Meetups: Four Places to Make New Friends While Traveling
Meetups are like steroids for making new friends and meeting new people while traveling. At these events, people meet at an appointed time and place to socialize and chat with each other. I’ve met hundreds of people at events like these over the years. Here’s a list of meetups for networking with other travelers and expats.
Meetup.com is the most specialized of these meetups. You can use Meetup find events with people who are interested in the same things as you. I used to go to a writer’s Meetup in Madrid. They have events for all types of interest, from Magic Cards to hiking. Whatever you’re interested in, you can find like-minded people. And if you can’t, create your own event!
How to find a Meetup:
Go to http://www.meetup.com or download the app. Enter your location and browse through the events until you find one that interests you.
CouchSurfing Events usually meet in a local bar or café. They usually have a good mixture of travelers and local people. Anyone can create an event and in big cities there will be tons of them.
The best CouchSurfing Events are recurring weekly because there will typically be more regulars. You can also see how many people are signed up to attend. Also, if there are none where you live, it’s very easy to create a new event,
How to find CouchSurfing Events:
Go to www.couchsurfing.com or download the app. Create an account. It will list all the local events on the first page. (Also check out my post about CouchSurfing Hangouts.)
Internations is an expat networking organization that hosts events all over the world. In most big cities, they host an event once a month. These events are like a huge cocktail party with people from all over the world. You can walk up to anyone and start a conversation because the guests are very friendly and open.
How to find Internations events:
Go to www.internations.org and create a profile. You tell them where you live and they will send you a monthly email to remind you there is an event.
Language exchanges are when a group of people decide to get together every week to practice languages with each other. You can find them in most big cities. If you are a native English speaker living abroad, people will be excited to talk to you. They are great for meeting people from different countries and practicing a language at the same time.
(See my full post: A Guide to Language Exchanges.)
How to find language exchanges:
Search “[city name] + language exchange” on either Google or Facebook. Sometimes blogs will provide a schedule of language exchanges within a given city. You can also find language exchanges listed on CouchSurfing Events, Meetup.com, and Internations!