“You’re hitting up Finland? Sweet!” “Germany, awesome!” “France, so cool!” Though their excitement would quickly turn to disbelief upon hearing my answer to the question which ALWAYS came next.
“Who are you going with?” they would always ask. And the question always with an air of assumption, as if traveling alone was a concept so alien, and so shocking that the possibility had never even crossed their mind.
“I’m traveling by myself”.
Silence. Disbelief. And then everyone’s reactions were the same. A wave of;
“Wow, you’re so brave!”, “There’s no way I could EVER travel alone”, “Won’t you get lonely?”, “Is that even safe?”, and some would even launch campaigns to talk me out of my stupidity, and when that failed, read the riot act to my mother and father for being irresponsible parents in letting their 18 year old travel alone. Seriously.
Very open minded, forward thinking peers would question my decision to travel alone. Though surprisingly, they were the reason I chose to do so.
Reality Check: It’s Unlikely Your Friends Will Join You
I wanted to travel, so I began making plans. I started saving like crazy, researching every single night, and figuring out who I wanted to take along. I sent out a group text which said “who’s in!”, and received an overwhelmingly positive response. This was going to be the best time of our lives – experiencing the world with a group of my closest friends.
I’m sure everyone who has travelled solo at one point in time has a similar tale. A month or so passes and one of your friends drops out. Another month passes and a few more decide not to go. One friend decides they have no desire to travel anymore at all, and then the date comes which knocks everyone else out too: when it’s time to invest money and initial deposits are finally due.
Faced with the idea of embarking on a journey to faraway and very foreign lands all alone, a lot of people decide they’re not up for the challenge. Many decide that they don’t have the courage to survive as a solo traveler, so the trip doesn’t happen at all. Others might even postpone the trip hoping that they’ll find someone to eventually tag along.
But why should you miss out just because they don’t want to go??!!
Solution: Travel Anyway & Meet People Along the Way
I still wanted to travel. I still spent every night awake in bed researching random destinations, reading every travel article I could find, and spending my free time at the mall chatting with the sales reps in Flight Center. My friends idea of a shopping trip was one which would see them return home with bags of makeup and clothes, where-as my car seats were stacked high with travel brochures I had accumulated instead.
As a generally outgoing and confident person already, the decision for me was a fairly easy one to make. Screw everyone who decided they didn’t want to come. I wasn’t going to let their choices dictate my life, and wasn’t going to miss out on a life-changing experience because I didn’t have the guts to do it alone.
Plus, I was sure I would meet and make new friends along the way – friends who shared the same interests and with the same passion for adventure. And you know what? I did. One of them I even decided to bring home and found myself married to a few years later!
I quickly learned that when traveling solo, you’re hardly ever alone. And even if we only stayed together for the day, the people I met were, in that moment, some of the best and most supportive friends I have ever made. I equate the experience of meeting travellers along the road to what it’s like making friends in kindergarten.
“Do you remember in kindergarten, how you’d meet a kid, and know nothing about them, then 10 seconds later you’re playing like you’re best friends, because you didn’t have to be anything but yourself?” That’s meeting other travellers through solo travel.
But how do you actually meet them? It’s easy. Here’s how.
How to Meet Other Travellers
So you’re travelling and you’ve just arrived in a new destination. Awesome! But how do you meet other travellers? When I started traveling solo there weren’t the sleuth of technology, apps and start-ups which are around today. You were forced to be that outgoing person if you wanted to meet and make new friends, and you were generally limited to interacting with those who were staying at the same hostel.
Though nowadays it’s becoming easier and easier to connect with all travellers around you, and you can find and interact with like-minded travellers before you even arrive. If only apps like Outbound had been around back then!
A social network set up exclusively for travellers, Outbound is a free app which has absolutely blown up since it’s release 5 months ago – everybody wants it on their phone. You can find travellers around you, match travel plans, find events and deals, interact on the noticeboard, and best of all, it has a Wi-Fi finder! You’ll never be without internet again!
Outbound is being used in over 160 countries by thousands of travellers, and it really has become the most mainstream app where travellers connect. In fact, even Busabout is showing the app video throughout their fleet in Europe to connect their passengers through the app. It’s huge.
And while it’s obviously an essential for the solo travellers, it’s been created for all travellers and all interests and ages, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a backpacker, corporate traveller, adventurer, expat or couple, the app doesn’t pigeon hole anyone, and is made to suit everybody’s needs. I’ve even continued using it after having returned home to connect with travellers and help them experience my hometown.
If You Travel You NEED Outbound
No matter what kind of traveler you are, if you travel you NEED Outbound. And it’s free with no annoying advertising or in-app purchases, so when you consider that couples with the below amazing functions, downloading the app should be a no-brainer.
Here’s what it’s got:
Search: Outbound allows you to see fellow travellers that are around you right now, or search for travellers in a destination you are going to. You can message them to ask questions, get tips, meet up for sightseeing, or even just a beer! No matter what type of traveller you are, Outbound has you covered. Search for fellow travellers by traveller type, age, gender, location and more.
Events: It’s great to see what’s on when you arrive at a new destination, and their events page allows you to do just that. Better still, the events are created and posted by fellow travellers! Everything from sightseeing, drinks at a bar, music and sporting events, hiking trips, walking tours and more. With the click of a button you can view events created by fellow travellers, see how many other travellers are attending the event and contact either the host, or other attendees for more details.
Noticeboard: So you have a question? Want advice? Need a lift? Have something to sell? Well put it on the Noticeboard! The Noticeboard is where you can put…. well anything you like. Fellow travellers can view and reply to your topic and add to topic threads – problem solved! The Noticeboard can also be filtered by distance from you, traveller type and you can even view other countries’ noticeboards and search keywords. Your problems will be solved on the Noticeboard.
Explore Trips: Ever wondered who is travelling to your destination at the same time as you? Or who will be in your next destination while you will be there? The ‘next travel’ feature on outbound allows you to do just that. Simply put in your destination, and the dates you are going, and outbound will list all of the other travellers with similar plans. Message them for advice, tips, recommendations or simply make plans to meet up. Wi-Fi Finder: Outbound’s wi-fi finder will help you find wi-fi hotspots in any new location. This feature is run by other Outbounders who have discovered wi fi hotspots for you! Sweet! And if you find a wi fi hotspot “check in” and share your find with other travellers from the Outbound community. Sharing is caring after all… And the best part is when you get to a new location, save the list and view wi-fi hotspot locations off-line. How good is that!
Explore Trips: Ever wondered who is travelling to your destination at the same time as you? Or who will be in your next destination while you will be there? The ‘next travel’ feature on outbound allows you to do just that. Simply put in your destination, and the dates you are going, and outbound will list all of the other travellers with similar plans. Message them for advice, tips, recommendations or simply make plans to meet up.
Wi-Fi Finder: Outbound’s wi-fi finder will help you find wi-fi hotspots in any new location. This feature is run by other Outbounders who have discovered wi fi hotspots for you! Sweet! And if you find a wi fi hotspot “check in” and share your find with other travellers from the Outbound community. Sharing is caring after all… And the best part is when you get to a new location, save the list and view wi-fi hotspot locations off-line. How good is that!
So Please Don’t be Afraid to Travel Solo.
Because with apps like Outbound you’ll never be alone. Find like-minded travellers, no matter where in the world you are. Explore trips and match travel plans. Interact with travellers on the noticeboard, and discover and attend events in any destination. No matter what type of traveller you are, Outbound has you covered.
This is the part where you download the app!
Click to download now on iPhone or Android
INSPIRED? PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓
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Photo credits: Featured photo by The Legendary Adventures of Anna. Framed photo of travellers by Karan Jain. “Meet travellers on your next trip” Pinterest photo by Karan Jain.
Thanks for featuring this app. I am going to download to my phone now.
Glad you enjoyed the review – we love Outbound; maybe I’ll bump into you somewhere around the world through the app!
Glad to learn about this app. I’m going to download it and try it out on my upcoming solo trip around Australia!
Glad to hear Michela! Have a fantastic time in Australia – you won’t have problems meeting people at all, Aussies are a very friendly bunch and we LOVE above all else to socialize and make new friends!!
Enjoy the app!
For business and leisure I have travelled a lot alone without realizing that I was a solo traveller.
The good point about being alone is that you have no limits to timetable or activites and you can please yourself.
The down side is having to dine alone, I don´t always enjoy dinner in the evenings without having someone to share the days news with.
Funny how that does happen, especially with business travel, that you don’t realize you’re a “solo” traveler necessarily. Really does go to the point I think that traveling solo doesn’t have to mean you’re ever alone.
Definitely look into the app – even if it’s just meeting up with another traveller for dinner, there are tonnes of people travelling out there who would really enjoy the good company and conversation of another traveller for the night :)
Before I got married, I only ever travelled alone. By choice. At least I can do whatever I want and go whenever and wherever I want in the destination I’m visiting. I didn’t worry much about traveling alone being male. This app you offer here sounds a very practical one for anyone traveling alone. If I were young again traveling on my own, this would definitely be on my phone or tablet.
Glad to hear you had fantastic experiences travelling alone Michael – it really is one of those experiences which I think everyone should try at least once. As you said, freedom and flexibility of what you want to do, and I think it teaches you to really come into your own.
And one of the best parts of course is the freedom to meet likeminded people like you!
Happy travels :)
Looks like a pretty cool app.
My first solo trip took me to Australia, NZ & Fiji well before the time of internet – and back in the days it was so $$$ to call home you didn’t for 5 months.
Australia NZ and Fiji are fab spots for solo travel, especially when you’re looking to meet new people because everyone’s so friendly and sociable!
Glad that there are so many different forms of technology and social media nowadays to keep in touch with everyone at home while you’re away – and to also stay in touch with those friends you met abroad once you’re home!
Downloaded! Can’t wait to use it on my next trip!
Have fun! You’ll love it!
Super app for solo travelers Meg!
I’ve only traveled solo twice; it helps to have a tool to grow your traveler friend network, that’s for sure.
Thanks for sharing :)
Glad you enjoyed the review Ryan – it really is a super app! It really does help to know you have something in the palm of your hand which allows you to connect and get in touch with other travelers. There’s no reason to be alone!
Oh, how I wish this app was available when I went overland from Beijing to London 15 years ago! The events, the wifi, the trips, all great features. I do have to wonder though, if it’s used as a pick up site at all.
Well, however you wish to use the app I guess!!! Lol from what I’ve seen though it’s genuinely travelers wanting to meet other travelers just to socialize and make friends while abroad, but I guess if love was meant to be!! :D
The WiFi feature is one of my favorites actually – I’m always cursing at international hotels and hostels which charge overprices for WiFi, so I love that you can figure out where you can source it for free with one click!
Great post! So many people have told us they can’t travel like we do because they don’t have anyone to travel with. We’ll point them to this post next time we get that reason! We also love the Outbound app!
Glad you enjoyed it guys! And absolutely – point them here and we’ll smash that notion that they can’t travel alone!!
Megan – this sounds like a pretty cool app. My solo travels were back in the days prior to social media. I met some of my best travel mates on a bus between Nairobi and Arusha. All that to say, this app would’ve saved me time and effort on solo trips afterwards.
OMG I know that bus from Nairobi to Arusha well. Lol I wrote a blog post about it called “The bus trip from hell” :D I’m impressed you managed to meet people lol I spent the whole time purely focusing on not choking on dust :D
But yes, totally an awesome app … I wish it had been around back then too! :)
This is such a great idea. I don’t travel alone too frequently, but I do get the questions a lot. I also have had so many friends commit to a trip only to say they don’t have the money! Well if I waited to have the money, then I wouldn’t ever travel. Friends are great, but it is nice to find people that have the same goals in life to make memories over having belongings. Thanks for sharing. I will have to check this out if I travel on my own in the future :)
Glad you enjoyed the post Angela, and absolutely – friends are great, but you hit the nail on the head when you said that if we waited for them to have the money it would never happen!!
I’ve realized travel only happens when you want to make it happen, so it really is nice to be able to find those people with the same goals and passions to socialize with beyond your normal circle of friends who may not share the same interests :)
I am doing my research for my trip to Tokyo on Sunday and this app is totally going to make my trip better! Downloaded a minute ago whoohoo!
Excellent! Glad we could help and introduce you to Outbound :) You’re going to have such a fab time in Tokyo!! The city is crazy…in a good way!
Happy travels :)
Hi I must say that another great website with app about how to find travel mate is http://www.travelersmeeting.com/
Many people use it for long time now…
Thanks for the tip! Will check it out too :)
cool list! Another pretty awesome app I’ve found is Cool Cousin, which connects you to cool people giving personalized tips about their city.
Thanks for the tip! Will check it out :)
This is a complete revelation, thank you for sharing. Many people assume that if you’re travelling as part of a couple then you have no need for any other human interaction and that you won’t get lonely when travelling. I’ve found both of these things to be completely untrue. In fact, the absence of friends and family makes me want to form other connections with people even more, but I hadn’t known where to start looking until now. It would be so nice to just go to a bar knowing that there would be a group of like-minded fellow travellers there to have a drink with, hopefully this app will help me find that.
You’re welcome Hayley, glad we could introduce you to the app :) And totally agree with you on traveling as a couple – I found it was actually easier to walk up to people in a traveling context or join another group when I was traveling solo, but people seemed more closed off meeting new people when you’re traveling as a couple. So this is definitely great in that sense!