You had a perfect time on your group tour and bonded with one of the travelers in your group.
You laughed, cried, and shared beautiful moments. At the end of the trip, you vowed to keep in touch and exchanged emails.
When you get home, you can’t find the slip of paper with their email. You cross your fingers and hope your new friend contacts you. Three, four weeks go by, and you don’t hear from them.
It’s possible they lost your email too.
Before you lose hope of talking to your new friend again, here are a few ideas on how to find them.
1. Check with other travelers
Your tour guide or another traveler in the group might write down a list of everyone’s emails during the trip. If so, they’ll send this out to everyone and your friend will probably on that email list.
Ask other travelers from your group you hear from – they may have also exchanged contact info with the friend you’re looking.
2. Ask the tour company
Call or email the tour operator and leave them your contact information, trip details and the name of the traveler you’re trying to connect with.
For privacy reasons, the tour operator probably won’t share the other traveler’s details with you, but they can forward your information and leave it up to the other traveler to contact you.
If the tour operator’s website has a forum, you can post something there. For example, GAP Adventures has an “Alumni” forum, and Imaginative Traveller has a forum as well.
3. Search Online
Although there’s no central directory or “phone book” for the internet, most people have some presence on online.
In the time you spent together, you probably know your friend’s details like full name, the country or city they live in, their profession or employer name, or if they have unique hobbies or certifications. This information will help you search for them online.
Social Network Profiles
Facebook and Twitter are two of the most used social media sites worldwide.
Start with a search on Facebook with their name. If you’re logged in, you can search by name, then refine your search by location, school or workplace. There may be many results if their name is common, but hopefully, they have a recognizable photo with their profile.
Next, search on Twitter with their name, the tour company, your name or the country you visited in case they ‘Tweeted’ about their trip.
For a list of social networking sites that are common in various countries, check this Wikipedia entry.
Search on Google.com
Again, use their information. Try variations with:
- Their name (“first last” or “last, first”)
- The country or city they are from
- Their profession or certifications – many jobs such as engineers, accountants, or designers have a governing body whose website list their members and contact information
- The trip name – in case the person wrote about their travels on their website or blog
You can search via blog aggregators like Google Blog Search or Technorati – with over 100 million blogs in the world it’s possible that your friend updates one.
Guess Their Email
If you remember the domain of their email address, e.g., gmail.com, or hotmail.com, you can try guessing their username using combinations like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo sharing sites
It’s natural for travelers to share their trip photos online. Try searching for the country name, trip name, or tour operator on shared sites like Flickr, and Picasa. Tour operators may also have a ‘group’ or ‘album’ on these locations that aggregate photos from travelers who took their trips, for example, the Gap Adventures group on Flickr.
As you look for your friend, they could be searching for you as well. Make sure you’re easy to find online – if someone searched for you on the sites above, make sure your profile is visible up.