Updated October 22nd, 2018.
I love meeting new people! For me, one of the greatest attractions of travelling is to arrive somewhere brand new and meet a totally new group of people; backpackers and locals alike. I have done a huge amount of both solo and group travel and I highly recommend you try both of them.
Persuading Friends from home to hitch on the backpack!
When it comes to getting my friends to leave the UK and travel with me for a bit I can be a convincing bastard. Sometimes, I will make a Facebook page with my very rough itinerary and then my buddies back home can check it out and decide when they want to come visit.
Travelling with a friend is one of the best things you can do for your budget (you can split transport and accommodation costs) and it is also a good way to stay safe; if you get sick or injured your buddy can look after you. In India I literally carried a friend on my shoulder to a medical clinic where he was injected with adrenaline. In Nepal I slipped whilst suffering from altitude sickness and ended up hanging over an icy ridge with a sheer drop below me, my trekking buddy was able to pull me back onto the path and probably saved my life.
Meeting people on the road…
Whilst backpacking it is usually pretty easy to find a travel buddy on the road; simply find somebody kind of attractive or kind of funny and follow them around for a bit. If your real lost, I am both funny and attractive so come and follow me around! 😉
But seriously – one of the main reasons some would-be adventurers never leave home is because they are worried they won’t meet anyone. It’s easy to be scared, what if you are all alone in the middle of bloody nowhere? The backpacker community is, for the most part, awesome. Most people are extremely friendly and although there will be the odd asshole obsessed with one-upping everybody’s travel tales, many backpackers will be super keen to meet you and invite you out to explore the area or sample the local beers. You’re all travellers, so you already have that in common!
Just remember the three standard backpacker questions…
- “Where are you from?”
- “How long have you been traveling for?”
- “Where are you heading next?”
… and before you know it you’ll be wanting a moment to yourself!
Meeting friends for life on the road!
Meeting Travel Buddies Online
If you are however, very nervous about starting out travelling alone and you can’t find convince any of your friends to expand their horizons then you could always consider finding a travel buddy online. Here are a few tips:
- Couchsurfing: As well as being a great place for finding free accommodation CS is my first choice for finding travel buddies. I have found numerous people through the site groups who I have traveled with for a few weeks at a time. My favourite groups are the ‘Backpacker’ group and the ‘Travel buddies’ group but I also check out the specific group for whichever country or region I am visiting to see if any Couchsufing meetings are going on or if any other lone travellers are looking to meet up for a drink.
- TravBuddy: Another site worth checking out is TravBuddy. I have used TravBuddy on a couple of occasions although I have never met anybody from the site. A couple of my friends swear by it though so I have kept it on my radar. I prefer the CS system as it tends to be quicker to contact people however TravBuddy is specifically designed for finding travel partners and should still be checked out.
- FOFTravel: A fairly new social networking website designed to connect you to ‘friends of friends’ who are travelling… Whereas many people will be nervous about staying on the couch of someone’s home they have never met before, they would be happy to do so if they knew they were a friend of a friend! Give it a go – and see how many potential friends you have all over the world!
- ADVLO: A website that’s designed to connect backpackers with locals to find unique adventure travel experiences. If you’re looking for local friends and travel guides, nobody knows the city better than the people who live in it. The site doubles up as a tour booking website too.
- Backpacker Bookings: If you’re scared about embarking upon the adventure alone, why not ease into your once in a lifetime trip by booking a group tour first? We have loads of tried and tested trips on our Backpacker Bookings website where you can meet like-minded people, and then potentially travel independently with one or two of them after that! (Read our article ‘in need of a safety net?’ here).
- Dating websites: And if all that doesn’t work – you’ve always got Tinder!
And so there you have it, budding nomads, all the info you need to find a travel buddy, hit the road and have adventures!
This Article Was Written By: South American Ambassador Will Hatton, AKA The Broke Backpacker! Will first started backpacking over seven years ago and has the dubious honour of being one of the brokest travellers you are ever likely to meet! He launched his website in August 2014 to help inspire others to quit their jobs and hit the road! When he’s not writing, snapping photos or climbing mountains, he seeks out unique accommodation around the world for HovelStay.com and blogs for HolidayPirates.com. Read more about Will Facebook and Twitter @wandering_will. Or, if your really keen, meet him on the road in South America!