Amongst the top 3 things that people are afraid of before becoming a digital nomad is how they are going to make friends while traveling. And I can totally understand that fear. Not everybody is super outgoing and can approach strangers like it’s no big deal.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways that make it fairly easy to connect with like-minded people while traveling and working online. Check out the following list and learn how you can make friends as a digital nomad.
Even if you are not into social media: When it comes to connecting with others, Facebook is one of the best tools you have. It is full other digital nomads from all over the world who are all facing the same problems.
I highly recommend you joining various nomad groups. People talk about general issues, share little success stories or ask for meet ups. Check out the discussions or make a post asking if someone is in your city and wants to grab a coffee. There are different groups you can search for:
- General groups, such as Digital Nomad Entrepreneurs or Female Digital Nomads
- Location specific groups, such as Digital Nomads Poland or Ubud Digital Nomads
- Other specific groups, such as Digital Nomad Singles or Digital Nomad Teachers and Tutors
- Non Digital Nomad groups, such as New in Berlin / meet new Friends or New in Barcelona, Let’s spend some time together!
You could also look for certain events that are organized on Facebook. The search result usually doesn’t come up with too many nomad events but you never know. Maybe there is one close to you that is worth checking out.
Digital Nomad Events
Since we are talking about events, did you know that there are some massive conferences, workshops and get-togethers for people like you? These are made for (aspiring) digital nomads, remote professionals, entrepreneurs, and long-term travelers.
Some of the most popular ones are:
If you want to read to full list, including dates, locations and prices, check out this article with the best digital nomad events.
Since they are super popular but usually only have a limited number of tickets available, you should be quick to book yours. A few of these events are exclusively online, which means you don’t even have to travel anywhere to participate.
Your Own Network
Boy, this world is small! Sitting in the same local bus as the guy you’ve graduated from high school with in the middle of Salvador, Brazil? Been there. Bumping into the cousin of your best childhood friend on a tiny island off the coast of Malaysia? Done that.
Let your friends know where you are and where you are going. You never know who might be around for a meetup.
Or maybe you have friends living abroad somewhere? If you are a digital nomad, you are most likely very flexible in terms of where you can go. Why not go and visit them? It’s nice to catch up with old friends and they can connect you with their local friends so you meet even more people.
It’s always worth giving it a try.
Many remote workers love hanging out in cafes and working from there. You have good internet, coffee and food. Check out some of the best cafes for remote work near you. (There are apps like Workfrom that help you locate them.)
Go there a couple of times and see if you can spot other remote workers that go there on a regular basis. Chances are they are new to town, too, so why not become friends? You could simply go over and ask if they know other places nearby which are good to get some work done. Start a conversation and take it from there.
An even better place to get your job done than cafes? That’s right, coworking spaces. These shared offices are perfectly equipped for remote professionals and naturally attract many digital nomads.
If you don’t want to book a monthly plan, get a day ticket and check out the vibe. A coworking space with a down to earth, very open and welcoming atmosphere is great to connect with like-minded nomads.
If you work together, you might as well go for lunch or dinner together, right? Or explore the region after you finished your work for the day.
These are the coolest coworking spaces around the world.
Want to step up the coworking game? Try coliving for digital nomads! A coliving space is a house where digital nomads and remote professionals live and work together. They usually have their own bedroom (some go for a shared bedroom to save costs) and share common facilities like kitchen and living room. They also often have an extra office room where they can work together.
This is a great concept to easily meet like-minded people, exchange ideas and experiences, help each other out and experience the city together.
Although, coliving spaces for digital nomads are a fairly new concept, you can find plenty already. Just check out websites such as Digital Nomad House.
If you want to learn more about coliving spaces for digital nomads, have a look at the linked article that tells you all you need to know.
One of my favorite ways to get accommodations while traveling is housesitting. Why?
- It’s for free! Yes, you don’t have to pay anything for your accommodation.
- I love animals and most of the time I get to take care of cats and dogs which simply makes me happy J
- It’s a great way to live like locals do. After all, that’s one reason why you travel. It doesn’t get more authentic than that!
On top of that, the house owners are usually super friendly and happy to connect you with their friends before they leave. Just in case you have any questions or problems, their friends or relatives are here to help you out. Love it!
My favorite organization to find housesitting places it Housecarer. Check them out and find your next place to stay for free.
Hostels…well, hostels can be tricky. I wouldn’t recommend you staying in a dorm if you want to get your work done. It’s also not the most comfortable place to live in on the long run.
However, hostels are a great place to connect with people from around the world. Everyone is traveling, open to meet new people and make friends and want to explore the country.
What you could do is go and check out hostels that offer good private rooms so you can get enough sleep. You shouldn’t go for party hostels either since the temptation of hanging out and partying with your new friends every day might be too big.
Or maybe don’t stay in hostels but just go there in the evening. Many big hostels have bars and common areas that are open for visitors. Sometimes it’s just easier to connect with other travelers than with locals.
But beware: Most of the hostel stayers are only in town for a few days or weeks. So your new friends won’t be there for long.
Staying in Airbnbs is a great way of connecting with locals. If you only rent one room, you will be living with your host and maybe other temporary visitors. A super easy way to make friends you can hang out with.
Even if you rent the entire place, hosts are usually very welcoming and happy to hang out, show you around town or have tips for you where you can connect with others.
Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Use *this link* to get €25 toward your first trip.
The website Meetup is made for people to – you’ve guessed it – meet up. All you need to do is register and look for groups or events near you. In case you like a group but there are no events planned, organize one yourself!
You could search for groups that are:
- Career specific, like Digital Nomads Hamburg or Freelancing in Vienna
- Activity specific, like Free Yoga in Houston or SF Bay Area Surfing
- Location specific, like Meet New Friends in London or Expats Social Group Saigon
There is a group for literally anything and anyone. If you are staying in a fairly big or popular city, it’s impossible to not find an interesting one for you.
Tours and Trips
I’ve met some cool people while being on a walking tour through the city. Sure, most of them are tourists and only in town for a few days but there are also people who – just like you – are going to stay for a little longer.
Or maybe do an organized group day trip to explore the area. Since you are spending all day together doing the same things, it’s easy to start a conversation. I know, I prefer to do them independently, too. But especially when you have just arrived at a new place it could be a great way to meet others.
If you have just moved to a country and don’t speak the local language, you could also do a language course. Nobody expects you to be perfect! But it’s a fantastic way to make friends.
Why? Locals don’t need language courses and tourists are usually not interested in them either. So you will be with others who are new to town and are going to stay for a while. Perfect basis to make friends.
If you want to become friends with locals, check out language schools that offer tandem partners. You will get a local “buddy” who helps you learn the local language while you help him or her learn yours.
And it doesn’t stop with language courses. What about a local cooking class? Maybe a dancing course? Yoga, rock climbing, surfing?
There are so many things you could test and learn in a new city. This is not only great fun but you will also get in contact with many other like-minded people. Since you share the same interest and are all learning something new, facing the same difficulties and little moments of success, it’s easy to find things to talk about and to make friends.
There are also plenty of online communities out there, that are great for digital nomads to meet new people. Two of my favorites are:
Nomad list focuses on digital nomads and provides a very active forum, too, where you get answers to all of our nomad questions. You also see who is in your city right now or will be soon and can meet with them in person.
Internations address expats but that’s not a problem. They organize meetups in many big cities for internationals. In my experience, it doesn’t matter how you define yourself. I even went to many of those meetups in my home country, where I’m clearly not an expat. Everybody is very open and welcoming.
Both websites charge a monthly fee if you want to actively connect with others. But you don’t have to go for both immediately. Check them out and see which you prefer.
Digital Nomad Programs
If you are still afraid that you will end up alone during your travels, I have another option for you: organized Digital Nomad programs.
These workations bring together a group of digital nomads or remote professionals. They will work together, participate in workshops and do social events together.
Depending on which program you choose and how long you want to stay, the entire group also travels from one place to another together. The most popular one is Remote Year where people can travel around the world for up to one year, changing countries every 4 weeks.
Impossible not to make friends during such an experience!
If you want to find more such workations for digital nomads, check out the linked post and find dates, locations and prices!
Finding Friends as a Digital Nomad: You Got This!
Being alone is a negative part of the digital nomad lifestyle that not many like to talk about. But as you can see, there are plenty of options to make friends as a digital nomad. Even if you are super shy you should be able to find a way that works for you and allows you to connect with others without too much struggle.
That being said, I want you to be aware that there will be times when you feel lonely. There will be times when you just don’t feel like putting in the effort of meeting someone new. Or you’ve made some good friends but now they had to leave and you are sad.
That happens and it is completely normal! We all have those phases every once in a while. Feeling lonely is definitely one of the disadvantages of being a digital nomad but it’s part of the deal.
What matters is what you make out of that situation. You should be ok with being just by yourself every now and then. Maybe you can even embrace it?
I hope there won’t be too many lonely times in your digital nomad journey though. If so, maybe you will find some of these tips useful and are able to find new friends along the way.