How to find a travel companion before the trip
Many single women and men over 50 have dreams of international traveling, but they do not know how to find a good travel companion. It’s important to think about it ahead and make sure you and your travel partner are well suited to go abroad together.
You can look for your travel buddy among people you know well: your friend, your child or even grandchild, a co-worker, a close neighbor. If you can not find anybody, go to the Internet.
Websites to find the best travel partner:
www.cstn.org – Information about singles group tours with “guaranteed share” rates.There is small life membership fee for joining ($28).
Your Travel Mates – Just enter the age of your potential travel partners and register.
Travel Meetups – Find seniors who love to travel through Travel Companion Meetup groups.
Cruises Meetups near you – Find out what’s happening in Cruises Meetup groups around the world and start meeting up with the ones near you.
Ways to find your travel mate on the trip
Do not be afraid to go anywhere in the world if you were not able to find a travel companion. On my trips, I meet single men and women who are divorced, widowed, or have a spouse who cannot go because of work or health problems.
Some single seniors are afraid to join a tour group in fear that it will consist only of couples. Get rid of this anxiety! In all my travels I never was on a group tour which had only couples.
Typically, a third of the travel group consists of single seniors. These adventurous singles quickly make friends with other members of the group, and they are never lonely during the trip. Someone is always willing to keep them company and even help if it is needed.
During each trip, there are many events and occasions where people have a chance to socialize: welcome dinners, breakfasts, lunches, “regular” dinners, lectures, tours, and also on the bus while traveling from one place to the next.
Even couples do not spend all their time being paired up. They mingle. Everyone is excited about the beginning of the trip; everyone is relaxed, everyone is friendly. Usually, by the middle of the journey, all members of the group know each other’s name.
Personally, I make an effort to memorize all the names by the second day. Other travelers notice it and ask me to remind them this or that name. My advice: as you meet people, write down their names, the city they’re from, and some unique features of the person (long hair, tall, bald, wears glasses, etc.). When you start calling people by their names, it helps to break the ice.
A few stories from my travels
Single career woman
During an organized tour to South Africa, I met a career woman (Natalie) who, she said very proudly, was never married and did not plan to find a husband. She was in her 60-s. She had a great time during that trip and made good friends with a few members of our group.
Natalie was more courageous than the rest of us – she was the only one from the whole group who went on the optional tour to swim with sharks!
A month after that trip, I received an email from Natalie. She and another single woman from our South Africa tour decided to go to India. Natalie asked my advice on the best itinerary in India.
Five women co-workers
Traveling through Italy, I met a group of five women, who went together to some foreign country once a year. They were co-workers. One was married, three divorced, one never married. They told me that sometimes one or two of them can’t join the trip for personal reasons and they invite some other friend or co-worker to join them.
Even if they traveled “together,” they spend a lot of time with other members of our group. Sometimes we shared the table with one or two of these five women. None of them felt that they must eat or walk everywhere in their little group.
One evening, in Venice, my husband and I were returning to our hotel. Not far from the hotel’s entrance, we saw these “fabulous five” having dinner at the table set on the promenade with the view of the lagoon. They invited us to join them.
The women already had some wine; they were laughing and flirting with the male waiters, and they infected us with their excellent mood. It was a warm, windless evening. Boats and gondolas were floating in front of us, passers-by were laughing and singing. All seven of us had a great time.
If you don’t ask you don’t get
Another single woman (Laura) whom I met during my trip to Australia and New Zealand even took advantage of her “singleness.” In Sydney on December 31, she went to the opera at the Opera House (famous building on the waterfront).
Watching the fireworks from the Opera House building after the performance, Laura noticed that there was a New Year’s party held in the theatre lobby. She asked the guard at the door if she could join the party. I guess he liked Laura and let her in. This is a good example of the saying: if you don’t ask you don’t get.
Next morning at breakfast Laura looked tired but happy. She told us how much she enjoyed great company, dancing, food, and drinks. All of us were envious of this brave “party crasher.”
What about grandkids?
If you have a teenage grandchild, he or she can be an excellent travel buddy. In Vietnam, I met a grandmother traveling with her granddaughter. The granddaughter (Abby) was 19-year-old; the grandmother (Sally) was in her late 70-s.
They lived in different cities, and the trip abroad gave them the opportunity to spend time together. Sally was a very experienced traveler. She told me that one year she takes her grandson on the trip, and next year – her granddaughter.
Disorganized single woman
In China, our group included a single woman Melia. She was very absent-minded and disorganized person. She managed to get lost in the small courtyard of the Summer Palace in Beijing. The guide gave us 15 minutes to walk around that courtyard.
At the appointed time the whole group assembled, but Melia was not there. We waited for over an hour, and finally, our guide decided to take us back to the hotel. Melia ended up taking a taxi to the hotel.
One night Melia took a sleeping pill and put earplugs in her ears. In the morning she did not hear wake up call. After breakfast, we loaded the bus and waited for Melia. The tour guide had to go to her room and knock on the door. Melia did not answer. All worried, we had to get the key from the hotel manager and open the door. In the room, we found Melia sound asleep.
After this episode, I decided to “supervise” this woman. She was pleasant, full of interesting stories, so I only benefited from my self-imposed job. I always kept my eye on Melia, and for the rest of the trip, she did not have any “adventures.”
Friendly single men
Most single travelers are women. Usually, they make friends with other travelers much faster than single men. The reasons are obvious. Women are more talkative by nature, they smile more often. It helps to break ice faster.
I saw quite a few men who did not communicate well with other travelers. Sometimes I observed the gloomy, reserved, males who wouldn’t smile at anyone. That’s why they were not able to establish friendly relations with other travelers until the end of the trip.
Perhaps they did not want to be disturbed. Or maybe these men would like to be more friendly but did not know how to do it. I do not think it’s that complicated. Example of proper behavior – Charles.
On our first trip to China, we traveled in a tiny group with just seven people (three couples and ghe elderly man Charles. This man enjoyed the 13 days journey just as much as we did. Charles was friendly, smiled a lot, talked to everyone. He was never ignored by the couples, and everybody loved him.
In Vietnam and Cambodia trip we had three singles: two women from LA, who were co-workers, and a single, divorced man from Texas. Even if all of us (about 25 people) would mix and mingle with each other, this man spent the majority of his time with these two women.
I am not sure if there were romantic feelings between them, but the man enjoyed the female company, and the two women liked to be with him.
Borrowing money – bad idea
There were several single men and women in our Peru group. One of them (Sally) was an older Irish woman who lived in the US for the last 30 years. Everyone liked her until the second half of the trip.
I started hearing rumors that Sally borrowed money from our fellow travelers and did not return it. One day, as we were walking in the center of Lima, Sally came up to me and asked if she could borrow $20 to buy souvenirs. She said that she left her purse on our bus. Sally promised to return the money as soon as we board the bus.
Knowing what other people whispered about Sally, I still gave her money. But as soon as we got on the bus, I “reminded” her very loudly about the $20 I lent her an hour ago. I saw some smiling faces. People were sure that I will never see this money again.
They all were wrong. Being put on the spot, Sally rummaged through her purse and returned $20 bill. She did not look happy at all. Should I mention that Sally avoided me for the rest of Peru trip?
Climbing 444 steps at age 79
During a trip to Ecuador, we had three or four older single people in our group. In Guayaquil, we were given two hours of free time to walk up the staircase to the top of the mountain. Rachel, 79-year old woman from Vermont climbed all 444 steps and arrived on the top only ten minutes later than some younger members of the group.
Several people, younger than Rachel, refused to go up, because, as they said, they had bad knees, problems with back, etc. I suspect that some of them were just lazy to climb. And they lost a lot. Instead of enjoying the astonishing view from the hill, these people had spent all time at the bottom of the staircase shopping at tourists kiosks.
During the hike through the Amazon jungle, Rachel refused to take the easy trail which some of our members chose. She went on the more difficult trail with the rest of us.
Later, we had to return to our hotel by wooden rafts. Like many others, I was worried while sitting in a few inches of water on the wobbly wooden raft which was carried downstream by the fast current. Besides, the guide told us there were piranhas in this river. This information did not scare Rachel at all. She was relaxed and happy.
Indeed, finding travel companions and making friends with other singles during group tours is very easy. In many cases, these trips help to start life-long relationships. Some travelers even find “the love of their life.” More power to them!