How to find the right travel partners – a guide for solo travelers

You want to go on a road trip. You need nice travel partners to share the adventure. How to find travel mates for your road trip? Get some travel tips!

Why to do 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.

If you are a solo traveler, you know that being on your own is the best travel experience ever. It’s an amazing challenge to take up. And it’s also the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and take risks. To travel with a stranger is one of those challenges which won’t let you indifferent. It’s a unique human adventure in which you will get to know your travel mate and yourself in a deep way. Besides, it’s a good solution to cheer up your wallet and to live the road trip life if you don’t own a car. A travel mate will make your backpacking trips cheaper!


How to find the right travel partners and where to look for it

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 indeed that you take the risk of … the unknown! Personalities interact in a complex way and everyone has defaults. 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. Just making new friends and contacts at your hostel, on your farm (for the ones who live the real backpacker Aussie life!) or at your workplace could lead you to a future travel mate.

We are solo travelers and embarked on our own adventure… we are free like the wind and everything can happen.

If it doesn’t happen like that, here comes to rescue the wonder of modern technologies: Internet and its bunch of social networks and apps. Made for globe trotters, backpackers, solo travelers, and all wanderers, apps and groups on social networks enable 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.

Apps for solo travelers, travel partners and lifts:

The +: intuitive and simple user interface – a lot of lifts everywhere in Australia to be found – campervan relocations available

The -: profiles not really detailed

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 +: backpacker community – travel tips per region, city, country- travel ideas – on mobile – intuitive interface – messenger chat

The –: a bit impersonal – big group chats

How to know if your travel partners could be appropriate for the road trip

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 good questions to your travel mate. 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.

6 questions to your future travel mate

  1. Travel partners and way of traveling – hostels rather than sleeping in the van?
  2. Exploring – Is your travel mate a backpacker tours addict or an outsider eager to explore away from the touristic track?
  3. Party mouse or not – Does the travel mate need party every day and a cohort of other backpackers around?
  4. And maybe the most important point: is the travel mate looking for a human experience or rather for someone to share the costs first? There is nothing worse than traveling with someone who doesn’t really want to get to know the other travel mate.
  5. 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.
  6. About the monies. 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.

 Travel tips for the road trip:

  • 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.

All these questions depend on each personality and travel preferences. So, here one of my travel tips: take time to think about your expectations. Don’t put them in the background. It’s also your road trip.

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.

My travel tips:

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!

Illustrated story of a short road trip with my German travel mates – A day trip to Cape Tribulation, Australia

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