New friends often enter our lives through the front door — school, mutual friends, or a workplace environment. Travel friends enter through the windows. They show up when we least expect it, on airplanes and guided tours, and in dive bars and hostels. They might not stay long, but they often leave an impression more indelible and enduring than those we meet in the context of our everyday lives.
“Friend” might sound like a heavy word to apply to someone you know for less than 24 hours, but people we meet while traveling hold a special place in our hearts. Still, promises to stay in touch usually fall through. Drunken vows to visit each other rarely come to fruition. But somehow, those fleeting friends we’ll never see again manage to touch us in profound ways. While the types of “travel friends” are varied and limitless, these are the travel friends you’re most likely to meet on the road.