Finding Senior Travel Companions

A group of seniors kayaking on a river

Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

You're an avid traveler, fascinated by unknown places and new experiences. You know where you'd like to travel and have done some trip planning. There's just one stumbling block: You want to find a travel companion, someone who wishes to see the world and has a travel budget similar to yours.

If you're single and retired, it's not necessarily easy to find others to match your travel pace. Thankfully there are more resources now than ever before to connect adults who want to set off and explore together, whether it be a local day trip or a month-long backpacking experience.

Identify Your Vacation Goals and Travel Style

If you want to travel with at least one other person, you will need to spend some time thinking about your travel goals and travel style. If you don't know how you like to travel, you will not be able to explain your travel expectations to potential travel companions, so consider the many travel options trips include before beginning your search.

  • Hotel rooms: Do you prefer luxury comfort, mid-range hotel accommodations, or bargain hostels?
  • Dining: Do you want to experience Michelin star-level dining, local favorites, chain restaurants, or fast food? Would you prefer to cook your own food in a vacation cottage or efficiency suite?
  • Transportation: Are you comfortable taking public transportation or do you prefer to drive your car or travel by taxicab? Are you willing to walk long distances?
  • Sightseeing: Which travel activities suit you best? Museums, adventure and outdoor travel, historic sights, guided tours, spas, and shopping excursions are just some of the options you should consider.

It's important to know how you like to travel. Going on a trip with another person is an intimate experience, and you'll want to be sure that all travelers have the same expectations before taking off.

Word of Mouth

One of the best ways to find a like-minded travel companion is to tell everyone you know that you want to travel, but need someone to go with you to keep costs down. Ask friends and family to pass along your contact information if they meet someone who wants to travel and is trustworthy.

Senior Centers

Depending on where you live, your local senior center might be just the place to find a travel companion. Many senior centers offer both day trips and weekend adventures, but even if you don't find those destinations interesting, you can meet people who enjoy traveling at one of the center's other programs. Try an exercise class—you'll want to be as fit as possible for your next trip—or a cultural class, such as music appreciation. You might just bump into someone who could be a future travel companion.

Travel Groups

Travel groups come in all varieties. Sometimes these groups are called travel clubs or vacation clubs because they often have some type of membership requirement, which could include membership fees or dues. You may be able to find a travel group through your church, place of employment, public library, or school alumni association. Once you find a congenial group, you can take trips with the travel group or plan an independent trip with travel companions from that group.

If you are looking at travel groups to join, be sure you understand the difference between a travel group that charges a small amount ($5 to $10) per month for dues and a vacation club that requires a membership fee of several thousand dollars. In 2013, the Better Business Bureau's Dallas and North Texas office published an investigation into travel club selling practices, focusing on the vacation club scheme and the high membership fees some vacation clubs charge.

Online Groups & Meetups

Websites and online communities like Meetup.com, for example, allow members to search for, join, and even start groups dedicated to travel, dining, and almost anything else that interests them. For example, a meetup group called "50+ Singles Travel and Social Group" organizes day trips, social events, cruises, tours, and visits to special events in the Baltimore area.

Always exercise caution when revealing personal information to members of an online group. Never agree to meet an online acquaintance in a private place; always meet in public. Use good judgment and trust your instincts when deciding to participate in a group event. Meet a potential travel companion several times before agreeing to book a trip together.

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