Traveling with a partner can transform the whole experience. Finding the right one can take time and patience, though.
Look beyond your immediate friend group and try tapping into local interest groups. These may surface people who enjoy the same activities you do. Choosing someone who is too similar to you could cause butt heads.
1. Go on a trip
One of the best ways to find out if you’ll enjoy traveling with someone is to go on a trip with them. While it’s important to be on the same page about the destination and itinerary, you also need to decide if you can tolerate each other’s quirks while away from home.
For example, some people find it suffocating to travel with a strict itinerary; for others, a trip without an agenda might be just as stressful. Be honest about your differences and agree that each person can have some time to themselves, whether it’s a morning solo coffee date or a lunch break spent exploring a new neighborhood.
Likewise, look for someone who compliments your strengths and can fill in the gaps in their own skill set. For example, if you’re an expert when it comes to local cuisine, look for a partner who’s equally passionate about cooking. This way, you can share the fun of trying new recipes together.
2. Meet in person
There are a few sites that focus on connecting travelers in person. For example, Workaway has a subreddit for finding travel partners, and there are also travel-related Meetup groups that connect people looking to explore a new area together.
If you’re planning to meet a travel partner in person, it’s important to take safety precautions. Make sure you meet in a public place and let someone know where you’re meeting. Also, meet during the day and be cautious with your personal belongings.
Alternatively, there are apps and websites that allow you to find travel buddies. For example, TripGiraffe lets you browse travelers and their trips until you find the perfect fit. Likewise, Tinder’s Travel Match feature allows you to connect with other members who are traveling to the same destination as you are. There are also a few paid options like GAFFL and Thorn Tree (which is Lonely Planet’s dedicated forum board). While these can be more expensive than other solutions, they may provide additional vetting and security features.
3. Talk on the phone
If you’re going on a long-term trip with someone, it’s important to communicate well and keep things clear. Make sure to talk on the phone frequently and set up a meeting with them if possible, so you can get to know each other better. Another option is to meet them as you travel and spend a few days together sharing meals or taking day tours before committing to anything longer. Workaway is a great site for finding travel partners, as you can meet locals and other travelers who are looking for companions as well.
4. Meet online
Several websites allow you to meet travel buddies online before going on a trip. Meetup is a popular option for those looking to find people with similar interests. You can search by location, age group and interest. The site also offers an option to get verified for safety.
Another great option is Workaway, where you can find people who are interested in traveling. Just create a profile with your preferred destination and you will be presented with other travelers who are planning to visit the same area. You can then message them and discuss travel plans.
Reddit is also a good place to find travel buddies, although it can be difficult to vet a potential partner. If you do decide to meet in person, always go to a public space during the day. Also, make sure you take your phone and have someone else with you in case something goes wrong. You can also use sites like Tinder to meet travel companions.