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How do you meet locals when you travel?

I find that the best thing about visiting a new place is hanging out with locals :)

I use Couchsurfing and Facebook to find people to meet, but would like to know of other ways to meet people from your experience. 

18 Answers

top answer by
Random from Seattle

Travel slowly. Wander away from the guidebooks and "top 10 places to travel in 2016" blogs. Find a bar, restaurant or cafe and become a regular. Learn the language. Let go of ideas, beliefs, preconceptions. Pay attention to local news, novels, film, plays, arts. Smile more, talk less...

9 thanks

answered by
James from Botswana

Have you checked out the new 'meet a local' app. It's still very new but a very cool prospect for linking travellers with locals.  - it's still in its infancy but I reckon it might be worth giving it a go. There are lots of people keen to help out and show you their town or area for free. 

5 thanks

answered by
Heather from Carlsbad (California)

I'm a big fan of chatting up random strangers at bars, honestly. I've met so many people while traveling in that way. I've met people who were also traveling and locals alike. Sit at the bar and strike up a conversation based on something like the game that's on the TV, nice day out, question about the area (i.e. are you local? Do you know where I can do such and such?), and let the conversation naturally unfold. Not everybody will want to chat, but when you find a chatty person, let it happen!

5 thanks

answered by

one of my favourite ways is to find pickup sports around the city. a lot of locals just play sports like soccer or like ultimate frisbee in random parks which are easy to find online. They're normally quite welcoming and even if you dont know the language, its not too bad.

Another way is to just talk to your cab or uber driver. They're normally quite knowledgeable about the city and where locals hang out. For example, my cab driver told me to avoid certain overpriced touristy bars in Paris, and introduced me to a few local bars which was an unreal experience. Needless to say I tipped him quire well.

Check out for more information.

3 thanks

answered first by
Sean from Hudson Valley

When I'm at a crowded café and I see someone looking for a place to sit, I'll stand, motion to the chair next to me and say "please" in the local language.  This indicates that you're not only well mannered, but open to interacting with others.  Even if you don't speak each other's language, attempting to do so can be quite fun.

Offering to buy someone coffee, or a drink gains you an instant friend.  This is especially true in Ireland or the British Isles.   Chatting up the bartender or wait staff is also a good idea.

Attending a church service is a good way to meet locals.  I'm far from a religious person, but the familiarity that come from a shared background can be an instant icebreaker.

Going to a sporting event is a great way to meet locals.  If you don't understand the nature of what's going on, asking someone to explain what's happening can provide you with an instant expert on the subject.  In the event you do understand the game, turning to the person sitting next to you and asking, "who are we cheering for?", will set you on the right path.

Although I hesitate to recommend it to everyone, I've always had positive experiences meeting people while hitch-hiking.  Again, Ireland and Great Britain are excellent for this.

Happy Travels!

2 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Diep from Thuy Anh, Thái Bình, Vietnam

If you visit Hanoi, you should stay at Old Quarter and contact with free tour with student tour guides who will tell you about Vietnamese culture and street foods with different ways.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Old Quarter (metro area)
1 thanks

answered by
ghassab from Petra


If you travel you can meet local people every were I host people from every were with couch surfing ..cave surfing

1 thanks

answered by
Justin from Phoenix

I sign up for a 10k race or a half-marathon. I meet tons of people before and after the race. Sometimes even during! (During only works if you're a middle-of-the-pack runner; the fastest people are too busy trying to win, and the slowest people don't have much air left over for conversation. That middle group, though, settles into a groove and can actually have a bit of conversation.)

1 thanks

answered by
Kat from Brooklyn

Few very easy ways: 1. Ask friends to connect you with someone they know and/or 2. Go to a place you feel comfortable (cafe/bar/restaurant/park/sports field/dive shop/book store/etc) and chat up some strangers. This technique is doubly effective if your travel involves some type of activity that you enjoy, whether it's scuba diving, playing baseball or going to an art museum. You can also find different groups or events that will unite a diverse group of people for what interests them (New Wave cinema, jazz, cooking, etc.). Ultimately, just LOG OFF and experience where you are.

1 thanks

answered by
Liam from Boise, Idaho

There's reddit meetups.

There's also the app called meetups. 

AirBnB, which is pretty similar to couch-surfing I guess. 

Getting involved in a sport/club (depending on how long you're there). 

1 thanks

answered by
Shannon from Vancouver

So, I've never tried it personally, but I've heard of 'rent-a-friend' services where you can basically hire a local to be your friend for the day and show you around. It sounds like a great idea to me!

1 thanks

answered by
Janelle from Charleston

Casual restaurants, cafés and public transport are the best places to interact with and meet locals.  Bars and clubs are good too, but be extra careful (especially if you're a woman) as you're much more likely to meet someone who will end up taking advantage of you in one way or another in a bar than at a café or on the bus.

Striking up conversations with workers at the above places is also a good way to meet people.  Waiters, baristas and bus drivers know where to go and know loads of people.

1 thanks

answered by
Gloria from El Paso, Texas

Walk through the city. Restaurants

1 thanks

answered by
Roberta from Reggio di Calabria

Hi Tal! Yes, traveling and meet locals doing memorable and typical activities is the best to get from a holiday.

I've discovered a new way to live the places like a local, with Tourizan. Check it and let me know if you like it. I've booked an art activity in Florence and it was so special.

Have a nice trip!


answered by
Diep from Thuy Anh, Thái Bình, Vietnam

If you visit Hanoi, you should stay at  Old Quarter and contact with free tour with student tour guides who will tell you about Vietnamese culture and street foods with different ways.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hanoi (city)

answered by
Erick from Sonoma County

Find a local bar/pub, sit down and drink. Then offer a beer to a random person, preferably a person who is with someone or a small group.

Same works at cafes, just that is a harder to find small groups.

answered by
Margherita from Fucecchio

On the bus, on the train, in a library! Oh, Airbnb is good

answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

comments (2)

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