"Me and my friend have a tradition - every year on Christmas we go to warm countries. But one time she could not arrange a vacation leave for winter holidays, thus I decided to find a fellow traveler in order not to go alone. At first meeting Dasha appeared very nice person, but when we went on vacation she turned out to be a real devil - always angry, unsatisfied and disturbed. After that episode I will never agree to travel with a stranger again," a manager Tamara shares her experience. This is the reality of internet meetings for join vacation. However, not all similar stories have sad endings.

It has become very popular in Ukraine to look for fellow travelers through Internet, especially on summer and New Year holidays. According to ForUm researches, about 30-40 new offers appear on travel-oriented websites every day.

Director of the “Rozrada” international humanitarian centre, Doctor of Psychology Valentyna Bondarovska believes that this trend is caused by the so-called crisis of friendship. "Everyone has heard about the situation when a man traveling in train is especially frank with his companions. Subconsciously, he realizes that he will never meet his fellow travelers again. The same thing happens in case of companions, found via Internet. A person is tired, relations with friends aren’t good. He wants to find someone. This is a normal thing when a person tries to change something in his life," the psychologist says. However, she warns - even if your tour passes successfully, it does not mean that you will be friends forever: "The lack of responsibility for the future is another factor that helps people to relax on vacations".

It is noteworthy that in their ads tourists often indicate several directions, such as Turkey, Egypt, Thailand. That is, they do not have a specific plan yet, only the desire to travel or fly. "Most of these ads come from two types of travelers. The first always travel with strangers. Such people have various reasons: their friends for some reason cannot go along with them (small children, work, no money) or they have no friends at all. The second type is consciously looking for someone who will organize a trip for both of them," experienced tourist and frequent user of sites for travelers Mykhailo says.

Box of surprises

On traveler search websites you can find a lot of negative and angry feedbacks of tourists who could not get on with their traveling companions. Some complain about loose tongue, others - about asociality and secretiveness. One wants nightclubs, alcohol and dances, while another prefers ruins and libraries. The key mistake is different interests. For this, it is recommended to discuss all nuances of the trip before leaving.

"One time all my friends were busy or went to the seaside, while I wanted to go to Ireland. I placed an advertisement on internet and met a doctor Olena, who likes Celtic culture. The trip was a success: we were visiting historical places during the day and discussing the impressions during the evening with a glass of beer in a pub," Anna, 32, wrote her impressions on a website. This is a perfect development of events. However, experienced tourists do not recommend going with a stranger to foreign countries after the first meeting, like Latin America or Siberia. They say it is better to organize a 'test-drive' and to go together to a neighboring city to learn whether you can get along well on a trip.

Apart from common interests, external factors can influence the behavior on a trip as well. Even the nicest person can become irritable and impatient if he does not adapt fast to new circumstances. Sometimes, one innocent comment is enough to bring on a conflict. You will have to calculate every word you say and every action you do. However, going on vacation with a stranger, you should be ready for similar situation.

"If you went on a trip with a person you cannot establish good relations, do not wait for the conflict to explode. Learn to say no, if you do not want to do something. If you see that the join trip is a disaster, go separate ways and continue your trip alone," Valentyna Bondarovska recommends.

Holiday romance

"Looking for a companion for a trip to Egypt on New Year holidays (December 30 - January 7), Alina, Kyiv". I placed this ad on one of the popular websites of free ads. Replies were mostly from men, who were offering a holiday romance. I showed my ad to the experienced traveler Mykhailo to learn my mistakes. "It is obvious that the ad was written by a first-timer without travelling experience. Experienced traveler will never take such person on a trip - too much trouble. That's why you have only "romantic" offers.

Proper ad must contain detailed information about travelling experience, interests and hobbies. You should write what kind of vacation you prefer - active or passive, what you expect from the companion and specify the touristic route. Such ad will 'brush away' unsuitable candidates and will reduce the search terms. Thus, for example, one girl specifies that she does not snore and does not smoke, but have nothing against alcohol. One young man specifies that his companion must have higher education (most probably he likes to talk and intellectual level of his companion is important for him).

Another important detail, which must be discussed before the trip, is probability of romantic relations. This can become a problem not only for girls, but also for young men, Mykhailo says. "Sometimes it happens that a girls pretends that her travelling companion found via Internet has become her admire and expects him to carry her bags and roll over for her. Such behavior can ruin even well-planned trip." In turn, Valentyna Bondarovska warns about risks of holiday romance. You spend good time together, fall in love, but coming back home find out that your companion is married and have kids that that holiday romance was just a one-time affair.

Intuition and common sense

In many Hollywood movies, travelling companions are bad guys. Take "Hostel", for example. It is the travelling companion, who leads tourists to the trap. Thus, the first question to ask is whether it is safe to travel with strangers. Any internet meeting is like Russian roulette - there is always a chance to meet a scammer. For this, always follow simple rules of safety.

Place your ads on specialized websites only. As a rule, people know each other there. When you have chosen a candidate, ask around about him and if feedbacks are positive, invite him for a real-time meeting. Use your intuition to "study" your stranger. Even if you like your future companion, do not reveal too much personal information: don't specify your financial situation and inform that your relatives know where you go. Remember that travelling companion should not be a burden, 'cause only then your joint trip will be a success.

Alina Yeremeyeva


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