Nothing tests a friendship like travel. From 14-hour bus journeys to fights over the top bunk, it’s vital you find a travel companion that will keep you smiling when things get tough. As someone who has travelled extensively with my other half, I have a few secrets to spill. As we’ve explored over 30 countries together, we’ve had our fair share of tears, tantrums and tests yet remain adamant there is no one whom we would rather see the world with (or who would put up with us!).
While travelling solo can be an enlightening experience, it can get lonely at times. It can also be incredibly daunting to leave home and head into the big wide world with just you and your backpack. That’s why this guide will help you find a travel buddy you can rely on.
More importantly, the right travel companion can make or break your trip, so it’s vital you get it right. This means before we dive into how to find a travel buddy, let’s cover my three top tips to ensure you find the perfect candidate for the role.
Three Top Tips For Finding a Travel Companion
If you want to find a travel buddy that will survive the duration of your trip, this is probably my number one tip. It starts with a bit of a confession. My best friend and I are incredibly similar. We love the same food, the same music and both love to travel. Some would describe us as two peas in a pod.
However, we are terrible travel companions. This is because we are far too alike. We both hate making decisions, we are terrible with money and love beer more than we do making plans. This is a recipe for disaster and as previous trips can testify it’s a miracle if we ever make it to the airport.
My partner on the other hand is the total opposite of me. He loves to plan, and he speaks fluent Excel spreadsheets, so budgets are his best friend. I pack the day we head to the airport, he packs everything but the kitchen sink weeks in advance. This is why we work as travel companions.
When you find a travel buddy that plays to your weaknesses, it makes life a little easier. It’s tough when you both want to be in charge or equally when no one wants to be the grown-up. Finding balance is key.
Related blog post: This international couple are creating a sustainable world through their travels!
Communication is key
Travelling the world together won’t be sunsets and coconuts all the time. There will be flight delays, jet lag, homesickness…even actual sickness. You will also make memories and share experiences that will last a lifetime. For this to happen however, you need to be on the same wavelength.
This means it’s important you find a travel buddy that communicates openly. Share your fears with each other, share your dreams, your bucket lists and open up on those days when you just want to hop on the next plane home.
Your travel companion needs to pick you up when you’re down but be comfortable enough to let you know when they need some time out. If you continually communicate (both the good and the bad) then any issues can be resolved quickly and fairly. You need to be able to compromise, agree to disagree and focus on the positives when times get tough.
Friendship fatigue is real
Although I have travelled with the same person for over a decade, I can admit that friendship fatigue is real. You will crave some alone time eventually. It is exhausting spending 24/7 with another human, regardless of how much you love and respect them.
Alone time is healthy and very much essential for your mental well-being. Make sure you find a travel buddy who understands this. No one should take offence when you need a little time out. Whether you go for a walk, out for a coffee, listen to a podcast or simply read a book, spending time apart can do wonders for your time together.
Related blog post: How to travel long term as a couple without killing each other
How to find a travel buddy you click with
While travelling solo offers so much freedom, there are some definite advantages to travelling with others. Even if it is only for some of your trip. Not only will you save money as you can split costs including fuel, accommodation and food but it is beneficial to have someone to bounce ideas off of, share travel stories with, and be that familiar face as you travel into the unknown. Also how else are you going to take those #blessed candid photos? A travel buddy and personal photographer all in one!
Did you know you can use Workaway to find your travel BFF? There are actually three ways we can help you source your sidekick and connect with like-minded travellers.
Find a travel buddy
: We have a whole section of our site dedicated to helping you find a travel buddy for your next trip. Head to the Plan & Meet Up drop-down on our homepage and from here you can browse thousands of other travellers trying to find a travel companion for their next adventure.
: You can also use our “Workawayers nearby” feature that will show Workaway users on a map. This is ideal if you want to find a travel companion to grab a coffee with or plan a road trip with.
Find a Language buddy
: In order to progress, it’s vital you practise! One of the best ways to learn a language fast is to find someone to practise with. If you want to find a language partner to improve your language skills, we can help with that too. Our language buddy feature can help connect you to native speakers that have the time and patience to get you fluent in no time!
Relsted blog post: Solo Travel Friendships: 5 amazing #travelbff stories from around the world
Described as “the people platform”, Meet Up
is a social media site dedicated to connecting people who share similar interests. It is a safe and reliable way to help you find a travel buddy as you can search by location, interest, age and activities. You then meet up in a group at an organised event in a public place. You can start your own group or search for particular “meet ups” focused on all sorts of interests from yoga to Scrabble, hill walking to book clubs.
Post on Social Media
While there are some definite negatives to sharing your life online, I am a firm believer that it is still possible to be social with social media. In fact, thanks to a Tweet, I ended up in Tokyo with two people I now consider best friends.
Long story short, my partner and I had arrived in Melbourne ready to start backpacking Australia. I’d tweeted looking for recommendations when another couple replied, saying they were new to Melbourne too.
We met for coffee which turned into beers, and before we knew it we’d booked flights to Tokyo in six months’ time. Later this year we’re even attending their wedding. Sometimes you find a travel buddy where you least expect it!
Related blog post: 10 Tips and Resources to Meet People While Travelling Solo
Download These Apps
There are so many apps that can help you find a travel buddy in your next destination. Apps are particularly great for introverts or those who struggle to strike up conversation in real life. If you’re hoping to find a travel companion before your next trip, a few popular apps are:
: great for finding people nearby as well as recommendations and reviews from likeminded people. If you’re also searching for ways to save money while travelling, the app also shares travel offers on hostels, food and tours!
: Travello is another app that is not only great for those trying to find a travel buddy, but for those travelling on a budget. It offers group tours and discounts through their Travello experiences. You earn rewards through your bookings which can then be redeemed against more experiences. You can also join interest groups, discover travellers nearby and find local meet ups.
: Through this app you can filter results by age, gender, travel dates and location. You create a profile explaining your travel style, interests, etc and then others can find you. You can also share your own recommendations, photos and tips for other travellers to help them plan their trip.
Although these apps are popular, like anywhere online, trust your gut. It’s easy to get catfished when someone pretends to be someone else. Only agree to meet up with someone in a public place and always let people know where you’re going when meeting someone for the first time.
Stay in Hostels
While online platforms are great, sometimes it’s better to find a travel companion in person. It’s much easier to test if you “vibe” in real life than reading a profile on a screen. Hostels are one of the best ways to do this as they cater to solo travellers.
As well as the communal kitchens and shared rooms making it easy to find like-minded folk, hostels usually run events such as pub crawls, quizzes and hikes to help you mingle and make friendships.
Join Group Activities
Whether you’re travelling in your own country, or venturing further afield one of the easiest ways to find a travel buddy is by booking a group activity. Yoga classes, surf lessons, book clubs – these kind of groups are ideal for meeting people when travelling solo.
If you’re travelling on a shoestring, it doesn’t need to be a paid activity. Many cities run free walking tours which are not only a great introduction to a new destination but it’s likely many other solo travellers new to the area will have signed up too.
The joy of meeting someone at a group activity is that you already have common ground so it’s easy to break the ice. From there you can grab a coffee (or a beer) and get to know each other better. Before you know it, you’ll be booking flights to Tokyo together too!
Related blog post: How to travel cheap while on the road
When all your friends are settling down, buying houses or focusing on the career ladder it can feel like you’re the only one who wants to travel. While the fear of solo travelling should never put you off, hopefully this guide has made you realise that it’s easier to find a travel buddy than you originally thought. Using these tips and resources, you will find your perfect travel companion and before you know it, you’ve been through 30 countries together!