Choosing your travel partner
Traveling solo gives you the freedom to create your own schedule and do as you please. But traveling with a partner has its benefits, too. For example, a travel partner can provide moral support and celebrate in the rewards of firsthand experience with unfamiliar locations and cultures. To ensure that a travel partner is one who can add value to your journey, choose someone who has similar travel preferences and personality characteristics. There are several steps you can take to find a travel partner who will enhance your journey.
Picking a Compatible Travel Partner
Look for someone with common interests. Traveling should be fun. When you are on a trip, you will want to do lots of activities that you are enjoy. Preferably, your companion will want to do the same things as you.
- Think about your travel priorities. Make a list of all of your “must dos”.
- For example, maybe you are planning a trip to France. If visiting The Louvre is a priority, make sure your travel partner wants to go, too.
- Remember that you don’t have to do all of the activities together. But when you travel with someone, it is fun to do at least some things with each other.
Consider energy levels. When you travel, there are many types of experiences that you could have. You could be very active or you might be looking for a more sedate trip. Find a travel partner who has an agenda and energy level similar to yours.
- Think about what type of trip you want to have. Are you looking forward to walking a lot? Do you plan to be doing a lot of physical activities, such as scuba diving?
- If you anticipate being active, try to look for a friend who enjoys being active. Maybe your pal from the gym would be a good choice.
- Likewise, if you plan to chill, take that into account. If you want to spend your days relaxing on the beach, you don’t want a travel partner who will be constantly nagging you to get moving.
Discuss financial plans. Before you travel, you should plan a budget. Figure out what items are most important to you. For example, do you want to splurge on luxury lodging and save by not doing many excursions? Get a good idea of what things will cost.
- Before traveling with a friend, make sure that you are on the same page concerning money. You don’t want to be planning an expensive getaway at the same time your friend is looking for budget travel.
- Try asking specific questions. You can say, “How much do you think we should spend on a hotel each night?”
- You can also plan a budget together. Say, “Let’s sit down and work out how much we want to spend per day.”
Have an honest conversation. If you are thinking about traveling with a companion, take some time to have an open discussion. You should discuss your goals for the trip. You could also talk about your travel style.
- Schedule a time to sit down and talk. Try saying, “I know we’ve talked hypothetically about traveling through Europe together. Let’s have coffee this week and actually talk that through.”
- Be upfront. If there is something about you that your friend needs to know, go a head and share that.
- For example, you might need to say, “I’m a nervous flyer. Is there anything I should know about traveling with you?”
Find someone who is flexible. No matter how carefully you plan your trip, it is likely that something will go awry. Maybe it will rain on the day you planned to visit the Grand Canyon. Or you might not be able to get reservations at that French restaurant you’ve been dying to try.
- Choose a travel partner who can adjust. You don’t want to be stuck with someone who declares the whole trip ruined if you have to adjust plans.
- Travel with a friend who is pretty easygoing. Do you have a buddy who is willing to go out for sushi, even if you’d planned on having pizza? That person might be easy to get along with.
- Make sure that you’re flexible, too. Remember that you’re on vacation to relax and have fun. Try to just go with the flow if you have to change your agenda.
Meeting a New Travel Partner
Talk to a friend of a friend. Maybe you’re planning a big trip and looking for someone to go with you. It can be frustrating if none of your close friends or family can go with you. Try expanding your network.
- Ask your friends if they know anyone who wants to travel with you. For example, maybe your friend has a cousin who has always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise, just like the one you are planning.
- Use social media to make connections. Make a post looking for a travel partner, tagging multiple friends. That way, their friends will see your post, too.
- Make sure to try to meet your new travel partner in person before your trip. If that’s not possible, correspond by e-mail or phone and get to know one another.
Stay at a hostel. Sometimes you just can’t find someone you know to travel with you. That’s okay. Traveling alone can be really fun. And there are lots of ways to meet new travel companions along the way.
- A hostel is a great place to meet new friends. These inexpensive lodgings are very common in Europe.
- Staying at a hostel is often a communal experience. Make some reservations to stay at various hostels, and get ready to meet your fellow travelers.
- Connect with a new group of people. If you meet some people that you get along with, ask if you can go along with them to the next city.
Find a gap year program. If you are young, consider taking a gap year. A gap year is a year between high school and college. People often spend their gap year traveling.
- Gap year travel is very common among Europeans. It is becoming increasingly popular in the United States.
- Search the internet for a study abroad program. Based on your interests, you will be placed with a group of like-minded travelers.
- Try using a reputable website such as Go Overseas. They have options for short and long trips, with a variety of locations and objectives.
Join a travel group. Don’t worry if you can’t find someone you know to travel with you. There are businesses that are professionals at setting you up with the travel experience of your dreams. You can use these organizations to find wonderful travel partners.
- Web sites such as Globe Trooper offer many traveler designed trips. You can use their site to meet other people who want to visit great ski resorts in Europe.
- These sites offer a variety of trips. Make sure to look for ones planned by people who share your interests.
- When you are traveling with a group of new people, the same rules apply as when you travel with a friend. Make sure you have the same interests, energy level, and financial plans.
Making the Most of Your Trip
Do your research. Traveling should be relaxing and enjoyable. If you want, it should also be full of adventures. Just make sure that your adventures come from things like climbing mountains, not staying in dubious lodgings. 
- Before you travel, take some time to do your research. Start by reading reviews.
- Read traveler reviews of every place you plan to stay. You want to know if other people experienced big problems like the heat not working or the doors not locking.
- Use a site like Trip Advisor. They post multiple reviews for every aspect of traveling.
Manage your expectations. You want your vacation to be amazing. That’s natural. But make sure to keep your expectations realistic.
- Try not to get upset if something goes wrong. For example, don’t consider the whole trip ruined if one of your adventures gets rained out.
- Plan to have a good time. But be ready to laugh it off if something unexpectedly goes awry.
- Maybe you’re traveling in New York, and the restaurant lost your reservation. That’s disappointing, but it’s also a great excuse to try a slice of famous NYC pizza.
Disconnect from technology. Take a true time out when you are on vacation. Try not to be tethered to your phone or laptop. Avoid the urge to check your e-mail multiple times a day.
- Don’t check social media multiple times a day. Try to enjoy your own experiences.
- Focus on being in the moment. Look around at your surroundings, and find somewhere new to explore.
- Relax and enjoy. Make an effort to forget about work and responsibilities. You’re on vacation!