“You’re going alone?! How are you going to meet people?!”
That was the response I received from many people when I told them that at the age of 18, I was heading off to travel around Europe for a month on my own.
Now no matter how many people said this, it never put me off. I’d never travelled solo before so I didn’t know if they were right or wrong. But it just made sense to me in my head, that people travelling through Europe, whether in a group or alone, would want to socialise with others and if you wanted to meet people you could. It also made sense to me that if you’re travelling in a group, you already have friends with you, so you’re probably less likely to go out of your way to meet people. On your own, you’re going to have to meet people (If you want to of course).
So I set off across the English Channel to mainland Europe on my first solo trip. I visited 11 destinations in 9 countries, met the coolest people ever, and had the best time of my life. After my euro trip, I came home with the satisfaction of knowing that I was proved correct. I met countless people travelling – too many to remember. I went on nights out with people from all over the world, I visited the touristy sights, chilled in water parks and travelled with them to other destinations. Solo travel around Europe is an experience I will never forget. Here are a few reasons I think Europe is so great for solo travel.
The Hostel Scene
I’m probably not alone in saying that Europe has the best hostel scene in the world. The quantity and quality of hostels across the continent is second to none and they are woven into the society of each country. Hostels are a melting pot of different people and personalities. They provide an excellent place to meet new friends and you will meet plenty of solo travellers in the hostels. A lot of hostels have communal areas where you can take a seat and get chatting to people. You can meet people as a solo traveller anywhere in the world but having the best hostels means Europe is one of the best places to do it!
It makes sense right? If you speak the same language it’s going to be easier to meet other people! Fortunately, most countries in Europe teach English to their students. As a result, most of the populations of these countries can have a conversation in English, sometimes better than us English people! It’s Easy to meet people in most European countries so don’t be afraid to say hi, they’ll most likely understand you!
There’s also a tonne of other languages in the region so if you speak another language other than English or the countries native one, you’re likely to find someone who speaks it!
Ease of travel
The borderless region of the Schengen Zone in Europe means that meeting up with other people in other parts of the European region is easy as pie. Once you’re in the zone you can cross into other countries like you would cross the road. This zone makes it easy to travel with your new found buddies or meet up with people you know who are dotted around the region! The great transport links in the region also help to keep up with friends and make it easy to travel with them. There are tonnes of low-cost airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair, a great network of railways with high-speed trains (a lot slower the further east you go), and great coach companies that travel between countries such as Eurolines. This means you’re never far away from your new friends or that next destination you want to explore!
The great Hostels that were mentioned previously also put on guided tours, pub/bar crawls as well as fun little events which are a great way to meet people. Fun little events could include movie nights, wine and cheese nights or board game nights which are a fun and easy way to meet people. Most hostels put on guided tours which are sometimes free and will show you around your location for a few hours or the whole day – get chatting to the person next to you about how much your legs are aching! Pub crawls will show you some of the places to drink that are located around your accommodation. Pub crawls are great to meet people as bonds are formed much quicker with a little bit of alcohol in the system 😉 Have no fear – hostels want their guests to meet each other and will give you countless opportunities to do so!
There’s so much to do!
Whether your binge drinking in front of the Eiffel Tower, swimming in Lake Bled, exploring beautiful Budapest, or exploring the stunning art of Florence, you will never run out of things to do in Europe. Each country has a distinct charm and the different regions within each country vary widely. Even though the region is right on my doorstep I never knew how much it had to offer before actually visiting each country!
Life as a solo travel is a myriad of possibilities, you can be invisible – no one knows who you are and you’re completely alone wandering around a foreign place. Or you can be a social butterfly; meet some new friends, hang around with them in a city, travel with them for a bit, then in another destination make a completely new set of friends and make a whole lot more memories. The region of Europe is a great place to meet new friends as a solo traveller; book yourself into a hostel and dive head first into the available hostel activities. The region is conducive to meeting new friends; a common language, great transport links and a great hostel scene all make Europe and awesome place for solo travellers.