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Tips & Guides / Digital Nomads

How to Meet People and Make Friends as a Digital Nomad

By Jenny Luksan

The digital nomad lifestyle can be exhilarating and exciting, but it can definitely be scary if you’re embarking on this journey alone. Even if you’re moving with a partner with a friend, it’s daunting to go to new cities where you don’t know anyone else—and, not to mention, pretty lonely. If you’re looking to strike up new friendships and meet new people as a digital nomad, there are a few different tools you can utilize while you’re on the road.

Read on for some of my best tips on how to make new friends as a nomad!

Use social media to make new friends

For digital nomads, I recommend using social media to meet new people through mutual friends. Whether you want to make an Instagram story, Facebook post, or a TikTok, social media is a great place to post about your upcoming travel adventures. It never hurts to put out where you’re starting your new life and leave an open-ended response to see if it gets any attention. 

For example, you could post a story on Instagram saying something along the lines of, “Moving to Salt Lake City for a few months—taking must-see hike recommendations!” Then, when people weigh in, you have a list of possible new connections right at your fingertips. The friendship might not be instant, but you’ll at least have some options!

The nice thing about utilizing Instagram stories to feel out potential relationships is that no one else sees how many people or who responds to this post. Best-case scenario, people respond with recommendations or even a mutual acquaintance who lives in the area. Worst-case scenario, no one responds, and you’re back to square one—no big deal!

Rely on friends, family, and word of mouth

When I decided that I was going to begin my digital nomad lifestyle, I decided to reach out to friends and family almost immediately. I sent a group text to my friends to ask whether they knew anyone in the new places I was thinking about moving to, and more times than not, there was some kind of mutual acquaintance or connection. It might be a little scary meeting people that you don’t really know, but if you both have a mutual friend, that’s already something that you have in common! 

Having family friends or mutual friends of family is something that’s a great resource in new cities. I would especially recommend going this route if you’re a digital nomad traveling alone. In case of emergencies, it’s useful to know at least one person who knows of you, your family, or even friends. Solo nomad travel is a great learning experience, but there might be some level of comfort knowing that you’re not truly alone! 

Make new relationships over shared hobbies

When it comes to making friends as a digital nomad in a new city, hobbies are your best friend for social outings. Whether you like cooking, running, yoga, reading, hiking, or anything else, there’s a group for you. In most major cities, there are literally groups of people who get together for almost any activity, such as trivia nights, book clubs, and sporting events. Whether it’s something that you want to start doing or something that you’re an expert in, there’s a high chance that there is a group for you. 

Personally, I appreciate running and hiking groups for friend-making. Many of these groups are created through Facebook groups, which are great to explore because you can see the people in the group. There’s a level of comfort being able to see the people you would meet up with and feel out the vibe of the hangout before engaging in a social activity.

I have had a lot of luck using Facebook groups for meeting up for exercise-based social activities. From personal experience, the crowd is a little bit older and more “settled” in the community. However, this is a great option if you’re looking to do an activity that you don’t want to do alone. I have yet to strike up a close friendship using Facebook groups, but I have found a community of people that I love to run and do outdoor activities with, which is great for getting exercise and combating loneliness in my new city.

Use Meetup in your new city

Meetup is an app that was introduced to me a few years ago, and it’s great for people moving to a new city. There are very specific Meetup groups within this app that range from “New 20-somethings to the city,” “Female-only runner group,” and even “Board game meetup.” If you have a niche activity, you can probably find it on this app. If it’s not on there, you can actually make your own group! This is a great tool to meet someone with very similar interests as you.

Another useful tip on this app is that you can see who has said “yes” to an event. This is a nice insight to how many people and what kind of people will be showing up to give you a heads-up. Many of the groups promote local businesses as well—anything from a pop-up shop event to an outdoor yoga session. There are so many options on this app that I would recommend just downloading it to take a look!

Try Bumble BFF for a new way to make friends

This has by far been my favorite app to meet new people while traveling. I know Bumble has more of a reputation for dating, but some people don’t know that there’s a BFF feature on the app you can use solely to make friends! And, just like dating, making friends online is becoming more and more common these days.

Once you download Bumble, you’ll be prompted to choose if you want to use it for dating or for BFF. You can also use it for both! You will make a specific BFF profile, talk about why you’re using BFF, share what brought you to your new city, and add any other specifics that you want to share to help encourage a conversation.

Personally, I have posted about things that I like to do: run, hike, travel, drink coffee, etc. Most times, I connect most with other people that have similar things on their profile. I would say this option is more common with females, but it’s definitely an option for men as well. You have 24 hours to initiate a conversation with someone once you “match” with them.

Starting a conversation with a stranger over an app can be awkward, but sometimes the easiest thing to say is, “Hey! Want to try out this coffee shop sometime?” Personally, I would rather just meet someone in person to see if you get along well! If you do, it can be so much easier meeting even more people with someone else by your side. Having just one connection makes all the difference when it comes to forging relationships and finding close friends!

Other ways for digital nomads to make friends

Particularly if you’re a remote worker, coworking spaces can be a great way to get out of the house and make new friends in your new city. Most have common areas where you can try to strike up a conversation with new people, or coworking spaces often host social meetup events to allow members to network, talk about their work, and meet new friends.

Beyond coworking spaces, some cities even host their own digital nomad events to help bring people together to make connections and talk about their similar lifestyles. Don’t see one in your own city? Try to plan one yourself! Other people will appreciate the opportunity to talk about their digital nomad life, and are likely in the same boat as you when it comes to looking for new nomad connections. 

Additionally, it’s always worth trying to get to know your neighbors. Not only can they be a great resource for any kind of emergency situation (or even just watering your plants), but it’s nice to have someone nearby when you’re feeling lonely and could use a new friend. 

Live your best digital nomad lifestyle with Landing

If you’re a digital nomad looking to move somewhere new and make friends, Landing offers fully furnished apartments throughout the U.S., all with flexible lease terms that let you stay in your new home for as long as you’d like. Browse our available furnished apartments, or contact us to learn more about why digital nomads love living with Landing.

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Jenny Luksan published on November 3, 2021