Would you ever wander with a stranger? Or with someone you just confronted online? Travel can open your eyes and your mind to an abundance of experiences, environments, languages and cultures, but what about the people we meet along the way?
Whether it’s someone we join in a Facebook group, on a tour or in a hostel, the truth is we are rarely alone, and even solo travellers find themselves sharing rides, rooms and experiences with someone they just met. The amazing thing about travel is it can bring you closer to people you might never come across and let you make lifelong memories and even lasting friendships. So why not take a chance, be open minded and hit the road with a soul you never imagined?
How to find strangers to travel with?
There are so many ways to meet new travel buddies. I’ve included a list of resources at the end of this article, such as specific Facebook groups, websites and apps. But sometimes, amazing travel companions can be found when you’re already out there. One of my favourite memories is playing cards with three Dutch girls I met in my hostel in the Chilean desert. We shared a fireside Easter feast of chicken, chips, red wine and chocolate under the starry skies with two adopted puppies – so random, but so much fun!
The pros and cons of travelling with stranger
Travelling with a stranger is always a bit of a gamble. Sometimes you can make lifelong friends, and sometimes they may just get on your nerves. But the beauty of travel lies in the unpredictable, and if your new roommate does your head in, it will at least make for a good story in the long run.
Pros of travelling with a stranger
You meet someone who you would never otherwise meet, and they can introduce you to their culture and travel experiences.
You may change your plans in order to carry on travelling together, and we all know that sometimes the best experiences are the unplanned ones.
You learn from each other and may make a friend for life.
You can still go off and do your own thing when you need some space.
Someone to watch your rucksack when you need to pee – finally!
Cons of travelling with a stranger
They may not be a perfect travel buddy match for you.
You may have different preferences or even body clocks.
This may not work if your budgets are at opposite ends of the scale.
You won’t get quite as much alone time.
So, what about people who have done it before? How did it go?
Some tweaks for travelling with strangers
1.We would strongly advise people to connect with the person you will be travelling with. 2.Make sure your travelling relationship is mutually beneficial. You don’t want someone constantly using your items, relying on your phone for Uber or expecting you to take on most of the work when it comes to tasks.
3.You should both be slightly reliant on yourselves and slightly reliant on each other – both parties have to give equally.
4.Be open to learning from them and prepare to be pushed out of your comfort zone, especially if you’re a solo traveller.
5.Just stay open to meeting new people. Despite none of us having met before it felt like we’d known each other for a lifetime.
Apps and websites to help you travel with stranger
Here are a few great resources to find your new travel buddy.
Travello is a social network for travellers. Share your content and meet a travel pal!
Meetup has groups for just about anything from solo travel to hiking buddies
Tourlina – specifically for solo female travellers. They match you up with someone who shares your travel style.
Travel forums like The Thorn Tree are great for getting really specific information on a destination (and meeting potential travel buds!)
Facebook groups such as Travel Community and Girls LOVE Travel.
Thelma & Louise match up travelling women with similar interests
Hostelworld! Not only can you find the loveliest places to stay, you may even find a roommate who could end up being your travel BFF.