How to find travel partner

Alone on the beach, ©

"How to find travel partner" was last updated on Jan 12, 2014

So, you're planning on finding a travbuddy?

In this article I will tell you exactly how.

I will first start with what I call the 'inner circle' - that means the people you already know.

And then over to the 'outer circle' - people you don't know (yet), but might potentially be your travel companion.

I will first start with the inner circle.

Inner Circle

It's obvious that when you want to find a travel partner, you should look into people you already know.

It's the easiest way and also more convenient. You already know each other; both good and bad sides.

Do you have close friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, sister/brother, cousins, colleagues or class mates who want to experience the world as you do?

Post on social media to reach out to your friends and acquintances.

Think about it. Maybe you talked about traveling together a long time ago, maybe even joked about it. Now's your chance.

OK, let's say you've found a colleague who wants to go backpacking as well. Is the decision done then? No, not all.

Here are the things you should look into:

Two people diving together, ©
  • You have to find out if you're compatible as travel partners.

Why? Trust is one thing. When you're backpacking in Asia or other parts of the world, you indirectly entrust your travel partner with your life. You have to be able to trust your partner in case something goes wrong while you're traveling. 

For instance: If you get sick, do you know that he/she will take care of you, or will he/she run for the hills or just ditch you?

  • Dynamics is another thing. How's the chemistry? You should find someone you like at home. Don't go for people that you might like while you're traveling. If you don't like a person from the beginning, you probably will never do. You're also paying a lot of money to travel. 

Wasting your time on traveling with people you don't really like is also a waste of money.

- Do you share common interests?
- What kind of personalities are you?
- Is one a party queen and the another one a party pooper?

From personal experiences, I know this party wild and partying relaxed is a combination that doesn't work.

- Does one of you gets easily restless?

That might not go well with a person who wants to take it easy and chill.

- Is the other one a neat freak and the other one more relaxed?

I'm asking this because when you're choosing accommodation, a neat freak wants a clean place to stay at, which is also more expensive.

- Is the other person single, and the other has a girlfriend/boyfriend?

This shouldn't necessary stop friends from traveling together. But I know that if you have a loved one at home, it's easier to get homesick. Homesickness usually leads to seclusion, which can affect the dynamics.

  • Do you have a common goal?

What's your partner's goals with the backpacking trip? Party 5 times a week? Cultural experiences? Trekking? Snorkeling?

You're not necessarily incompatible if you have different goals, for instance if one wants to go mountain hiking while the other one wants to dive. It's just healthy for the relationship to do separate things.

  • Economical situation is a third factor. 

What's your budget? Do both agree to go budget traveling? Flashpacking?

This factor is crucial because it affects where you're going to sleep, eat and drink together. In many cases, one with a low budget that travels with a person with a bigger budget will often be left out.

And of course, this affects what activities you can pay for. As friends, it's natural to want to do something together, but if the budget doesn't allow it, there might occur some annoyance (and jealousy) in the dynamics.

I'm not saying that two different personalities won't fit at all. Because in the end, it's about compromise. Find a middle way.

I believe it's more complicated to travel with someone you already know, than a travel companion you don't know. If things go bad, there are more feelings and emotions involved for two friends than for two strangers.

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Find a travel partner in
the outer circle

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Give yourself lots of time to find a travel companion online. Your objective is to find a good fit and you don't want to be considered as desperate.

  • ONLINE: Travel forums is also used as a meeting place. This is an awesome way to meet fellow backpackers.

At Lonely Planet's forum, you can post a general message. Will they be traveling in the same country as you, at the same time? And how many people would you like to travel with? Is gender important to you?

Remember to leave some contact information, for instance email address.

Let's say that someone have contacted you. What now?

Well, you have to get to know each other. This is online, so you won't have the chance to meet face-to-face (unless it's someone from your country/city). You've got to trust your instincts on this one.

If you have made a decision, communicate on where and when you're going to meet.

Lonely Planet is not the only forum with meeting opportunities.

Backpacking Tips also offers backpackers a way to meet each other. Click here for backpacking forum travel partners (opens in a new window)

Backpackers hiking during sunset, Hike on sunset: ©

For Travbuddy, just enter a country in the 'Find People Traveling to' box.

Hopefully, there will be some matches.

Find someone that appeals to your main goals for the trip (see no. 3 in 'Inner Circle' section).

You need to register with Travbuddy to contact the person.

  • OFFLINE: Not only can you get travel partners before departure, but also while you're backpacking.

The chances are good that you'll meet someone you like. This is good because you already know each other and probably have a good chemistry.

I found a travel partner while I was backpacking in Asia. We were on the same bus from Pai (Thailand) to the Lao border, and traveled in Laos together and had a little reunion on Ko Phi Phi later in the journey. 

You just know in your gut if you like a person - I don't need to tell you how.

Ready to find travel partner? Click here to post a message in our backpacking forum.

Need more tips?

This article is a taste of what you can expect in my eBook "Ticket to safe backpacking" in SE Asia and India. In this ebook, you'll find valuable tips on common backpacking safety, how to avoid scams and much more.

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