The term buddy system has been used for years, first by soldiers on the battlefield and then by parents in the suburbs. And while we may have rolled our eyes or grumbled under our breath as children, with age comes wisdom and the truth that, sometimes, it’s nice to have a buddy, especially as you travel the world. But then comes the hard part. How do you find this elusive travel buddy to share in your adventures?
Fear not. It doesn’t matter if you’re a shy solo traveler or an outgoing adventure travel connoisseur; you can find travel buddies anywhere.
Discover our tips for finding your perfect travel partner and where to get started!
Table of Contents
- 4 Tips for Finding a Travel Companion
- How to Find a Travel Buddy Online: Top 12 Sites
- Looking for the Perfect Travel Partner? Next Vacay Has Your Back
4 Tips for Finding a Travel Companion
Finding the perfect travel partner isn’t so much about finding the perfect person to travel with. Instead, it’s about finding someone who can enrich your experience and make it better than if you had opted for solo travel.
With that in mind, here are four tips to ensure you’re not just choosing a travel companion who looks good on paper but one who takes your travels to new heights.
1. Don’t Be Hasty
Patience is a virtue, especially when choosing a travel buddy with whom you’ll spend significant time as you trot the globe together. The last thing you want to do is rush the process and pick someone who doesn’t share the same interests or enjoy traveling the way you do.
Some travelers love trekking through the wild outdoors, while others prefer their most strenuous activities to be picking their way over rain puddles on a cobblestone street.
Having different travel interests is fine and expected, but if you and your travel partner don’t see eye to eye on anything in the trip itinerary, you may as well elect to travel solo at that point. Trying to navigate different travel styles and compromise on what you’re doing won’t be fun for you or your potential travel partner.
You want to find a travel buddy that complements your personality and travel style. So, think of your search like a jigsaw puzzle. You wouldn’t steal a piece from another jigsaw and ram it into the one you’re trying to complete just to say you did it. As you search for your travel companion, keep in mind you want to find a piece that matches the rest of your jigsaw, i.e., someone who fits near seamlessly into your travels.
2. Know That You’ll Never Find the Perfect Travel Partner
Unrealistic expectations can derail the best-laid plans.
Wanting a “perfect” travel buddy is setting yourself up for disappointment. Unless you somehow rope Keanu Reeves into traveling with you—we’re pretty sure he’s one of the nicest/coolest people on the planet—you can expect some bumpy patches during your travels.
The bright side, or downside, or maybe it’s just a fact of life, is that you’d run into this problem with anybody. We’d like to know one couple, pair of friends, or sibling duo that hasn’t fought, especially when traveling together.
Sharing your life with someone else can get messy. The same is true for traveling with someone else. And expecting perfection from them is a double-edged sword that will certainly nick you at some point as well.
No one is perfect.
So, look for a travel buddy with whom you mesh well. If you can help fill in each other’s gaps, even better. Maybe you have an impeccable sense of direction while they have an outgoing and approachable demeanor. Don’t get hung up on perfection. Instead, look for ways you and your partner complement one another and can help each other grow.
You’ll find your search a lot easier in the long run and connect with more potential travel partners.
3. Find Someone with a Sense of Humor
We think this one pretty much speaks for itself. Trips seldom go as planned. Unexpected situations can pop up in the blink of an eye, and plans get rearranged or canceled entirely.
Having an easy-going travel companion ready to take the day in stride and crack a joke or two is the exact kind of person you’ll want by your side when everything goes south—your plans, not your travels.
After all, rainy days look a lot less grim when greeted with a smile.
4. Know When to Call It Quits
You’re bound to meet a lot of interesting people in your search for a travel companion. As you scope out the best websites for the right person, pay attention to how you feel while chatting. Take note of anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or uncertain, and if things don’t feel right, don’t be afraid to move on.
Traveling solo will be a better bet than spending your trip with someone who doesn’t make you feel comfortable.
Of course, once you’ve found someone to travel with, you may find that you don’t mesh as well as you thought you did after you’ve gotten out on the road. Maybe they travel a lot more than you or spend the whole trip talking about their ex—we’ve all heard the horror stories. You may find yourself wanting to call it quits halfway through the journey.
This is another reason why an easy-going travel friend is a good call.
Simply put, it’s easier to break things off with someone who won’t throw a fit. Be comfortable and confident with setting boundaries, and don’t be afraid to bail if necessary.
Provided you aren’t stuck together in a car on an epic road trip around South America, there’s no rule saying you have to stick it out with your travel buddy to the bitter end.
How to Find a Travel Buddy Online: Top 12 Sites
Now that you’re well-equipped with helpful tips on how to find your future travel partner, check out these top sites and travel apps to find a travel buddy.
Whether you’re looking for someone to plan a whole trip with or just someone to spend a day with, you’re bound to meet people and find the perfect travel buddy for your next trip!
GAFFL stands for Get a Friend for Life. While we can’t attest to that claim, GAFFL does offer the opportunity to find your perfect travel buddy, whether you’re looking for a forever friend or just a friendly face to split the costs of your travel. Simply search your destination, then browse through trips or create your own to find like-minded travelers with similar travel dates who can share your experience—and the bill.
A three-step verification process for users includes a valid government ID so that you can feel safer about your potential travel buddy. Just sign up, connect, and start chatting to find your perfect travel companion.
While the platform is extremely helpful, it’s not exactly free. Arguably, the biggest drawback to the site is that GAFFL users have to pay to access trips, with prices ranging from $9.99 for one month to $39.99 for 12 months. On the upside, these are one-time payments with no recurring fees. The downside is that even if you want to check out the site before using it, you have to pay the one-month fee for access.
Reddit isn’t just for getting news updates and reading incredible—and cringe-worthy—stories. It’s also a great resource for finding all kinds of travel-related content. And, yes, that includes finding travel companions!
The TravelPartners subreddit helps people find a travel buddy or simply new friends to meet up with as they solo travel the world.
Check out previous posts to see if anything aligns with your travel plans. If you’re new to Reddit, your account must be a week old before you can post your own trip details.
And if you’re more interested in solo travel with some companionship sprinkled in, the SoloTravel subreddit is perfect for getting advice on just that. You’ll find recommendations for finding people to meet up with for group tours, social events, and more.
Travello bills itself as the “complete social travel app” and is probably one of the best apps for finding travel partners. You can meet friends, book experiences, and share your travel stories with posts and pictures.
Whether you’re a digital nomad or solo traveler, users can create their perfect travel community within the app, discovering new friends nearby and at their destination. Adding your travel plans to your Trips immediately opens the door to possible connections, as Travello will tell you who else has similar itineraries.
You can also join special interest groups to find travelers with similar passions, like backpacking, photography, etc.
Being a solo traveler can be tough, but Travello makes it easier by connecting you with other travelers. You can find travel companions and even hunt down free Wi-Fi spots through the app. Talk about the complete package.
Couchers.org bills itself as a new and improved alternative to Couchsurfing. Though Couchsurfing has been a big name in the travel industry for years, it was hit hard by COVID and has been plagued by issues stemming from its for-profit structure, unsavory users, and buggy tech.
Couchers.org aims to address those issues and remain non-profit by returning to the original essence that existed at Couchsurfing’s core years ago.
While still in its beta stages, the community is growing rapidly. Users can find many useful features, including a map to help locate potential hosts. Aside from finding a place to stay, Couchers.org is an excellent place for solo travelers to find new friends, chat, and plan meetups.
Tourlina is all about the female travel buddy experience: only women are allowed to use the app. This makes it perfect for women who don’t feel comfortable finding travel companions of the opposite sex. All new members are manually verified, so female travelers can feel a bit safer knowing their potential travel buddy has already been vetted.
Once you sign up, you can enter your trip destination and dates and find other solo travelers with similar interests. You can also find local people in the area to chat and meet up with once you arrive.
Women Welcome Women Worldwide, more commonly known as 5W, is an organization focused on helping women travel internationally and connect with women all over the globe. Though based in the UK, as the name suggests, women from all over can join.
Created by women for women, 5W offers a safe space for solo travelers to chat, find travel friends, and engage in a global network of like-minded souls. Travelers can do everything from connecting with a local for lunch to arranging meetups with larger groups.
5W allows women to solo travel without being one hundred percent alone. New members can join with a donation of just under $50 USD.
TripGiraffe provides a straightforward, easy-to-use website to find a partner for your global travels. Finding a travel buddy is as simple as filling out a trip form.
Though you can browse available trips, creating a new trip is one of the best ways to connect with people on the site, and TripGiraffe allows you to fill out more specific details. Of course, you’ll enter the broad destination and travel dates, but then users can fill out info like preferred type of vacation, budget, how they like to travel, and even what they’re interested in doing while there.
This helps you truly hone in on the best travel buddies for your vacation.
The site then directs users to a suggestions page, where they can find other travelers going to the same place and even invite travelers they think might like to travel together.
Backpackers who want to embark on a new adventure and meet up with fellow travelers can check out Backpackr.
Everything about this app caters to the backpacker experience. Making friends is made easy with the ability to find travel buddies with the same passions and plans to go to the same destinations.
In the Common Room, you can ask other travelers for advice on places to see and things to do and arrange to meet up before your actual trip.
The app also provides exclusive offers on local tours, hostels, pub crawls, and more, enhancing the social aspect of backpacking.
They say that a good friend is the best thing you can bring on your travels. But, if you can’t bring a friend, you can still share your experiences with others! Intrepid offers small group tours perfect for solo travelers interested in meeting up with fellow adventurers.
With over half of Intrepid’s community being solo travelers, you’re bound to run into a travel buddy who shares similar interests.
Even if you’re not looking for a forever travel mate, sometimes it’s nice just to have company. Intrepid’s group travel offers the comfort of numbers and some free time to get out and do your own thing.
Between your fellow travelers and the local leaders who know the area, you’ll be in good hands during your trip.
10. Stroll Buddy
Formerly the Global Greeter Network, Stroll Buddy is a non-profit organization with volunteers offering visitors a personalized peek into their city.
For solo travelers just looking for a short-term travel companion, Stroll Buddy may be the perfect fit. You can connect with a friendly face at your destination and get an insider tour without the commitment of a long-term travel buddy, leaving you to solo travel through the rest of your trip in peace.
Once you select your destination, you can request a stroll buddy through the online form. From there, it’s a simple matter of strapping on a pair of comfy shoes and linking up with your stroll buddy.
11. Social Media
Social media was built to connect people, so it’s no surprise that it does a good job connecting travelers, too. Facebook is an excellent source for travelers from around the globe, making it easier to chat, share advice, and find travel buddies!
Possibly its greatest advantage is Facebook groups, which allow people to join a community of individuals who share common experiences and interests.
Women traveling solo can join GirlsLOVETravel to plan meetups with other females, while LGBTQ travelers can get travel tips from others in their community. You’re bound to find a Facebook group for whatever you can dream up.
Meetup is a familiar name in the online social network sphere that has also been helping people build connections for years.
Whether you want to attend an event for tips on how to find travel buddies or take your search out into the world by joining a group, Meetup is a great place to get started finding events in your area.
With regular events and members, you’ll be able to spend time with people and experience how well you get along in person before possibly embarking on a trip together.
Looking for the Perfect Travel Partner? Next Vacay Has Your Back
Traveling the world without a partner isn’t just intimidating, it can be costly too. With expenses racking up every way you look, you may think your dreams of travel are over before they’ve even begun.
Enter your new travel buddy.
Next Vacay takes the weight off your shoulders with a dedicated team of savvy deal hunters finding you all the best flights to global destinations. Deals are customized to your airport and delivered to your inbox, so all you have to do is click and book. No more going it solo; you’ve found the perfect travel partner. Plan your next trip with Next Vacay!