Moving to a new place can feel lonely at the beginning, especially in the beginning when you don’t know anyone. Check out my 10 ways, that worked for me, on how to meet locals when living abroad.
Couchsurfing is a platform where you usually can find free accommodation while travelling, however it also serves as a platform to connect with people. Just search for Couchsurfing local events and you will create your own local community in no time.
Hi Hi Guide
Hi Hi Guide is the best platform to meet locals abroad as you can book your own private tour for very affordable money. The best thing is they get paid by the hour, not by person. So, if you travel with a bunch of friends, you will get a great deal, but even if you travel solo.
When you book a guide, you can also choose the topic you are interested in, for example food, fun, history etc. The tour will then be customised for you. You can be sure, you will end up in places where you probably wouldn’t have gone yourself, and make new friends easily. What are you waiting for? Book your guide!
Another great platform to use in order to meet locals abroad is EatWith. Simply sign up for free and enjoy shared meals in over 130 countries. It is a great way to try traditional food AND make new connections!
Sign up for language classes, either just for a week or a few months. Sometimes you even find gratis ones. Not only will you improve your language skills which makes communication easier, but you’ll also meet with the teachers outside of the class who will take you to fun places and have loads of insider tips.
You can find language class by simply surfing through the Internet, checking Facebook groups for language exchange events or through apps like Duolingo.
Withlocals is a great website that allows you to connect with locals and basically book a tour. The advantage is that they will show you an authentic part of their culture and city, which also includes food and general tours.
Another great platform to meet locals when living abroad is Meetup. Just find local groups and events to join, such as weekend hiking trips, karaoke, pub crawls, language exchanges and much more.
Join Social Clubs or Pickup Sports
A good idea is always to look out for social clubs, which can range from book, hiking, cooking, dancing, sewing, biking clubs etc. Also the going to the gym is an option.
You usually can find them on the Internet or through platforms like Facebook. You will see that you make friends and meet many locals in no time.
When you have to travel from A to B sometimes it is more convenient to go by car than by public transport. If you don’t have a car yourself, BlaBlaCar offers a great alternative.
You basically search for people online who drive to the city you want to go to and then join them in their car. This way, you often meet locals from one of the two cities who might even invite you to hang out once you arrive.
Party with a local
Just as the app name, Party with a Local, already implies, you can connect with locals and fellow travelers to party. You can go for a drink or two, or get wild and crazy. It is up to you.
With this app you have the opportunity to party with over 200.000 locals in 150 countries around the world. Let’s Party!
For example, in Ireland I found many local volunteer events like beach cleaning, gardening for down syndrome, teaching older people how to use iPads, serving homeless people and much more.
Search Facebook Groups or the Internet for dance classes, especially dances that require partners. Often you can find even free ones in a bar.
When I lived in Ireland, I went to a pub on a regular basis to learn a bit of Irish dancing. It was always big fun, plus I met lots of locals and other expats.
Most of us probably know Tinder. Even though there are split opinions about this app, you will be surprised on how well it serves to meet locals when living abroad. Yes, it is a dating app!
So, if you are single you might want to check it out. On the other hand, you sometimes meet people for dates, but then just happen to become friends instead. Mission accomplished!
When you first move to a new city, you won’t have accommodation right away. A great option, if you don’t want to stay in hostels with many people, is to rent a room or flat temporarily via AirBnb.
Often the hosts are very nice and if you get a conversation going, you might have made a new friend right there.
Last but not least, use every opportunity to meet people, such as in cafes, restaurants, bars, during tours, in the bus, train, etc.!
I also found that knowing just a bit of the language spoken in the country was especially helpful in meeting locals and making friends abroad. So make an effort and don’t be lazy!
Did you ever use any of those apps, and what was your experience?