How to Find a Travel Companion – What to Do If You Can’t Find Someone to Travel With

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Finding Yourself a Travel Companion

For some people, traveling alone isn’t something they like the sound of. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find someone to go traveling with, so in cases such as these you need to look at other ways of finding travel companions.

Travel Societies
Joining a traveler’s society is a great way to find a travel companion, as they aim to match you up with people who would be compatible with you. Obvious it’s a bit more of a gamble than if you were to go with a friend whom you already KNEW you liked, so it’s a good idea not to rush into anything and to meet up with any prospective companions at least a few times before taking the plunge.

traveling soloUpon meeting up, it’s a good idea to talk at length about what you want out of traveling, how long you want to go for, where you want to go and how much money you both have to spend.

Here are a couple of the best travel societies that I’ve found so far:

Organized Tours

One option that I recommend for all first-time travelers who are a little apprehensive about traveling solo is to take an organized trip/tour. An example of such an organized tour is ‘Trek America’, where participants can spend over a month traveling round the far corners of North America in a minibus with a group.

tour busObviously the duration of these tours vary greatly – as do the activities you’ll take part in on them. Some will last only a few days, whereas others can last over three months. In addition to this, most tour operators will offer different levels of luxury for their trips. Personally, I recommend steering clear of the high-luxury trips and going for the more basic options. Luxury tours tend to be more removed from the culture and they’re far more generic.

The great thing about organized tours is that you can use them as a starting point for further travel. They’ll give you the confidence of being able to travel, and will give you some great experience of life on the road.

What Kinds of People Go On Organized Tours?
Typically, you’ll find that most people on these kinds of trips are in their twenties or thirties. Some go with their partner or with a friend, whereas around half of the group (on average) will be on their own.

Why Travel With A Tour Group?

Let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of traveling with a tour group:

Pros

Safety
One of the main advantages of it is that it makes traveling through ‘difficult’ countries (such as parts of West Africa) much safer. In addition to this, it’s also a much safer way for single women to travel, as they’ll always be in part of a group.

Your tour leader will know which areas of the country are safe and which aren’t, so they’ll steer you clear of any places you shouldn’t go to.

In addition to this, your tour leader will more than likely have traveled the route you’re on multiple times, so they’ll know all the local tricks and should be able to help stop you from being scammed.

Meeting People
As I’ve mentioned before, the main benefit of going on an organized tour is that you get to travel with other (hopefully) like-minded travelers. This is great if you have no-one to travel with, and is a great way to meet people to share your travel experiences with.

It’s not uncommon to find that you get one really well with a few of the members of the tour group, and you might plan to go off traveling together afterwards (or at a later date), which gives you more options for future travel.

Local Knowledge
Tour guides are expected to have an extensive knowledge of the area they’re traveling in (as they’ll often be asked lots of questions), so they’ll be able to take you to all of the places that you might miss if you were traveling without supervision. They’ll be able to take you to the best restaurants, the best bars and the most scenic locations.

Personalization
Tour guides will often offer multiple variations of the same tour, depending on the clientele. For example, a group of 65 year old women would probably want a different experience than a group of 22 year old girls.

You can tailor parts of your tour specifically to needs when booking it, and more than likely your tour guide will also give you a few different options on what you can do.

Cons

Very Little Flexibility
One of the main disadvantages of traveling on an organized tour is that you’re essentially confined to the restrictions of the tour. The tour will have a predetermined route dictating exactly how many days you will be spending in each place. This might seem fine before you go, but there will more than likely be places where you wish you could spend longer in and places where you can’t wait to leave (but have to wait around because the tour guide says you have another two days there).

Saying that, most tours do offer a fair amount of customization, and not everything is set in stone (especially on the longer tours), but you still don’t get that same level of freedom that you’ll have when traveling the world without restriction.

The Price
The cost of an organized tour (per day) is typically much higher than the cost of traveling independently (especially if you go all inclusive). It’s a good idea to shop around and look at a few different tours, and it’s also worth noting that you may be asked to pay local taxes in addition to your booking fee.

There is a sense that you get what you pay for, however, as tour guides are great to have around when traveling an unknown location. They often know the best (and cheapest) places to go, and will steer you clear of any trouble.

People
The main disadvantage of traveling with people that you don’t know is that you’re essentially gambling a lot of the success of your trip. What will make or break your tour (in many aspects) are not the activities you do or the places you visit, but the people you go with.

To try a make sure that you’re traveling with like-minded people, take a look at the type of clients that the tour companies attract. You can find a lot of this information on their websites (by looking at detailed tour dossier examples that they offer) or by calling them up and asking them.

All Inclusive or Basic?

Most tour companies offer two main pricing schemes: all inclusive and basic. All inclusive trips are where everything is paid (by you) in advance. It’s great because you don’t have to carry a lot of money around with you (the only money you’ll need is for souvenirs and for buying additional food/drinks). It also means that you can join in with all of the activities without wondering whether you can afford them or not.

Another benefit is that with all inclusive tours, everyone on that tour is in the same boat (so to speak), meaning you’ll all join in with all of the activities together, and there’ll be no divisions in the group between those that can afford to do the optional extras and those that can’t, which is great for group bonding.

Basic (also often referred to as ‘basic plus kitty’) is where you only pay for the bare necessities beforehand, and is where you can pick and chose the optional activities that you want to do. The main advantage of this kind of tour is that it’s cheaper than all inclusive.

To Tour or Not To Tour?

Hopefully by now you should have some idea about whether you want to go on an organized tour or not. It’s clear that there are many benefits to them (such as having ‘instant’ travel buddies), but it’s also important to remember that they don’t give you total freedom at a time when you may want to be completely free to explore the world.

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