Looking to find a travel partner? Solo travel can feel like a daunting prospect and although I’m a big advocate of traveling solo I totally get that some people prefer to find travel partners. As this isn’t really my field of expertees I’ve asked my friend Danny from What’s Danny Doing to help me out in this guest post all about finding people to travel with.
Like a child’s first day at school, the thought of waving goodbye to friends and family can be utterly unappealing! For many people, traveling with a companion makes far more sense all-around. However, the realization you don’t (or no longer) want to travel alone is only step one. Your next task is to find someone to travel with! Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too hard.
Whether you’re already on the road, or yet to leave, there’s all manner of places you can find a travel mate. I want to highlight 10 of the best. The following options should provide ample opportunity to find the perfect person to have an adventure with.
I hope they help!
Ask Friends and Family
Let’s start with the obvious one simply asking your friends and/or family.
Chances are, this would be the first source when looking for a travel companion. It makes total sense. After all, these are your nearest and dearest; the people you love most in the world.
Who better to explore it with?!
Another benefit of traveling with current friends/family is that you know them so well already.
Travel isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Whether you’re road-tripping in a van (with these fun RV accessories), backpacking South East Asia, or inter-railing around Europe, you’re sure to go through a fair share of ups and downs. Being with somebody you trust, and who understands you from the outset, will help you navigate them. Moreover, you know you get on well together.
That doesn’t mean you won’t argue and fall out on the road. But you avoid any awkward teething periods of getting to know someone new.
Travel Sites and Apps
Alas, friends and family aren’t always available. In fact, you might be surprised how often they won’t be able to join you. People end up with different priorities.
They might want to get straight into a job after university. They might want to go straight to university after school. Heck, they might just want to settle down and get a dog! Family and/or friends can simply be caught up in their own lives; they don’t have the time to travel.
As hard as it is can be to understand, you’re forced to lace up your boots (preferably minimalist hiking boots like these) and look elsewhere. And, as with most problems we have, the internet can hold the answers! Travel websites and apps can be another great source of travel companions. Go online and you’ll find a mass of sites where people are looking for a buddy to explore the world with. Obviously, there some weirdos out there too.
Be wary of going for the first person who messages you and be sure to video chat with them beforehand. You don’t want any nasty surprises when you get out there!
Facebook groups offer a similar source of people to travel with. It doesn’t matter the country. Simply search for backpacker groups related to that specific location. It shouldn’t take long to find what you’re looking for! You can (almost) guarantee there’ll be people advertising travel plans in the hope of finding a companion.
Can’t find anything suitable? Leave a message on the group to see if someone’s interest in joining you. Tell them a bit about yourself and those sorts of things you’d like to do in the country. Invite them to message you on Facebook. It’s a great way of making connections and meeting likeminded people online.
These groups a veritable treasure trove of information too. Be sure to have a browse around. They’re often full of useful tips and insight into a destination.
Do an Organized Tour
Tourism/travel is a major industry all over the world. Basically every country out there has tour companies serving the market. There are tours for specific locations, age-ranges, styles of travel, and so on.
These tours take the effort out of traveling. They often arrange everything from itineraries to accommodation. All that’s left to do is turn up and enjoy the ride.
Sure, you pay for the privilege. But, for shorter trips, it’s a great way to explore a country and have an awesome experience with none of the hassle. Even better, you join a bunch of other people looking for exactly that same thing.
You explore the country, partake in activities, and share in the entire experience altogether. This is one of the easiest ways to meet people to travel with.
Travel Charity Work
Like the idea of hitting the road with a group of likeminded people? Want to do something for a good cause too? Well, you should consider traveling with a charity or NGO. Many organizations do awesome work in other countries. You can work in school and community settings, doing any number of things.
It’s a lovely way to combine an adventure while contributing to something important in the process. These organizations are often desperate for eager helpers. You join a team of other people, all committed to the same task. The situations you’re in can be challenging. However, something about it facilitates relationships. You naturally pull together and forge strong friendships with the people you volunteer with.
When your time helping out is over, you can decide to explore the country together. This is a really beautiful way to meet people to travel with.
Please, before you commit to any volunteer work educate yourself on Voutourism to be sure what you are doing is ethically sound. Although you may have the best intentions, often good intentions actually miss the mark. This article on Voluntourism is a good starting place.
Okay, so I only came across this concept recently.
What’s more, I’ve never actually tried it. People assure me that Tinder (the popular dating app) can, in fact, be used for more than meeting potential partners!
I guess it makes sense. After all, it’s literally set up to help you meet people of interest. You can set your location and see how far away you are from other people your age and with your interests. Most users might be looking for romantic meet-ups. Yet you can chat with them beforehand too. Not looking for love? Well, let them know! Swipe right, match with someone you like the look of and get talking.
Let them know you’re hoping to meet someone cool to explore the location with. Chances are pretty high that they’ll be interested in doing the same. What’s more, it won’t just be travelers using the app. You can meet the locals through Tinder as well. Hanging out with locals is always a great way to really get to know somewhere new.
Find Somewhere to Work
This option won’t apply to everybody. However, if you’re traveling for a while, then consider getting a job. You kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, you can replenish your bank balance! Secondly, you have the chance to meet some cool people at the same time. Often, the jobs you get on the road will be shared with other travelers.
For instance, when I worked as a waiter in Wanaka, New Zealand, literally everyone on the team was in town on their travels!
Part of the inherent ‘trouble’ with traveling is that you can be on the move so frequently. Constant movement makes looking for a travel partner that bit harder. You’re just never in one place long enough to get to know somebody.
Getting a job forces you to remain in situ for a while, at least. You get a chance to establish a relationship with your workmates and find somebody to travel with for when you’ve done enough work.
Check out this post on Workpackers for volunteer work opportunities where you work in exchange for lodgings.
Here’s another option that won’t appeal to everybody. Hitchhiking is one of my favorite ways to get around, though. I can’t recommend it enough for travelers who want to save money, travel a country on the cheap, and meet travelers at the same time.
Most people balk at the idea of getting into a stranger’s car, which I totally understand. It can take some getting used to. Even now, having hitched quite a lot, I still stop and wonder about what I’m doing! Nonetheless, in my experience, you almost always meet lovely and kind-hearted people looking to do a good deed. Of course, you won’t find a travel companion every time! It’s always a possibility though.
I remember hitching the length of New Zealand’s South Island over a few days with a guy from Germany. I got in for a ride, we got on well, and decided to keep going. Had I not had other plans, I would have happily kept on traveling with him.
Whether you’re in the car for 2 hours, 2 days, or 2 weeks, you’re still satisfying your desire to travel with somebody else! Whatever happens, you can guarantee that hitching is a one-stop-shop to new adventures.
Hitchwiki is a great guide that offers you details on safety and average wait times.
Head to the Hostels
Almost everybody who travels will stay in a hostel at one time or another. Many others will use hostels as their primary form of accommodation on the road. But no matter how long you spend in them, you quickly realize hostels are the ideal place to meet people to travel with. It’s hard to be in dorm rooms and not strike up conversations; it’s natural to get to know the people you’re living with.
Hostels surround you with all sorts of individuals. Some will be totally different from you; many will be likeminded kindred spirits. I’m always nicely surprised at how easy it is to form new friendships in these places. Similarly, I’ve even seen people advertise day trips and on notice boards, and go around actively asking people for rides to certain places.
Hostels are a unique environment that caters to anybody who wants to find a travel buddy.
Let Life Do Its Thing
Here’s my final suggestion, and it’s a little out of the left-field: Why not just let life do its thing?
Rather than setting looking for a travel buddy to adventure with, just enter into the experience of it and see what happens.
As the suggestions above showcase, there are countless opportunities to meet people on the road. It doesn’t take long for life to funnel you into a situation full of lovely fellow travelers.
Travel’s full of chance encounters. You never know what’s going to happen. Rather than forcing your search for a friend to experience it with, I’d be tempted just to go where the wind takes you.
Be flexible, brave, spontaneous and intrepid as you go. Let the experience happen, and, somehow, the universe just seems to respond! If you truly want a travel companion, then you’ll end up with one.
Time to Find Your Travel Partner
There you have it: 10 to suggestions to find people to travel with.
Embarking on a solo trip is never easy. The thought alone can be enough to make people want a travel companion. Even better, incredible experiences will forever be enhanced by having someone to share it with. In this way, the desire to travel with somebody makes total sense. Unfortunately, finding the right person to go with can be easier said than done.
Hopefully, this post has shed some light on some novel places to look. Keep them in mind and you should find the perfect travel companion in no time!
Danny Newman is currently writing and traveling his way around the world in a bid to figure out exactly what he’s doing with his life. He’d love you to follow along with his journey over at What’s Danny Doing.
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