Many women travelling on their own are quite happy to be doing it solo. At least most of the time. But many people have a period, especially during long term travel, when they’d like some company. Other women set out on a trip not wanting to do it on their own but being unable to convince a friend to come along for the ride. If this is you, why not take this as an opportunity to make a new friend or two along the way?
Here are our 9 tips for finding another female travel companion who will help you make the most of your trip.
1. Know thyself
Before you even start looking for someone to travel with, take the time to indulge in a period of self-reflection. Have a good old think about who you are and want you want out of life. This sounds a bit self-indulgent but it should help you focus on what you want to get out of your upcoming travelling experience and help you vocalise to potential travelling partners what kind of person you are. It’s time to be honest, remember!
2. Handy hobbies
Your potential travelling companion should be as keen as you to have some time to herself. Spending some of your time apart will prevent things getting too intense and allow you a refreshing break from each other, which can be a good idea even if you get on really well. Keep an eye out for people with particular hobbies or interests that are different to yours. If she wants to go rock climbing in every destination, that will give you the chance to have a quiet few hours with a book or do the things you want to do on your own. And you can of course, join in – it might introduce you to some new experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise considered!
3. Find a financial meeting point
Money is the source of most marital disagreements. Although you may not be committing to a lifelong partnership with your travelling companion, you must be aware that budget could easily be the biggest sticking point in your relationship on the road. Ask what her daily budget is from the start to check that it roughly aligns with yours. A difference in budgets is okay if you’re both aware of it from the start and are happy with the idea that one of you will be spending more than the other. Decide how you’re going to spend money. For example, will you pay restaurant bills separately, split them down the middle, or take it in turns to pay?
4. Create some aims together
Compromises will be inevitable. This will be the case no matter how much you come to adore travelling with your new friend. A clever idea is to draw up a short list at the start of things you’d each like to see, do or achieve during your time away. It might be as simple as participating in an activity, learning a new skill or staying in a particular hotel. Choose some shared activities and some different ones and promise each other at the beginning that you will make them happen.
5. Find some common ground
Like any relationship, you need to have something in common for it to have any chance of working. Think about what you most like about travelling, whether that’s staying in luxury hotels, sampling local cuisine or wandering around back streets, and see how her ideas of the perfect trip match up to yours. You don’t have to have everything in common but a shared approach to how travel should be is a good foundation. Using a service to find a travel companion might be a good start. There are lots out there and depending on the website or travel forum, you will find with a group of people with similar interests, or of similar ages, to yourself.
6. Spot the neurotic
Keep a keen eye out for clues that your potential travelling mate is neurotic about particular things. Ask questions like how long it takes her to pack in the morning, or whether hygiene is a big issue for her. As lovely as she might seem, travelling with someone who’s obsessive about things that you find simple will quickly get on your nerves!
7. Take her for a spin
When you think you’ve found the perfect travel mate, why not suggest going on a weekend break together to prepare for your voyage? This will be a last minute check that you are both going to get on and give you both a better sense of how the other operates on a day to day basis.
8. Size them up
Your travel companion might profess to love trekking and outdoor activities like you, but take an honest look as to whether this is the case. If she’s much older than you, or physically a bit out of shape, is she genuinely going to enjoy the 10 day trek you’ve got planned in South America. Choosing someone with the same energy levels and stamina as you is an important part of the decision making process.
And if you can’t decide…
There’s always the option of joining an organised tour. With many of these, you can choose to share a room or pay a supplement to have your own accommodation. Either way, you’ll be travelling with a bunch of people, so you won’t be on your own. Sure, the group you get landed with will be pot luck, but you’ll only be travelling with them for a fixed period and any conflict should be kept to a minimum as the tour is being organised by somebody else. And on the optimistic side of things, you might find some great friends who you could continue to travel with in future!