Whether you’re in a different country, a different state, or even a town a few hours away…being alone when traveling is never fun. Luckily, there are lots of websites and apps that help you make friends wherever you are. If you’re planning on traveling soon, be sure to check out these handy tools to make sure you’re never alone!
By Keith David Langston
Bumble, the popular dating app has a new feature – BFF. On BFF, the goal isn’t dating or hooking up, it’s simply to make new friends, and I can personally say, it works. I moved to New York City recently, and I made my best friend on Bumble BFF. He’s a straight finance bro who loves craft beer, and I’m a gay writer who doesn’t drink. If it wan’t for the app I probably never would have spoken to him in real life. So go ahead….you never know, there could be a new friend around the corner!
Gumtree is sort of like the Craigslist of other countries, but it’s a lot less sketchy. Each country uses Gumtree differently. For example, Gumtree USA isn’t very common, but if you’re traveling out of the country, then Gumtree Australia, and Gumtree South Africa are massive. Gumtree has multiple categories for meeting new people such as “Community,” “Sports & Fitness,” and “Friends & Dating.” When I lived in Melbourne I joined a group of stand up comedians through Gumtree…they weren’t funny at all (every joke ended with “At least it’s not Frankston”) but it was a great way to make friends!
Gather ’round everyone, and let me tell you about the time we had a guy stay on our couch for a few months. Couchsurfing is an app where hosts offer their couches FOR FREE to random strangers to sleep on for indeterminate amounts of time. Back in undergrad I shared a 3 bedroom apartment with 8 guys. Apparently that wasn’t enough for my hipster roommate who insisted we join Couchsurfing so he could meet some “cool and interesting people.” Our couchsurfer was a guy from Montreal who was interning in the US. He was supposed to stay for a week until he found an apartment, but finding a cheap apartment on the fly proved to be difficult, and he basically just kind of ended up living with us a for a while. In a 3 bedroom apartment, the difference between 9 and 10 is unnoticeable anyways. The concept of privacy was already gone and It ended up being a lot of fun!
If things like Bumble and Gumtree sound like too much effort, perhaps you should check out Travel Pal. This streamlined app is straight and to the point. There are two sides: travelers and locals. Locals help travelers in their cities. You can message a local and ask for help, or even suggest a coffee date for a chat. In return, it’s hoped that when you return home, you’ll join the Local section in your city so you can help travelers too!
Probably the most known website on this list, MeetUp has long been the place to go when you…have no place to go. Meet Up offers various user-generated group activities. All you have to do is say “I’m coming” and then you show up, and bam! Instant friendship. I’ve done tons of MeetUps like Bar Trivia Tuesdays, Pizza Night, Movies Lovers, and so forth. Browse the listing of events in your city (or the city you’re planning on visiting) and find the one that’s right for you!
FLIP THE TRIP
Flip The Trip is where you go to meet travel buddies. You can make a post saying “I’m traveling to so and so…come join me,” or you can respond to someone else’s post who needs a travel buddy. You can even say “I live in New York City and am happy to show someone around!” Whether you’re looking for a wingman or someone to visit a museum with you, you can find them on Flip the Trip!