As with all things, we depend on the help of others while we travel, and it appears in this respect to be more the rule than the exception because when we head out that door we are stepping out of our familiar reality and into the unknown. We don’t know where the fickle road we follow will lead us or what challenges await at our chosen destination. Building up your travel network is, therefore, an essential means to ensure the happy success of any expedition or trip.
But… what do I mean by building up your “travel network”? A travel network is your web of relationships with other fellow travelers, explorers, and itinerants, as well as with the travel community at large. Members of your very own personal travel community can range from the hostel owner you befriended in Thailand to the Russian friend you made while exploring Buenos Aires, and all the way to the crowds of unknown helpful strangers in your Travel Junkies group on Facebook. Throw in a travel writer/blogger or two and you’ll be all geared up for rambling about!
The world is filled to bursting with people who are just as interested (or maybe even more so) in travel as you are. The travel community is made up of plenty of friendly and open-minded individuals who are willing to connect with others. There are plenty of apps (such as Couchsurfing, travelbuddies, backpackr, among many others) to help you start on your way to becoming a more social traveler!
Have you ever met someone who invited you to visit them in their home in a different part of the world? Chances are, it wasn’t just out of courtesy, but out of a deeply felt sentiment of friendship. They might just want to see you again. Why not take them up on their word on your next trip?
Building up your travel network is sure to bring you great benefits. Your travel contacts can very likely help you out with recommendations on where to go and what to see, things to do, situations to avoid, precautions, tips and all sorts of helpful advice, getting hosted for a night or two in an expensive city, helping out with a ride, food or whatever other needs you may have, among many other acts of kindness. A travel network also helps out with long-term travel as it can provide part of the support system you’ll need to guide you, and possibly some interesting opportunities.
Just like any other activity, building deep and meaningful relationships with other like-minded people (or not so like-minded, which makes for interesting conversation) is one of the many joys of traveling. Unless you’re dead set on a vow of silence during your pilgrimage, socializing with others will be an integral part of your trip, especially if you’re traveling solo.
Just remember that networking is a two-way street, and with travel, it’s no different. Be sure to participate in active discussions, requests for advice or help, and share the wonders you’ve stumbled upon. Knowledge is built on the efforts of many and social media now places travel information at your fingertips… you just have to know where to ask.
Take my word for it, and you’ll see that, slowly, bit by bit, your Facebook will fill up with interesting people doing interesting things and going interesting places that might just inspire you to travel more. I met a great portion of the people I message and correspond with every day while traveling.
Hey, if we’re living in the Age of Globalization, we might as well make the best of it, right? Most places are within a day or two of travel, and many of the people you’ll meet are likely to like in cities worth visiting.
In the age of social media, we are all just a click away.
Have you benefited from a travel network? Have any good anecdotes to share? Be sure to post them in the comments section below!