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How to Find Female Travel Companions (for women only)
Finding a travel buddy for those days you don't want to travel solo
NOTE: If you're a guy looking for a female travel partner, thanks for dropping by but YOU'RE IN THE WRONG PLACE. This page is for women travelers who are looking for a female travel buddy.
It happens. You love being on your own but sometimes you get fed up with your company. You don't necessarily want to 'hook up' or travel with a guy.
You just want some girlfriend travel.
You need female travel companions.
Alone is often wonderful - but not all the time
Why would you want to travel with someone else? Maybe...
- it's your first trip and you're just not ready to go it alone yet
- you've been through a crisis and you need a bit of companionship to get your mind off things
- you're worried about dealing with travel loneliness and feel you're too shy to just meet people on the road
- you don't know the language
- you're concerned about attracting unwanted male attention
- right now, you're just not in the mood for solo travel
All very valid.
The advantages of traveling with others
Lets face it - there can be real advantages to traveling with someone else:
- travel can be cheaper when you share
- you'll be better able to deal with loneliness if it hits
- you may feel safer and more secure
- you may simply be the gregarious type who wants someone to talk to
- you may also be more comfortable in societies that frown upon solo travel for women
- you won't have to wave around the dreaded selfie stick - someone can take your picture for you!
Female travel companions can provide friendship along the way. Sometimes you get tired of your own company.
And the disadvantages
There are also some disadvantages to having a travel partner:
- you may not want to go to the same place at the same time
- you may have different travel rhythms or lifestyles (you're an early bird, ready to hop on a bus at 6 a.m., while your travel companion doesn't emerge from deep sleep until lunch)
- you may have different hopes or expectations
- you may have different budgets, outlooks on life, interests... different everything.
- you may be a solo traveler at heart!
Not in the mood to sightsee by yourself? Try some of these cool activities!
Sometimes, things just happen - so let them
I met Tim and Nica in a Harare guest house, where I spent a month and over the weeks, we became great buddies.
As I headed north from Zimbabwe to Blantyre, the capital of Malawi, I heard a weak voice calling my name - Tim was bent over, pale with bilharzia. He would soon fly off to recover in Kenya.
Some months later, in Nairobi, I stayed in a part of town usually off-limits to tourists, especially non-African ones - and who but Tim should come ambling down the hotel hallway. The world was starting to feel like a small place indeed.
More months later in Asmara, Eritrea, I was sipping an espresso at an outdoor café when a group of travelers mentioned having run into a couple called Tim and Nica. I left a note in the Poste Restante (General Post Office - this was pre-cellphone days) and ended up meeting them again later that month.
We became friends, as people do when they keep tripping over one another across a continent. Often we traveled together, usually for a few days. Since then we've met up in Bangkok and Costa Rica. Or was it Stockholm... Each time I saw them, it was a joy. But after a few days, I'd be on my own again, and that was good too.
So you never know what shape your travel companionships will take...
Huge cities, like Tokyo, can be crowded yet lonely; you might feel more inclined to explore if you have a companion along
How to find a female travel companion
What if you've looked at all the obvious potential travel "victims" but no one wants to go with you?
If your friends are too busy, too poor or no one happens to want to visit the Galapagos when you do, don't give up: you can still find a travel partner.
Please NOTE: I haven't tried the services below personally so I can't vouch for them. They look legitimate and I know several by reputation but please do your own research online before joining up!
These resources will help you find a travel partner:
- Some of the best travel forums, such as Boots'nAll or Lonely Planet, have threads dedicated to travel partners. Post a message there!
- TravBuddy also has a large thread dedicated to... travel buddies, of course, as does Travel Buddies.
- Ask on Facebook. Someone you know may be planning to travel too. Just make sure your privacy settings are accurate - set for Friends and Family, for example - so the whole world isn't alerted to your departure.
- Try friendly specialist women's websites like the Thelma and Louise Club or 5W (Women Welcome Women World Wide).
- Or travel matching outfits like Solotraveller.
- Or Travel Chum, Connecting Solo Travel Network or Travel for Solos - some are paying, others are located in Europe or beyond.
- In the UK you could try Companions2Travel, although the board hasn't been too active of late.
- Some travel companies also host travel boards, like Tours4Fun.
- Going on a cruise? CruiseMates has a message board that can help.
- Special interest? Here's a Christian service that matches travelers.
- Just looking to make new friends with whom you can 'do something' and, why not, travel? Try SocialJane.
- If you don't want travel partners but still want information or a local contact at your destination, sign up for the free Her Mail and try your luck there.
- And of course, there's couch surfing and similar services, through which you can meet people anywhere in the world (using common sense and caution, naturally).
- There's an app called Tourlina, which matches travel buddies - more for the younger crowd but looks effective (though I have not tried it). Another app, HerePin, is more about meeting travelers near you and the newest one on the block, Solo Traveller, seems to be setting its sights broadly.
- Finally, there's Good Ol' Google. You can try searching for "travel companions" and see what comes up (some of it questionable!) and if you're up for group travel, even for a short while, then Google "no single supplement" to see what's affordable.
TravBuddy is one of many forums where you can post travel partner requests
Find a travel buddy: a few simple rules
Please be careful. Anyone can post a note on a bulletin board, and you don't know who is lurking behind that note.
So please exercise some caution and common sense.
- Make sure your first meeting is in a well-lit public place and takes place during the day. There's every probability your contact will turn out to be, just like you, someone interested in women traveling together (rather than a criminal or harasser posing as one). But be smart - be careful.
- Take your cellphone to the meeting, and let someone know where you're going. It's probably perfectly safe, but we've all heard enough stories about Internet meetings to at least be cautious. Better yet, take a friend.
- When you're searching online, be cautious with your profile. Fill in enough to show your compatibility and honesty, but not enough to enable anyone to find or identify you.
- Make sure you provide enough details on your proposed trip - when you're going, where, and your style of travel. Otherwise you might end up weeding through hundreds of incompatible proposals!
Make sure you choose a safe place to meet your potential travel partner for the first time - none of this dark, lonely stuff
Is your travel companion compatible?
You've made the decision to seek out a travel partner, you're got a few nibbles and potential partners, but now you have to narrow it down.
How do you decide? How do you take that final step that may bind you to another person for weeks or even months?
Here are some points to consider when making your decision:
- Reasons for travel: is she running away from a bad situation, traveling to find herself, or simply out for fun
- Travel style: whether she's comfortable backpacking or is more of a spa hotel junkie, whether she's shy and retiring or outgoing and wanting to meet local people everywhere
- Personal rhythm: if she's a morning person or a night person, if she needs a siesta every day or won't even stop for meals
- Flexibility: is she easygoing and adventurous, or rigid with color-coded itineraries prepared a week ahead of time
- Budget: how much money does 'not expensive' actually mean?
- Likes and dislike: what she likes to do on the road - shopping versus sightseeing, lounging versus sports
- The 'alone factor': you will each need some spaces, so make sure she's not planning on being joined to you at the hip
How does she mesh with you? What do you have in common? That's the question you have to answer.
And then... you need some ground rules: how to resolve disagreements, how to choose destinations and accommodations, how to... everything. Things will go much more smoothly if you know how to communicate.
Here's what I suggest: do a test drive.
That's right - travel together for a short while, a weekend or a week close to home. Sharing schedules, meals and a room for a few days should give you an inkling of whether this will work longer term.
I love solo travel - no secret there - but I don't always travel on my own and when I travel with someone else - my partner, a friend, a relative - I make sure we iron out any potential areas of friction before we even go anywhere near an airport.
Have you ever traveled with a friend in this way? What were the advantages? Please share below! (Please - no ads and no looking for travel friends - that's what all those links above were about!)
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