I am made of photography,stories from the road and a good dose of passion. I am Ophélie, French-born traveler always on the go. My travel photography blog is about my travel experiences, tips and my addiction for adventure. To help you explore countries on your own… as an independent and curious traveller.
Written by Ophelie
Updated 9th March 21
Will take 4mn to read
Find travel partners in 3 steps
- Why to look for travel partners
- Where to find them
- How to know if they are suitable to you
Travel partners - For who?
- Solo travelers
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Why to go on a road trip with travel mates?
A beautiful Friday night on the hostel’s rooftop in Brisbane Australia, stars in the sky, a beer in the hand and a good bunch of people. That’s how I met my first travel mate.
That’s how I embarked on an amazing road trip in New Zealand. It was my first backpacking trip with a travel mate I didn’t know before going. But while landing in Australia, I told myself to try new travel experiences and this one definitely belongs to backpacking life.
Some advantages of being with travel partners
Paradoxically, traveling with a stranger is one of those challenges of solo travel trips. Finding travel partners for your road trip has got several advantages.
- It’s a unique human adventure in which you will get to know your travel mate and yourself in a deep way.
- A good solution to cheer up your wallet by sharing daily costs, like food or national parks’ fees.
- If you don’t own a car and don’t want to bother buying one: finding travel partners who already have a vehicle is a win-win for both sides. You’ll benefit from their van and they’ll share fuel costs with you.
- For safety in some areas (like in the Australian desert): it might be better to not travel alone.
- On the whole, travel partners will make your backpacking trips cheaper!
Where to search for travel partners while traveling?
First of all, the perfect travel mate is not to be found! The whole thing of doing a road trip with travel partners you don’t know is namely that you take the risk of … the Unknown! Personalities interact in a complex way and everyone has shortcomings. Keep that in mind while looking for your future travel mate.
Where to look for travel partners? Travel tips and ressources
While backpacking in Australia I found a number of ways to find travel partners for a road trip.
The best one in my opinion is to meet fellow travelers at the hostel where you’re staying. It might sound cliché but I stick to the fact that nothing can replace a first contact face-to-face. It’s a question of alchemy why you’ll go towards a person and not to another, why you’ll start creating a bound.
If you’re working as a backpacker, you also might have the opportunity to connect with your fellow coworkers. There are so many other backpackers and solo travellers at farms and in hospitality jobs! The good thing is that backpackers working at farms or in hospitality are in the same boat. It often creates strong boundaries. Just making new friends and contacts at your workplace could lead you to find future travel partners.
If it doesn’t happen the natural way, the wonder of modern technologies comes to the rescue. I name Internet, its bunch of social networks and apps. Made for globe trotters, backpackers and solo travelers, apps and groups on social networks enable you to connect with fellow travelers.
Facebook to find a travel mate :
Facebook is a good start. Look in the groups related to the city from where you want to go. Travel mates – Australia is an example if you travel down under.
Gumtree : only in Australia
It’s an all-and-nothing platform! Like Ebay, you can find of everything on Gumtree. From jobs, cars… to travel partners! Always be careful, there are scams sometimes. Don’t give any personal data there.
Applications on mobile to find travel partners and lifts :
The pros: backpacker community – travel tips per region, city, country- travel ideas – on mobile – intuitive interface – messenger chat
The cons: a bit impersonal – big group chats
The +: up to date profiles and routes – position of the lifts – detailed profiles
The -: only for lifts in Australia – still not a lot of users
The +: official website, well-known from travellers. Also to find volunteering jobs.
The -: need to sign in and pay a fee
How to know if your travel partners are the Ones to go on a road trip with?
You now have a potential travel mate for your next road trip. The question is: how to know if this travel mate could be the suitable one for the trip? Even if it’s not possible to predict that before traveling together, it’s really useful to ask the right questions to your travel mate.
How to know if these travel partners are for you? 6 questions to ask
You’re going to literally live with the travel partners all around the clock. The more you know about your travel mate, the better! Communications is a must, before and while the road trip.
8 questions to your future travel mate
- Travel partners and way of traveling – hostels rather than sleeping in the van?
- Way of exploring – Is your travel mate a backpacker tours addict or an outsider eager to explore away from the touristic track?
- Itinerary? What is your travel partner interested in seeing? Make sure you agree on some common stops.
- Time frame? How long does your travel partner wish to be on the road trip? Short or longer term? The whole itinerary or just a part?
- Party mouse or not – Does the travel mate need party every day and a cohort of other backpackers around?
- Human experience or rather cost sharing? There is nothing worse than traveling with someone who doesn’t really want to get to know the other travel mate.
- Music tastes? Not to neglect! If you are in New Zealand, in Australia or in the States, you’re going to spend a huge amount of time in the car with the travel mate … without seeing any civilization during hours! Music is a sine qua none condition for a good road trip.
- How to split costs? Be on the same page as your travel mate regarding the budget and the way to spend it. Shared expenditures are going to be fuel, food and camp fees if you live in a van with your travel partners.
All these questions depend on each personality and travel preferences. So, here one of my travel tips: take time to think about your expectations.
The most important advice I could give is yet to trust your instinct. If you have a good feeling about the travel mate and the road trip, it’s a good start. After all, it’s a human adventure, as unpredictable and full of surprises as travelers can be!
Take it easy, it’s not forever … or maybe yes! We are solo travelers and embarked on our own adventure… we are free like the wind and everything can happen.
Extra travel tips for your road trip - in Australia
While road tripping in Australia with your brand new travel partners:
- Plan first a one to 2 weeks trip. It’ll give you time to explore places on the road and to get to know the travel mate. You still can decide to travel together longer if it fits!
- Check the app Wikicamps to know more about camp spots across Australia. It provides the travelers with info about free and paid camps, the facilities and other stuff. It’s a gold mine while being on a road trip.
- Install an app to track expenses. You’ll know who owes who what – a big help when it comes to share costs on a road trip with your travel mate.
- Try Splitwise: Paypal transfer available
- Install Divvy: snap an image of the receipt and send it to each travel mate. 0,99 cts to download.