the importance of Travel Friends


For the longest time after graduating from college, I thought about traveling but I hardly went anywhere. There were the same general excuses: maybe I didn’t have the money saved or the foresight to plan something. I usually had enough vacation time, but I was using it poorly. More often that not, the real reason for not traveling was not having the right people to travel with. Many of my friends were in relationships and I assumed that they would prefer to travel with their significant other…so I never thought to ask them. There were other friends who I knew, but didn’t think I knew well enough to spend time traveling with them. And other friends didn’t have the time or the money to plan some kind of getaway.

But then I left Chicago and moved to New York. And a few things happened.

  • I moved in with a girl who loved to travel. She was the type of person who resolved to visit two new countries every year. She inspired me to travel and explore, and she soon became a favorite travel companion.
  • The proximity to Europe is really such an advantage and I feel that New Yorkers with the means to travel go out of their way to exploit this. I mean, traveling to London can take as long as going to LA? Long weekends in Barcelona or Reykjavik? Sign me up.
  • New Yorkers are always on the move, not just in the city but around the world. It seemed like everyone I was meeting had the itch to travel too and I found myself surrounded by inspiration and future travel friends.

Within six months of living in NY, I had a long weekend planned in Barcelona with two friends (actually I barely knew one of the guys but that all changed after 4 days together in Spain!). And about a month after booking that trip, I was raising my hand to go to Turkey for my roommate’s birthday.

I was hooked on travel. And I had found the companions I had been searching for.

Since those trips, I’ve been lucky to find a solid group of travel friends that I can rely on when I need to plan a getaway, large or small, near or far. {This does not include the amazing friends I have with whom I only occasionally travel since their lifestyle may not offer the flexibility to pickup and go as easily (e.g. no children, no spouse).} Being able to travel with all of these friends has made it so much easier and more exciting to plan travel and consider visiting all manner of new places, both in the U.S. and abroad.

There is something special about a Travel Friend. You must be able to enjoy spending time together – a lot of time together. You will share space, sometimes very small space. You may share a bedroom. Or a bed. You might see each other naked. You will spend very long days together – days in which you do not sleep much or eat much or bathe – and you will probably be cranky. And they will be cranky too. You might miss someone at home. They might miss someone at home. You will have to plan things together and thus, compromise is inevitable. You will share incredible experiences, and you may also share terrifying experiences. There will come a closeness that can only develop from these shared experiences, especially over multiple trips or very long journeys. And when the trip is over, it might be really hard to be away from those Travel Friends for long. So you will likely begin planning for your next trip together as soon as you possibly can.


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