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A need to find travel partners?

Posted by somtam2000 on 25/8/2015 at 17:54 admin

I met up with a traveller passing through the other day who was a friend of a friend. While chatting, he mentioned that he had found it very difficult to meet other travellers. At first I didn't understand what he meant -- how could you not meet other travellers? (assuming that was something you wanted to do)

But it turned out what he meant was finding other travellers online -- before he'd left. He'd wanted to meet up with other travellers so he wasn't travelling alone and it seems had invested quite a bit of time in joining various websites and Facebook groups etc trying to find other people to travel with. With no results. When I suggested he just wait till he arrived to meet people he wasn't comfortable with the idea - so as with me he'd been relying on friends to intro him to people...

It would never occur to me to do this. I'd just go wherever and assume I'd meet up with other people who were travelling in my direction or whatever that I could join up with. It left me wondering what people like this did before "social media".

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Posted by antoniamitchell on 26/8/2015 at 07:51

But isn't this essentially what the companions section of TF is for?

Before social media, I suspect it was all friend-of-a-friend introductions, and newspaper personal ads.


I don't personally get it - I'd much rather share a casual meal or an experience with someone I met on the road (and then decide if we got on and wanted to go to the same places), than make arrangements in advance with someone (who might turn out to be a poor match).

I know you can discuss all the relevant things (interests, travel style, etc) before you plan to meet up, but quite frankly, people lie. I'm thinking of one friend in particular who claims she shares my love of art galleries and museums, and yet inevitably starts complaining that she's bored 5 minutes after we arrive at one....

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Posted by somtam2000 on 28/8/2015 at 00:33 admin

Yes that it what it is there for - I just don't get why people would use it!

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Posted by MADMAC on 28/8/2015 at 01:23

I agree with Stuart. I actually don't know why people would want a travelling companion at all, unless it's someone you know well. Someone you met on line? You're bound to have divergent viewpoints and desires. If I were coming over here to travel around, I'd definitely want to lone wolf it. Then I can go where I want, when I want, without consulting anyone else or being concerned about the preferences of anyone else. Now I got a buddy I ride with, but he's easy going and we can break off at any time if one of us would rather head out some other direction - no sweat. And I've known him for 8 years. But someone I just met? Wouldn't work for me. But as I have often said, everyone ain't me.

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Posted by exacto on 28/8/2015 at 08:54

I think I am one of the people who suggested a travel companions feature on Travelfish, both because there seemed to be a need for it and because I'd done that type of thing before.
When I lived in Bangkok in the late 90's, I'd just had a big break up and used a few travel companion websites of the era to arrange travel with people. It wasn't bad, and I definitely got to hang out with a few folks I would not have met otherwise. But over time I found out that travelling by myself was much more fun than I had ever imagined, for many of the reasons mentioned above, and also that I had better luck meeting compatible travel companions on the road than on the web. I don't know exactly why that is, but I think it is part winding up in the same place doing the same thing with people means you have things in common, and part because meeting people in person helps to determine in a big way if you'd like to hang out with them or not.
Usually when I meet people on the road, we wind up hanging out for a day or a meal or an event. But it works well. Also, I think it is fun to arrange meetings with people you've met online. The lunch we had with somtam on Bali was sort of a rushed last-minute thing due to some schedule conflicts, and not what I had imagined at all, but I still had a great time getting together that day and I hope he did too. And while MADMAC makes a great show of not wanting to meet people online to travel, I'll bet he has hosted more people he has met on Travelfish than any of us. Cheers.

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Posted by MADMAC on 29/8/2015 at 02:10

Yeah hosting people is cool. But it's not the same as travelling with them. It's just showing them around town - getting them pointed in the right direction to satisfy whatever their interests are. But doesn't mean I'd want to do my whole vacation with them... Although the guys coming out here have all be pretty cool. Got to admit that.

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Posted by Gogomobile on 30/8/2015 at 21:52

Some people must lack confidence or get lonely. Sitting alone in a restaurant at night can feel a little odd but with street markets and food you can grab and go. Otherwise travelling solo is no big deal.

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Posted by MADMAC on 1/9/2015 at 01:48

And the solution to sitting in a restaurant alone is take a book. I do it often as my wife and I seldom eat together.

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Posted by Nia on 25/9/2015 at 07:44

I agree with the comments that say it’s not necessary to find people to travel with before you go. Just take a deep breath, get on the plane, then start traveling alone – if you want to meet people, you most certainly will. You can meet people in hostels, in popular travellers’ cafes, in bars, on the beach…. the possibilities are endless. All you need is an open, friendly attitude (and be aware of your safety, of course). And the good thing about traveling on your own is that if you want to take time away from everyone you can. You don’t have to worry about anyone else’s plans or work around their habits.

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Posted by daawgon on 26/9/2015 at 12:03

But this is not the 1990's - this is the wired world today, and besides, one size does not fit all. Those of us who have traveled quite a bit in the region would probably not consider going online to meet companions - we've learned from experience that this sort of thing rarely works out. I'm even quite hesitant of traveling with old friends, but the first timers out there are scared of traveling alone in exotic Asia, and probably consider any companion better than going it alone. It's a totally different picture once they have one or more trips under their belts.

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Posted by Tennouji on 26/9/2015 at 20:08

I think the answer is similar to the question you asked about buying guides books versus researching online: those who travelled "before" the Internet know that you will meet some great people along the way, spend a very memorable few days or perhaps just a bus ride or meal. I assume that those who have grown up joining on-line groups and networks for everything think that doing so for travel is the natural way to go about things.

I always groan when I see those threads saying things like, "Woman, 27, arriving in Bangkok on November 6th looking for travel companions". Reminds me of newspaper advertisements from the early 1900's - but those were recruiting for expeditions to Antarctica not one of the most visited countries on Earth!

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