How to Stay in Touch with Your Travel Pals


Over the years, I’ve made a lot of friends on my travels through hostels and humanitarian projects. The hard part is staying in touch with them after you go your separate ways back home. The bonds you make while traveling are so unique and worth continuing to develop. 

One group of travel friends are self-dubbed the African Peas. We met on a missions trip to South Africa all the way back in 2014. Since then, we have had 5 years of Secret Santa exchanges, 4 years of reunions and 2 weddings. Every time we get together it’s like no time at all has passed. 

My second group of friends is called the Cal Pals. We are a close knit group of three that met during our year of teaching abroad in China. We were each other’s go-to people while we were in China and now we make trips to meet each other whenever we can since all three of us live in California now. These are the ways we’ve made that happen.

4 Ways to Stay in Touch with your Travel Friends

Flatlay image of phone, journal and aloe plant

1. Exchange Phone Numbers and Social Media Links

Seems like a no-brainer but you’ll need these before you can employ any of the other ideas. Make it a point to send each other messages about what goes on in your normal day-to-day life. Remembering birthdays and congratulating big life moments always means a lot too.

2. Create a Secret Santa Gift Exchange

christmas-tree gold ornament

This is one of my favorites for staying in touch with travel friends. The African peas all live in different states, so we use to virtually pick a name out of a hat. You can create your wish lists on the website too so you have some ideas. 

We try to send presents a week before Christmas so that we can open them together via Zoom or another app. 

3. Video Chat

African Peas oovoo chat

It really does make a huge difference in your conversations when you can see each other’s faces. Use whatever apps you have on your phones or use larger platforms like Zoom, Facebook video chat, Skype or Oovoo.

Take turns giving updates on your lives and major events. Even the little things like your new favorite restaurant or you’re learning how to knit! I’ve recently started using the Marco Polo app for quick video chats!

4. Plan a Reunion Trip

Juliette's Wedding in Texas
Hogwarts Express Conductor handshake

For the first few years since 2014, the African Peas would plan a trip to meet in someone’s home state and spend a few days together. Time it during Thanksgiving or Easter when you have some extra time off. 

Or, plan for special occasions like birthdays and weddings. The last 2 years of trips have revolved around two (almost 3) of our weddings. 

I also meet up a few times a year with my two California friends (Cal Pals) from my year teaching abroad in China. We try to meet somewhere in the middle and our shared love of Harry Potter often times makes that middle place Universal Studios Hollywood.

Pinterest Stay in Touch with Travel Pals

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  1. […] In September, I got to spend 2 weeks with my friend Becca (also mentioned as a travel pal here) in St. Augustine, Florida. I fell in LOVE with Florida from there and have been begging my husband […]

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