If you’re traveling solo (or with friends), one of the best moments of trips is making a local friend who will show you the ropes of a city. There’s nothing like walking around with a knowledgeable local, hanging out all night learning about the local culture/food/language, and knowing that you have someone to meet up with next time you’re back in town.
Here are 5 ways to meet locals (and other travelers) when traveling:
Get a place to sleep at a local’s home
Think about Couchsurfing and Airbnb. Both are organisations which offers you to stay at a local’s home during your trip.
I think most of the people knows Airbnb already. Random people can rent their room, apartment or house to tourists in the city. People from all over the world are renting their accommodation. From nice and modern accommodations to very unique accommodations, you can all find it here. Just type where you would like to go to and chose the accommodation which appeals to you. One of the many reasons why tourists decide to stay at a local’s home via Airbnb is because you can meet new, local people. Furthermore, if the owner of the accommodation is open for it, he or she can show you around the area and let you see the hotspots.
Couchsurfing is just a little different from Airbnb. It is a community where you can contact the locals who are providing a sleeping place in their home for free. With this community you can meet new people and your host can show you around the area when they are open for it. In my opinion, this is even a bit more personal than Airbnb, because you have much more contact with each other beforehand. But why would the locals do this? Let somebody you do not know sleep in your home? Well, I can understand it. You have to be very trustful, but I think they are very open and would like to meet new people. By renting your home, you can meet all different kind of people and that is nice. And if you have the room for it, why not?
Meet up with local people at your destination
When you first read that sentence, I know you would immediately think ‘But how?’. Well, also for this one, there are several websites/applications to get in touch with locals and to meet up with them at your destination. You can go for a drink or you can ask the person if he or she wants to show you more of the place. An example of an organisation which give you the chance to meet locals, is Meetup. There are a lot of people on the website who have the same interests as you.
Furthermore, on Facebook I am a member of the group Meeple. This is a page where you can meet some new people and connect with the locals. When you are going on a trip, you can just ask if someone want to meet up at your destination to drink something or whatsoever. Furthermore, you can just ask the locals for some tips and ask them to show you around the place when you will be there. It is a nice place to meet new people. Everyone in the group is a traveller and very enthusiastic about meeting new people. The group on Facebook also has a website, where you can even find more information about the community.
Have dinner at a local’s home
The most popular website when it comes to having a dinner at a local’s home, is Withlocals. At this website you can get in contact wih locals who would like to invite you for dinner. You can either cook with them or they can cook for you, but one thing is for sure: you will get a nice, local meal and you will meet new people. Absolutely the number one community where you can meet locals!
Another website for having a dinner at a local’s home, is EatWith. This is a little bit different than Withlocals. Here you can actually eat at the home of the most creative chefs of that destination. The thing in common with Withlocals is the fact that you get to meet a local and have a nice (and maybe local) dinner at their home.
Get a tour around the area by a local
Not only can you have a dinner at a local’s home via Withlocals, you can also get in contact with the locals to meet up and let them show you around the area. Who else can do that better than a local? They know all the hotspots of the place and can give you a real, local experience during your trip.
Ventoura is kinda the same as Withlocals. It provides communication between the tourist and the local and it provides special tours, given by the locals. For every interest there is a tour and all the guides seem to be young, hip and well-traveled.
And then there is also Toursbylocals. A community which can be compared to Withlocals and Ventoura. At this website you also can find different kind of tours you can take with the locals.
Travel solo and visit smaller towns
As a solo traveller you will get faster in contact with the locals then when you travel with others. I can truly think of the fact that, when you travel solo, you are more focused on everything around you instead of who is with you. Your world is opened up more and that in turn makes yourself more open. Even if it looks scary, just try it ones. Make sure to visit some smaller towns. Here you’ll have much more interaction with locals than in the bigger cities.