Travel friends. What is a travel friend? How do I find them? Do I even need travel friends? Honestly, the concept of a travel friend was once bizarre to me. I have friends, really fantastic friends; friends who I love and support and would give the world for…but they don’t travel the world with me. Of course, if any of my friends wanted to travel with me, I am always up for an adventure. But, I realized I needed friends who had that same mentality. I need friends who not only want to travel, yet will actively say yes to adventure. And that is where travel friends come in.
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Why You Need Travel Friends
Before we delve into the how to find travel friends, I want to take a moment to say why I think you need travel friends. First and foremost, I am a huge activist of solo travel. If you want to take a trip, you do not need anyone to travel with. I actually enjoy solo travel and find it to be incredibly rewarding. And traveling solo is actually where I connected with many of my travel friends. Yet, sometimes it’s really nice to have someone to travel with.
I’ve met some incredible people over the years who have helped aid in great travel experiences and memories I will carry with me for a lifetime. From the girls I met on my study abroad trip to the friends I met while working as an au pair, I started off my travels with some pretty solid friendships. Soon enough, I started making friends via Instagram and through mutual travel friends. I have created this web of friends in far flung corners of the world, and that is something I will forever be grateful for. There is something very comfortable about knowing you have a friend who is down to travel or knowing that you can connect with friends while on the road.
How to Find Travel Friends
Now lets get to the nitty gritty, finding travel friends. I mean, you can’t just put out an ad saying “travel companion needed” or “looking for a travel buddy”. Mind you, you need to put yourself in a position to make friends yet there are ways to find friends more organically. There are various ways to find travel friends. Some of these tactics, I have utilized myself. Others are tested tried and true.
A great way to make travel friends is through group tours. This is how I made my first few travel friends. Not only did we connect on the group tour, we ended up traveling together on various other instances. The group tour I did was through a study abroad program, yet there are plenty of companies who arrange group travel. Meeting people on group tours was one of the most organic ways I was able to make travel friends. When on a group tour, you quickly learn what type of travelers people are and discover if you are able to spend an extended period of time together. After being stuck on a tour bus with someone for a few days, trust me, you will know if you’re travel compatible.
One of the best parts about group travel is that it brings together like minded people. Chances are most the people who are on a group tour love to travel. Additionally, there are even tours geared towards specific demographics including young adults, singles and 50+, which make it even easier to find compatible travel friends.
If you are traveling independently, a great way to make travel friends is through organized group activities and excursions. Through all of my experiences with organized group activities and excursions, I have always made a friend to talk to. Even if these friends don’t translate to life long friends, it is nice to spend a day with like minded people. The best part about these organized excursions, whether they are a day trip, walking tour or activity is that everyone in the group shares an interest in the destination you are visiting or the activity at hand. There are tons of group activities and excursions on Get Your Guide.
One of the best ways to meet travel friends is online. This literally goes against everything I was taught growing up about not talking to strangers online. Well, I talk to “strangers” online on a daily basis. In fact, I have made most of my recent friends online through social media. While I’m sure nothing is less comforting to my parents than me telling them I’m “meeting up with some friends I met on Facebook” or that “I just booked a trip with this girl I met on Instagram”, this is the society we are living in. And it works! But, you have to be a little smart about it. (i.e. Don’t get catfished).
How do you make travel friends online? Well, you’re not gonna just slide into someones DMs and book a trip together. You have to have some sort of established friendship first. Join Facebook groups that pertain to your travel interests or follow fellow travelers on Instagram who you connect with. Post and be social and get to know the people in these groups/platforms. You might just meet some great travel friends.Here are a few examples of how you can meet travel friends on social media.
Instagram has become a very natural place for me to make friends on social media. Yet, this could be easier for me as a travel blogger. Over the years, I have followed other travelers on Instagram. After following each others adventures online and getting to know each other by watching stories, commenting and DM-ing, you truly feel like you know that person. So when the time comes to meet up with a fellow traveler you met on Instagram, whether it be for a cup of coffee if you’re in the same city or to book a trip together, it feels like you are meeting up with a lifelong friend. I never used Instagram with the intent to seek out friends, yet I am amazed by the incredible people I have met from that platform.
Facebook is perhaps the easiest social media platform to make friends on. With endless Facebook groups, you are bound to find a group that pertains to the type of traveler you are. There are groups for female travelers, cruisers, destination specific travels and so much more. Seriously, there is a group for almost everything on Facebook. And if there’s not, make one! You will absolutely find a group that fits your needs and interests on Facebook.
Facebook is one of the first platforms I made travel friends. When I was an au pair in Genoa, Italy, I used a local au pair group to make and meet up with friends for coffee, dinner and day trips. Facebook is especially useful for meeting up with new travel friends when you’re traveling solo. One of my favorite Facebook groups for female travelers is Girls Love Travel. I see daily threads where people are making plans to meet up around the world. Yet, as you are only having limited conversations in these groups, be sure to meet up with your new travel buddy in a public place.
I personally haven’t used apps or websites, aside from social media to make travel friends. Yet, there are some great resources out there. There are various apps and websites dedicated specifically to help you find travel buddies. Here are some of the best apps and websites out there to help you find travel friends.
Travello is free app which was designed as “a social network for travelers”. The main goal of this travel buddy app is to help you meet other travelers with similar interests who are near you.
Trip Together is a travel app/website that helps you meet up with other traveler during your travel plans.
Travel Sisters is a females only travel website that helps you connect with other female travelers around the world.
Meet People While You’re Traveling
One of the best ways to make new friends in general is being open to conversations with people. While you’re traveling, be open to meeting new people. If you’re approachable and conversational, you may just make a new travel buddy. Whether you are traveling solo or with someone, try to strike up a conversation when you are at an attraction, in transit or grabbing a drink. You never know who you may meet or the friendships you can establish. Here are a few examples of places you can meet friends while traveling:
I tend to meet a lot of people while flying or on a train. Something about sitting next to someone for hours makes for a great place to establish a friendship. If they’re headed to the same destination, you may decide to meet up and explore that place together.
At your Accommodations
Your accommodations are a great place to meet people while traveling, whether that is meeting other travelers or locals. If you are staying in a room of an Air Bnb, you may be able to connect with your host or other travelers staying there. Hostels are known to be a great place to make travel friends as you may be sharing a bedroom or common space with other solo travelers. (Truthfully, I have never stayed at a hostel… but feel like that it has been a missed opportunity for making travel friends). Lastly, some hotels are even good to meet fellow travelers. While some people in these accommodations may want to relax and keep to themselves, there will be people who are looking to talk to other travelers. Head to the common spaces, bar or hotel lounge and you may run into someone who is looking for a travel friend.
Standing in line to enter an attraction can take a long time. Take a moment to chat with the people near you. If you’re going to wait in line to get into a palace or museum, you might as well spend that time getting to know the people who are waiting with you.
Current Friends / Family
Last but not least, find travel friends in your current social pool. While it is always great to meet new friends, don’t underestimate your current friends and family. My family and friends have been some of my favorite travel companions. There may be someone in your family or friend group who would love to travel with you. Keep in mind, you may want to go on a short trip to test the waters first. There’re some people who simply are not travel compatible.