What could be more daunting than the idea of making and losing friends while traveling the big, wide world? Whether solo or already a part of a group, travel friends are vital. There is something about experiencing this beautiful world with kindred souls that makes it all worth it. Between being far from family and showing up in an unfamiliar country with zero plan, friends can ease you back into a sense of homeliness.

Whether introverted or extroverted, preferring wild nights or jazzy, intimate evenings, there are some common themes when making (and losing) friends while traveling. The best part? Life is unpredictable but sometimes, every so often, it has unmissable patterns. Friendship abroad fits into this category, thankfully. Here are a few Travel Noire tips for being in wonderful company while exploring the world.

The number one tip to making friends abroad is…

Be open! We cannot go on with the list before stressing this one. No one wants to travel with someone who operates with judgemental, cold, or close-hearted vibes. Most travelers are known for being open-minded souls anyway, but a big red flag is when someone refuses to approach situations with openness. This may look like: expecting to experience home country/culture values while traveling, saying ‘no’ to adventure or new things regularly, expecting everyone to think how they do, and disregarding local livelihood, just to name a few.

Keeping things open and free-flowing is how to invite the kind of travel stories that make life interesting. Keep that in mind when choosing travel friends! 

Expand your social circle

solo travel

So, you’re in a new city with a new adventure waiting ahead. There is no other way to approach the trip than by learning your comfort zone and easefully stepping beyond it, so as to expand it. Yes to grounding yourself in your values and a big yes to knowing your limits, but it’s always a good idea to try something new. We hinted at this in point 1, but saying ‘Yes’ when it feels right will keep you in the mix for new ways of experiencing a city.

Some ideas include joining a class, trying something that doesn’t exist in your hometown, like hiking if you’re a city-dweller, or even as simple as joining a table when strangers invite you over during your solo dinner plans. As always, we recommend learning a language to help expand your social circle even further. 

Friends you make online

A common way to make friends while traveling is through online connections. Whether you connect through Instagram or other social media groups, seeing an online pal turn into a travel buddy is always a great feeling. Of course, it can go two ways. Either you have great energy offline as you do online or you realize the city is the only thing you have in common. Both are okay! The key is knowing which friends remain as people you connect with and support digitally and which ones you can maintain offline relationships with. 

Knowing when it is time to part ways

Carefree african woman walking on empty country road, enjoying the sun.

It is inevitable, isn’t it? Friendships end at home as they do abroad. The difference is, perhaps, being in constant movement or adjusting to being in a new country, so it feels different. The reality is, making friends while traveling can be a matter of timing. Maybe you happen to be in the exact same city at the exact same time and it feels extremely aligned. On the flip side, maybe you find yourself 1,000 miles away and entirely disconnected from the people in your new home. Or maybe it is a mixture of the two. 

The best way to go about it is not to over-attach when making friends while traveling. Treasure the moments, jokes, and memories and take them for what they are. Everyone is on a journey while traveling, so it seems right to be in flow rather than forcing friendships to fit a particular form that may no longer exist.  

Long-term vs. short-term friendships

We’ve all heard of seasonal friendships. The trick to making friends while traveling is accepting that some friendships will be lifelong and others will be temporary. Whether it’s a gut feeling or a gradual parting, short-term friendships have a specific feel about them. Bursts of joy or shared experiences in new cities are usually the best ways to describe them.

Long-term friendships usually include lots of WhatsApp calls from around the world a handful of times during the year. They’re usually friendships that represent who you have become or are becoming and there is a lot of respect and patience for your lifestyles, whether you’re in the same timezone or not. 

Related: How To Be An Impactful Expat Wherever You Go