How to find someone to travel with? (Strangers will do.)
July 30, 2009 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Are there any websites that pair up lone backpackers/travellers with others who are also looking for companion(s) to travel with?

Money saved up? Check. Physical stamina? Check. Time freed up (well, it's during the xmas break)? Check. Companion to go travel with? Nope. For the past 2 years, I have asked NUMEROUS people (college friends, HS friends, acquaintances, etc) to go travel with me in South America, not for long, perhaps for a 2- to 3-week period. Their replies have always been the same: no money, school, work, kids, too hot, dirty, language issues. All of those reasons are very understandable, and I guess I shouldn't obtrude upon others to commit in something that they don't feel very passionate about. If I wish to experience a completely different culture than mine, but too scared to do it on my own since I have never even stepped out of my OWN country, what should I do? (Please don't tell me to watch the Lonely Planet because, trust me, I have already seen them ALL.) Where can I find fellow "loners" who are in the same situation as I am? Thank you & take care!
posted by pixxie to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
With the proviso that I have never actually used it, I believe might be a good place to start.

I would also recommend the more organic approach: Check the bulletin boards at youth hostels whenever you arrive in town. I arrived in Tel Aviv alone once, stayed in a dreary hotel for a few nights, relocated to a hostel, and ended up travelling to Egypt for a great journey of a month or so with three other solo travellers and had a blast. I have also snagged rides from one coast of North America to the other.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:57 PM on July 30, 2009

One of your previous posts indicated you're in Canada (?). If so, you could try the Trip Partners page on the MEC site. If you would consider a guided trip, there's always REI Adventures.

Besides those, you could try hiking or travel forums. Just do a Google search for those types of sites or for "trip partners". The Lonely Planet has a forum for South America ... maybe you could find someone there?
posted by nelvana at 3:05 PM on July 30, 2009

You could always take a package tour for the first one. It would let you dip your toe in and yet still have a safety net. It might also teach you that strangers will not "do", and that a bad travel companion can ruin your trip.
posted by smackfu at 3:20 PM on July 30, 2009

Also make sure to join couchsurfing before you leave. Use it to-
1) find those travel partners. build a profile, and join the groups for both travel buddies (specifically) as well as the areas that you are planning to travel in. make request.
2) find locals to stay with or hang out with. I guess it can be fun meeting other travelers, but I prefer meeting locals and their friends and finding the places I should really be seeing.
3) learn about CS events that happen when you come to town. A lot of groups have regular outings to local sites, club nights, etc.
posted by whatzit at 3:23 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

seconding couchsurfing. I've found it to be a great site, and if you are flexible with your plans you could quite easily find someone to travel around with.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 6:07 PM on July 30, 2009

Really, the best place to find travel partners is at the hostel in the city you travel to. Investigate the answers mentioned above, but if you have no luck it is very likely that you will meet people to travel with while you're abroad. It is a super great way to travel, even for a quiet introvert such as myself.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:49 PM on July 30, 2009

A few itinerant South Africans and Aussies I know use Where Are You Know?, which bills itself as 'a travel social network' that 'connects you with like-minded people wherever you are and whatever you're up for doing'.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:56 AM on July 31, 2009

n-thing finding travel partners along the way at backpackers/hostels. I prefer to travel solo (see more that way) but the times I've wanted a travel partner, it wasn't difficult to find someone going the same way and fall in with them.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:04 AM on July 31, 2009

i can't vouch for it but at the forums you can post for partners in any region. also, the outdoorsclub, which i can vouch for, is based in southern california but people occasionally post trips for outside the US, and are usually able to find a couple of people to join them. all strangers, some more strange than others.
posted by hereticfig at 6:31 AM on July 31, 2009

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