For many people, travel is one of the greatest things life has to offer. From Africa to Asia to the beautiful historic cities of Europe, the world has so much to offer.
The question is: Will you wait for someone else to explore the world with you? Or will you travel alone? Both traveling with a travel buddy and all alone has its advantages and disadvantages.
In this article we will tell you what to look for when finding a travel buddy and the best way to get in touch with other solo travelers.
What should you discuss in advance with a travel buddy?
Before you start looking for the right travel buddy, it is wise to list a few things for yourself. Consider the following:
1: Your travel plans
This is probably the most obvious condition. Still, it is good to make this as specific as possible. For example, consider:
- The date you want to leave
- The destinations you want to include in your itinerary
- The activities you want to do in each destination during your trip
2: Type of activities
Two solo travelers with plans to go to Thailand may both have a very different idea of how they want to complete this trip. One may want to see every temple, while the other can’t wait to go to the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan.
In your message to other travel buddies, be as honest as possible about this. Indicate how you want to fill out your trip and be sure in advance that this matches with your travel partner.
An example of a post might look like this:
3: Your budget
Are you more of a luxury traveler, or a true budget traveler? Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to accommodation, types of activities and restaurants.
If you know in advance what you want to spend per day or week, you and your travel buddy can work out how you want to spend it.
Don’t know the approximate budget you need to consider? Then calculate the following:
- Look on websites like booking.com for the average nightly rate for a hotel in the relevant region. Multiply this rate by the number of nights you want to stay somewhere.
- Search Google for the average price for a meal at a restaurant
- Check websites such as Rome2Rio for the average cost of transportation from A to B
Multiply these amounts by the number of days you want to stay away and you have a good idea of your budget.
What are the pros and cons of traveling with a buddy?
Both traveling by yourself and traveling with a travel buddy have their advantages and disadvantages. We list the pros and cons of traveling with a buddy for you:
|+ You can share experiences with others
|– You may be less likely to meet new people because you are already with someone
|+ You have someone to share expenses with
|– You may feel less like you are embarking on the adventure completely alone if you travel with someone
|+ You can feel more at ease in an unfamiliar country
|+ In unsafe situations you always have someone beside you
|+ It can sometimes be easier to approach new people if you are not all by yourself
Of course, traveling with a travel buddy doesn’t have to be so black and white. For example, you can also choose to do part of your trip with someone, and part of it traveling alone.
That way, you get a little taste of both, and you can ultimately make your own choice of what you like best.
Did you know that both freedom and meeting new people are two of the seven most cited reasons for people to travel alone?– Centre for the Promotion of Imports (source)
What are the best platforms to find a travel buddy?
In this digital age, there are plenty of ways to find a travel buddy. From Facebook pages to dedicated travel buddy apps, you don’t have to worry about being all alone during your solo journey these days.
Here’s a list of some of the best apps and platforms for travelers looking for companions:
Likeplan is an app aimed specifically at solo travelers. In the Likeplan app, you can easily create or join trips with other solo travelers. Based on your chosen destination and travel dates, you can see who else is going to this destination.
In the Travel Buddy Posts you can include a detailed description of your travel itinerary. In addition, you can indicate which activities you would like to do during your trip. For each trip, you can see who is interested in joining you.
Each event has a chat feature, so you can exchange plans in advance and get in touch with all travel companions.
Likeplan is completely free for users and you don’t have to take out a subscription. The app is available for both Android and IOS.
PROS & CONS
+ Completely free
+ The most advanced travel buddy app of the moment
– The app is fairly new and is still busy growing in reach
Couchsurfing is a hospitality and social networking platform that allows travelers to connect with locals in the places they visit. The primary concept revolves around a community of individuals who offer their homes (couches, spare rooms, or even just a place to sleep) to fellow travelers for free.
It’s a cultural exchange and a way for people to experience a destination through the eyes of locals. Couchsurfing heeft sinds enkele jaren ‘Hangouts’ geïntroduceerd binnen het platform.
This feature allows solo travelers to post simple calls for people to organize activities with each other, such as having a cup of coffee.
PROS & CONS
+ Great community
– Mandatory subscription of €2.99 per month
– The interface is outdated
Meetup is a social networking platform that facilitates the organization and participation in local events, bringing people with similar interests together. Unlike Couchsurfing, Meetup focuses on events and group gatherings rather than accommodation.
Meetup focuses more on expats than solo travelers. For example, you will also find many business events on the platform.
Although in most cases it is free to attend an event, you have to pay to create your own events. Subscription fees range from €12 to €19 per month.
PROS & CONS
+ Great variety in events
+ Users in all parts of the world
– Limited personalization options for profiles
– Aimed at expats instead of travelers
4. Join My Trip
JoinMyTrip is a platform that connects travelers worldwide with unique group trips. It offers over 300 handpicked and reviewed trips from various parts of the world, allowing individuals to join these trips by reserving a spot and paying a 20% deposit.
The platform also allows individuals to lead their own trips and provides support with planning and organization. Join My Trip kan meer gezien worden als reisorganisatie dan een travel buddy platform.
The advantage is that you have the guarantee of a company, but you are not able to interact unpaid with other solo travelers.
PROS & CONS
+ The security of an organized platform
+ The comfort of organized trips
– All trips are paid
– No ability to post your own calls that others can connect to for free
Worldpackers is a platform that facilitates work exchange and volunteer opportunities for travelers. It connects over 3 million travelers with a variety of hosts in more than 140 countries, offering a safe community for travel and volunteering.
The platform verifies the identities of all hosts and provides support through its insurance, responsive hosts, and a support team.
Worldpackers aims to promote cultural exchange and social impact, making it an ideal platform for budget-conscious and socially-minded travelers.
Like Join My Trip, Worldpackers is an organized marketplace. Whereas Join My Trip focuses on organized travel, Worldpackers focuses primarily on volunteering.
Worldpackers’ platform integrates a feature where solo travelers can post calls to find travel buddies.
PROS & CONS
+ Large community
+ The security of an organized platform
– Fixed subscription cost of €49 per year
Which social media groups can be used to find travel companions?
On Facebook, you can find several groups to find a travel buddy. These groups feature calls from solo travelers who want to make plans with others before or during their trip.
You can find general groups for people who have open plans. But there are also groups for travelers in a particular region. Some examples of these groups are:
- Find a travel buddy with over 500.000 members
- Travel buddies with over 11.000 members
- Southeast Asia travel community with over 8.000 members
The advantage of these Facebook groups is that they generally have a lot of members. The disadvantage of these groups is that your message quickly becomes invisible due to the algorithm.
In addition, complaints are regularly posted in these groups from users who receive unwanted messages from other members in response to a call. For this reason, it is advisable to be careful with this.
What safety precautions should you take before traveling with someone?
You should be careful at all times when interacting online with people you don’t already know. Be it travel buddy or dating apps.
In any case, take care of the following safety measures when searching for travel buddies online:
- Trust your own gut feeling. This remains the most important thing. Often you can get a good sense for yourself whether someone is sincere or not and whether you are speaking to the person you think you are connecting with. Don’t trust it? Then break contact and report this person to the relevant platform.
- Check social media channels. Ask about the social media profiles of the person you are in contact with. Often an Instagram or Facebook profile gives good insight into someone’s background. Make sure this is a real profile and not a fake one.
- Inform others of your travel plans. Once you are traveling with your new travel buddy? Then let people back home know about your travel plans.
- Share your live location. You might consider continuously sharing your live location when you are traveling. Apps like Life360 can help with this. This way, people back home will know where you are in case something goes wrong.
Pepijn is the founder of Likeplan. He mainly writes about solo traveling. With over 10 completed solo trips, he writes from his own experience with the mission to encourage other people to go out and explore by themselves.