the years volunteering while traveling has become more of a popular thing but not all volunteering programs are the same. Whatever volunteering organization you choose, make sure you ask the right questions and make sure your “voluntourism” is actually helping that local community.


Youtube Video.



Comment Below,
Where do you go to meet people when traveling solo?

105 comments

  1. A blogging friend of mine recently mentioned how on a recent trip, she took the time to talk to the bartenders at her resort, made conversation with waiters at restaurants, etc. and was able to make new friends that way! It's certainly possible! And I love hearing your ideas as well!

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    1. Yes that's a also a great way to meet people while traveling solo.

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  2. I've never traveled solo before, but if I did, I would love to meet people. I think that would make the experience so much better.

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  3. These are all fun and great ways to meet people while traveling. I'll have to do some of these the next time I go on a trip.

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  4. So many great tips for meeting people while traveling. Never traveled alone but wouldnt mind it.

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  5. This is something I've struggled with on my solo travels. Thank you for sharing these great tips

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    1. Hope you can implement these tips on your next solo adventures!

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  6. These are awesome ways to meet people while traveling solo. Social media makes that so convenient!

    Kileen

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  7. Thanks for sharing so many tips to meet people while traveling solo. I am bookmarking this post for future reference

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  8. Well, most times, I do meet new people at the boarding stations....bus, mostly!

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  9. Some great ideas here. So much people solo travel so it's great to have some company!

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    1. Yes, many people think that solo travel is lonely but it's anything but that!

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  10. I love to sit at the bar at restaurants and bars and make friends there. I’ve made lifelong friends doing that.

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    1. Yes that's one of my go to moves when trying to meet people!

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  11. We generally travel as a family. I feel in a group we usually ignore the people around. Which shouldnt be the case as I feel what makes a place memorable is it's people. When I travel solo I am more open to the surroundings and here are some good tips to meeting new people. Definitely bookmarking this post for future.

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  12. I get the same reaction from people when I tell them how many people I meet when I travel solo. It's like they think I sit around by myself and don't interact with others. I love meeting people doing local events. I also like to book bike tours in new cities, which affords me a new group a friends every time.

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    1. Yes, I'm more shocked when they ask that question lol. That's a great way to meet people as well!

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  13. I really admire solo travelers. I have gone on trips alone but met up with people while I was there. I would love to do a completely solo trip sometime. Thanks for all of the great tips.

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  14. I am a hard over introvert. So have trouble meeting new people. Once I know someone, they are surprised when I say I am an introvert. So I am always looking for tips to help. I do agree that the energy you put out can attract people to start an interaction with you. Certainly I have met many interesting people when I got past my shyness and reserve. Group tours are definitely a great way to meet like minded people. Travellers have such great stories to share.

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    1. I'm the same way but something changes when I travel when putting myself out there!

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  15. All very good tips! I am not sure if I would have the courage to travel solo. I barely started going to the movies by myself. lol :) But I have had friends how have done it and loved it!

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    1. It's all about baby steps, hope you try solo travel some day!

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  16. I usually use my innocence and charms when meeting people. I also immerse myself with their culture. I am genuine when I talk to them.

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  17. I have made so many friends, who i am still in touch with from travelling solo!! they were my best days

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    1. Same here, those connections and friendships are so great!

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  18. These are great tips for people who love to travel solo. Thank you for sharing.

    xo,
    Jay

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  19. I mostly travel solo and am always trying to meet new people. I'm also a pretty quiet person, but I agree with you that it is almost easier to meet people when traveling. I think free walking tours are a great way to meet people. I've met several people with those. It's often a good way to find a lunch or dinner buddy after the tour too! I like your tip about asking your AirBnB host to connect you with some locals. I've never tried that before.

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    1. Yes meeting with people after walking tours are so great because you instantly have someone to talk to!

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  20. Incredible post made with love and care. There are so many ways to meet great people and even become great friends with some.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this post :)

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  21. Solo traveling sounds really fun.. And those tips are great to meet new friends. Nice blog.

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  22. I haven't travelled solo in AGES. But I used to all the time. ALL the time. And some of the best people I've met in my life were from solo travelling.

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    1. Me too, those friendships along my solo travels were the best!

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  23. Solo travelers are my heroes! It is a good way to save time, see all the places you really want to enjoy.Thanks for all of the great tips.

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  24. Travelling solo is a wonderful thing we should all experience. Those are some great tips and will keep those in mind when I travel again.

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  25. I love to mix and match my travels. While I like going with my partner , I equally like travelling solo. It is somehow easier to get to know other people when alone. I am pretty much similar to you that i am not such a social butterfly but people naturally would talk to you when you are on your own. I made some friends by joining tours as a single traveller. Nice article!

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    1. I like to mix up my travels as well. I agree that it's easier to meet and know other people when alone!

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  26. Traveling solo sounds really fun, especially for single ladies. Haha. Nice tips you've shared here. Thanks.

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  27. Fantastic written post. Its going to be a very long time before I do solo travel again as I now have a family. But I do remember how tough it was at first until I picked things up on the way, how to meet new people, how to be confident and toughen up as well. Its all part of the learning process and this post covers it all.

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  28. I haven't experienced traveling solo for the purpose of just doing it and meeting other people, it's usually for a blog event or work. I wonder how thrilling it can be.

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  29. Honestly, I've never considered CouchSurfing. That is one of the things I've always been scared to try.

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    1. I haven't done it myself either yet but have friends who have and loved it. You can look up reviews from past travelers on the website before staying with a host. That's very helpful when it comes to safety concerns!

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  30. I've been looking into more AirBnB stays when we travel. Makes it easier for the kids.

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  31. I love traveling and meeting people! I have found that people all over the world are nice. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips.

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    1. I agree, the more I travel the more nice people I come across!

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  32. All of these things sound like so much fun! These would be great ways to meet people even if you are traveling with a spouse.

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  33. Just like you I too love to travel for solo trips when not traveling with my wife. That's the time I do a lot of interactions with a lot of local people.

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  34. I agree with social media! Having that first contact before meeting up makes it less intimidating for sure

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    1. It makes it so much easier if you do have a point of contact!

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  35. I’ve only traveled solo one time but these are great tips for the next time I travel solo!

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  36. These are great tips for solo travel! It's so true that traveling alone makes it easier to meet people.

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  37. I have met so many amazing through solo traveling.. Some I know from social media, met at my hostel or at another country. There is some really good choices on this. Love this.

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  38. I love it! I have been living abroad for nearly 15 years. Language classes are one great away to meet new people.

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    1. That's so awesome! Learning the local language is important.

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  39. I have yet to try solo traveling but if I did some of these strategies would be at the top of my list. I am actually moving to another state and one thing I said I would do is join a class or two this way I could meet people with similar interests. I also totally agree with hostels being a super easy way to meet people. It would be my goto if I was solo! Awesome post and suggestions!

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    1. That's awesome! Joining a class is great place to connect when moving to a new place!

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  40. I travel alone all the time and I have met so many wonderful people on the road. Hostels and free walking tours are the most common places to meet people who are traveling solo as well.

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    1. Yes I know, those are easy options to connect with people!

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  41. Great info!Itis really needed when someone travel solo.

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  42. Surekha-dreamingloudNovember 28, 2019 at 8:01 AM

    Thanks for all the information and tips.. These would be really a great
    way to make friends.

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  43. There are some top tips here. I think travelling is all about new sites and also meeting new people xx

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  44. these are great ways to meet new people especial people who have the same interest as you

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  45. This is really interesting!! I never thought about making friends on solo trips but this is a really helpful guide to do so!

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  46. I've never done any solo travelling. I dunno if I ever will. I guess just not in my personality. I don't exactly travel with friends either. I love traveling with family. I love travelling with my sisters...

    I've flown on my own many times, but only to a destination. When I get there I spend time with family and friends.

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  47. This would have been great in my college days! Maybe I'll get back to traveling after my kids are grown. Looks like so much fun!

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  48. Im planning a solo trip next year! So glad I found this article. I’ve been nervous about not meeting people while I travel because I’m such an introvert.

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  49. Great article! My friend travels solo all the time, but the thought of it terrifies me. Good to know lots of great ways to connect with people.

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  50. Hey,

    It's pretty good. I like the way you express things and there are many things which help me in exploring new things.

    Thanks

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  51. The topmost choice is definitely hostels. I've stayed in hostels in a few of my travels before I became a mom! Somehow I've never felt safe about couchsurfing, but that's just me!
    Group tours are amazing too! I've been in a few group tours and made some amazing friends in it! Some who I still in keep in touch after years...
    Another way I use is 'can you click a picture of me?"! Made some friends asking solo traveling strangers to click a pic of me and returning the favour and sometimes we've hung out the rest of the day together! Hahah...

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  52. Whenever I go on a solo trip, I met people usually at the hostel or airbnb that I am staying at. I never have time to meet people then that place as I am always on a go during a trip.

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  53. I completely agree that there's a lot to be said for smiling at people and initiating small talk, because you can usually tell pretty quickly if the other person is friendly. I'm surprised and impressed that you meet more people when you're traveling on your own. But I think a single person is much less intimidating to interact with than a couple or group of people so it does make sense.

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  54. Excellent post Stephanie. Personally I use couchsurfing a lot, it's so easy to find like minded people.

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  55. I'll have to share this with my friends that enjoy to travel solo. I personally don't like to :(

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  56. These are great tips! I would also add, as someone who lives in a city where we get a lot of tourists, is to remember that not all locals want to chat. You may be on vacation but locals live and work in that city and tend to busy people with lives to get on to. I am very introverted and the number of times tourists want to try and get me to tell them my story in random places makes me cringe sometimes. If you just keep your expectations about meeting new people realistic, you'll get more out of your solo travel experience.

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  57. There are some really useful tips here that i'll definitely use next time I'm travelling solo. So glad I found this post!

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  58. I said I wanted to take a solo trip before I turn 30! These are great ideas!

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  59. Traveling solo is something I want to try, but I admit I'm still feeling chicken about it :)
    Your post is very inspiring!

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