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The Instant Friendship Of Other Travelers

by Tony · 8 comments


“You should meet us in Berlin.”

We had hung out a few times in Buenos Aires and had instantly bonded over our passion for business. But were we really going to change our travel plans to meet up with this couple in Berlin a few months later?

Of course we were.

“You’re totally invited to Hawaii whenever.”

File this under things we say to everyone since Meg’s parents moved to Kauai. But the only people who have ever taken us up on the offer was a couple we had never met in person before. After their visit, Meg had a new business, a new business partner, and a friend for life.

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Bottom line: If you want more friends, travel more.

There are many types of travelers.

But in our age group (under 30 – for at least a few more months), the two main types of travelers we meet can either be categorized as “hippie” travelers or “corporate escapee” travelers (like us).

We make the distinction because we have found, with almost a 100% success rate, that when we meet travelers in the second category there is an instant bond.

Travelers who quit their corporate jobs to travel longer term are a self-selecting group.

They share similar perspectives on life, goals, and adventure. The very act of choosing to do something “outside the norm” means they are open to new people and ideas. They are more likely to say yes (never throw out a casual “you should join us” to a traveler unless you really mean it), more likely to try something new, and more likely to be really interested in your own personal story.

I’m not saying that the friends you make traveling are better friends than friends from home. The friends you make before travel can be friends for life as well.

But when you meet people that have traveled long term, the bond is instant. They aren’t better friends, but you become closer, faster.

Your Turn

Have you found some amazing friends through travel? Let’s get a little love going in the comments – If they have a travel blog, link to their blog in the comments or just share their names and where you met!

About Tony
Quit his job to try actually following his dreams for once... and is currently loving it. He is working hard to to make this life-style permanent by writing about his adventures and brainstorming money making opportunities with his partner-in-crime, Meg.

NZ Muse November 22, 2014 at 2:59 am

I think my fave travel buddies were a couple from Vermont. They sent a Couchsurfing request and unfortunately we couldn’t host them on their dates (I REEEALLY wanted to, they seemed cool!) Then I got another message a few weeks later – they were stuck with a crappy van and needed a place to stay asap and could we help out! Again not a great weekend, busy and both of us had plans but I said YES, and we got to chat for a few hours that first evening they stayed. We totally clicked. They gave me a great lead for a story (I worked at a magazine then) – the other Aucklanders who had just hosted them previously.

When we went on our own RTW trip, we wound up going through Vermont anyway so we stopped and stayed with them overnight. They took us out and showed us around. Just awesome.

Still in touch :)

So the circumstances in which we ended up meeting were a bit stressful (for them) but we are all really glad it happened. We adore them.

Tony December 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm

SUCH a perfect travel story about friendship!

The travelers we typically meet are just as open as you all were to each other and it makes fast friendships even easier. It really goes to show that by just saying yes more often, you never know what good might come next :)


Peter Korchnak @ Where Is Your Toothbrush? November 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm

It’s different for different people. Age matters, for example. When I was in my 20’s I was more open to trying to make friends on the road; in my 30’s I know friendship (as I define it) requires investment and work, I’m a lot more careful about doing that. Yes, we met plenty of people and hung out – that’s the nature of travel. But most of those people we’ll never see again. Not to mention, as an introvert I don’t have the need to make those acquaintances in the first place. Having said that, I am very grateful for the friends I/we made traveling.

Tony November 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, Peter!

For me, the very act of traveling longterm is a very self-selecting process. By this, I mean the people I tended to meet on the road immediately had much in common with my perspective on life. This basis for friendship makes friendship happen faster and often occur on a deeper level (at least for me).

I definitely understand the hanging out with people who you will never see again. But I have been equally surprised by the number of people I met on the road who I have met over and over again and still stay in touch with via skype/email.

I’m just about to leave my 20’s behind though… so we’ll see what happens :)

Really appreciate the thoughtful comment!

Jen November 30, 2014 at 7:34 pm

I think it’s great that some people are able to make heaps of friends while they travel. But I’m in the same boat as Peter – my partner and I haven’t really connected to many individuals in our travels. Being older and having different travel priorities from many younger travelers (who we run into more frequently as budget travelers) is certainly a factor. And we’re also introverts.

That said, we have made some truly amazing friends through our volunteer efforts where we spend extended periods of time with like-minded people working toward a common goal.

I definitely agree with your comment that travel friends are friends for life. Our friends back home (who we love and miss) are, for the most part, doing the same thing they were doing when we left, and we have a feeling they won’t relate to us as well when we get back and vice versa. Travel friends get us.

Tony December 4, 2014 at 3:37 pm

“Travel friends get us.”

SO TRUE! Thanks for sharing Jen. We found that by leveraging Twitter, we could find more like-minded travelers before we got to a destination. Social media definitely helped us make and then stay in touch with new friends while on the road.

Trying to relate to travelers with different priorities can be really tough. Especially when your priority is getting 8 hours of sleep and there’s is partying… we’ve been in that scenario before!


One Modern Couple December 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm

We’ve been on the road for 3 months now, met so many people so far that we call friends. Some are the ones escaping the corporate life and some doing something else, most of them being digital nomads.

Emily from http://homebehindtheworldahead.com we met Emily in Beijing on our first day of our adventure. We visited the wall together and hit it off instantly.
We met a great Family of bloggers http://wagonersabroad.com we found them on twitter while we were in Chiang Mai Thailand and the became a part of our travel family right away.

these are only 2 of the amazing people that we met, there are so many more the list will go on and on.

Tony December 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm

We made so many friends on the road through social media! Glad to hear you’ve been able to leverage Twitter. We found it was such a great resource to find similar travelers to our style and then schedule meetups in future destinations.

Thanks for linking to your friends! We love seeing who people meet and how they get along. Travel blogging is a pretty small community so there usually is a good amount of overlap :)

Thanks for chiming in!


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