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When Solo Trips Lead To A New Travel Squad

Setting out on their own, these four travelers returned home with new best friends and more vacation plans!

Kat, Kristen, Julita, and Gagan met by chance on a tour in Italy. All four of them were traveling solo in Europe. They formed a fast bond as a group and continued on to Greece together. Ever since, they’ve remained close friends and travel buddies.

The members of this travel squad span the coasts of North America, and call Vancouver, Ottawa, New York City, and Halifax home. Since meeting in Italy, they’ve taken other trips together, visited one another’s homes, and continued to plan new international trips as a group. 

Meeting great people is a rewarding part of travel, and international friendships make the world feel a lot smaller. Here’s a look at why these four tight travel partners work so well as a group and how experiencing different cultures together has shaped their outlook on the world.

What qualities and characteristics help you get along as a group when traveling?

Kat: We’re perfect travel partners because our personalities mesh. We’re all down to try something new, experience cultures, and chat with the locals. There’s also no judging—we’re fine to split ways and meet up later. And with diverse backgrounds, we all bring different perspectives. 

Kristen: That’s right, we mesh and there’s no judgement. Julita wants an hour to do her makeup? We’ll just grab a cocktail in the lobby. Kat wants to try an off-the-beaten path restaurant and the rest of us don’t? We’ll see you after dinner! 

The Amalfi Coast made for great sun-soaked memories.

What was a memorable part of your first trip together in Italy?

Kristen: There were so many small moments of joy—fresh spaghetti in Capri, beach napping with Gagan in the Amalfi sun, listening to Kat sing beautifully in a van full of travelers…

Julita: Exploring Capri and Sorrento. I’d never been and Kristen and I had a beautifully scenic (and affordable) lunch there!

Kat: Julita and I bought local, fresh Amalfi tomatoes, bread, meats, and cheeses for a picnic. It was a delicious, perfect way to chill and re-fuel.

The friends supported each other throughout the trip to the Acropolis.

What was your favorite part of being in Greece together?

Kat: Visiting the Acropolis. We were all marveling at the 5th century BC structures.

Gagan: That was fun, but so was the last night at a club on the rooftop of our hotel!

How has traveling the world changed your perspective on different cultures? 

Gagan: You meet people with different cultural backgrounds and realize there’s more that brings us together than what separates us.

Julita: True. Travel eliminates some unknowns and shows you people are similar, despite being from different environments and cultures.

Kat: Maybe I can’t understand someone’s language, but I understand caring for friends and family, sibling rivalries, or teenage girls chattering and giggling. Life’s stages are no different in New York than they are in India, Paris, Italy, Chile, or Canada.

Why are you drawn to traveling and what types of trips do you seek out?

Julita: I love traveling because I love learning. Even short trips give a snapshot of the sights, sounds, tastes, and people.

Gagan: Same. I’m drawn to historic sites in each destination. But I also love making memories with friends and experiencing new traditions.

If you had to assign “travel personalities” to the others in your group, who would be what?

Julita: Kristen and Kat are the planners, but they always include my interests. All of us are foodies. Gagan is the party starter and I just go with the flow!

Kristen: Well, Gagan is so go-with-the-flow she slept in a bed with ants once! I’d add that Gagan and Julita are the conversation starters.

Gagan: I’d say Kristen is the shutterbug too. And I like food the most.

Kat: I think I’m the Foodie, but Kristen is the wine connoisseur! Julita and I are the biggest history nerds and Julita never forgets anything, which is great for directions! 

Hawaii may be the next stop for these travelers.

What’s your next dream travel destination?

Kat: Machu Picchu in Peru, Yellowstone National Park, an Ontario-Toronto-Montreal trip, or maybe beach bumming in Hawaii

Gagan: Yes, Hawaii! Or even Nova Scotia.

Kristen: I still want to do Napa Valley for a wine country getaway and see San Francisco. Until then, our Friday night zoom dates will keep us going. 

Julita: I really want to see Asia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.