Ways of making local friends #ConvoStarter

Kate Thomas travel conversationWelcome to our second post of conversation starters! I say “our” because we are really doing this together, you and me, and other travelers or dormant travelers who join our conversation.

In the first “Conversation Starter” post, we talked about whether or not making friends while traveling can transform and enhance the way we experience a destination.

Many of the commenters raved about the enriching nature of these connections and even shared a few of their own travel stories. But one of the commenters, Ben, raised an issue that I often hear and wanted to highlight. He wrote:

“OK, unlike the rest of the bunch, I actually do think it’s quite difficult to meet people in foreign countries in a short period of time, even if you speak the language! The fact is that even the most adventurous and immersion-minded of us can face issues stemming from the fact that a vacation is short by definition. To make local friends in a non-contrived way often requires an “in” of some sort – and getting that first step is often what’s hard. It also probably depends on what city / country you’re in – but short of making plans ahead of time through various social networks to “meet” locals, seems hard to do in a spontaneous way.”

I’m interested to hear what you think of this comment. Have you had a similar problem? Or if you have succeeded in making local friends on a short trip, how did you do it? Also, if there was a service or company out there that could solve this problem, what would you like it to be or to do?  I know of many, I will share them with you on the next Conversation Starter post. 


  • Amy

    Ya. Ben is right. When you are on a vacation for a short time it can be super difficult to make friends who are from my destination. I’m more likely to make friends (or at least have conversations) with other travelers, actually.

    I wish there was some kind of app that could tell me what is happening in my vicinity in terms of local events by interest. I might not make a new friend but at least I’d know what locals were up to around me. Just an idea.

    • travelwithkate

      Oh I like that app idea, Amy! I know of quite a few iterations that are already out there that do what you are looking for. I’ll be sure to provide them in the next post.

  • Vicky

    Sometimes it’s easier to make friends when traveling alone because of necessity…

  • Kathy Madoyan

    Yes, what Ben said is very true. How easy it is to make local friends in a foreign place in a non-contrived way can largely depend on the location you’re in. I think knowing at least one local person has always allowed me to make friends in the areas I’ve traveled, and I see how much that facilitated the process in retrospect. I really like the app idea! I would love to have notifications of social hang out/events of wherever I am – I’m looking forward to your next post about travel apps!

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