Finding Your Perfect Travel Companion.

Two good travel companions, Meg and Meg, walking the streets of London. March 2006.

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

Traveling with other people isn’t always easy. I have found over the years, that finding a good travel companion is like finding a needle in a haystack. It takes time and patience, along with a positive attitude along the way. We’ve all been there, I’m sure, and just because you’re really close friends does not mean you have a relationship meant for the road. Personalities will clash and in the end friendships may be ruined. Trust me, I speak from personal experience, and I’ve lost a few friends in the process.

So, how does one make sure a friend will be a good travel partner before the big trip? Here are some things to think about before taking the plunge.

Spontaneous or Planner?
Try to travel with someone who has a personality similar to yours. If you’re spontaneous and like to do things on the fly, don’t travel with someone who is an avid planner. That person will have you booked up with activities months before you leave, and is also less likely to abandon that list. There’s sure to be a quarrel over this, which could potentially ruin your travels. The same goes for those avid planners, traveling with someone spontaneous could give you some anxiety, unless you know what you’re getting yourself into.
As someone who is spontaneous and last minute, I like to have freedom in my travels, which is why I like to travel with people who feel the same way. This is also why I have many friends who I would not travel with. It’s not worth risking our friendship, plain and simple.

Party Late or Early to Rise?
Does your future travel partner like to stay out late and party, or rise bright and early with the sun? This is a really important question to ask yourself.If you like to party late and get up on the later side, then try to travel with someone who feels the same way. There is nothing worse than traveling with someone who wants to head to bed at eleven when that’s when you were planning on heading to the bar. It’s also as bad to be on the other end and wake up early only to find that your friend sleeps until two in the afternoon.
Also, if you like to nap during the day, it’s good to travel with other people who feel the same way. Some view naps as a waste of time, while others see it as a chance to boost energy for later. Either way, find someone who works the same way as you when it comes to sleep. Otherwise, as much as you want it to work, it’s not going to.

Single or Attached?
This can be difficult when one friend is single, while the other is attached, although it doesn’t always matter. It does, however, become an issue if your friend is obsessed with his or her partner, if that partner is possessive, or if you, as the friend, don’t get along with his or her partner. Then it can easily mean trouble for the trip because your friend could wind up spending a significant amount of time on the phone, texting, Skyping, or worrying about their significant other. However, this could work, assuming you were also attached and in a similar relationship, but, I can guarantee neither one of you will have a good time, so you may as well stay home and save your money.
Being single, I have traveled with plenty of attached friends, but every situation is different. Try to understand your friend’s relationship as best you can before booking. As long as your friend is independent and confident in his or her relationship, and there are no trust issues, all should be well. If not, find someone else to travel with.

Overall, realize ahead of time that there are some friends you aren’t going to be able to travel with and recognize this before going away with them. It may be awkward having this conversation, but it’s often worth it to save a friendship that may have been destroyed with a trip together.


2 thoughts on “Finding Your Perfect Travel Companion.

  1. Interesting post! Would you add travel skill level to that list? A veteran traveler could get frustrated traveling with a rookie. Or perhaps it would open the old vet’s eyes to new opportunities! Hard to say, I guess.

    I just wrote a post on how to choose the right hiking buddy. I think this decision—whether hiking or traveling or whatever—is often overlooked and can ruin friendships, like you pointed out.

    • There definitely could be some issues with veteran traveler vs rookie, but I feel that it’s all about personality. It could, like you said, open up the vet’s eyes!

      Choosing a good hiking buddy is definitely important. Can’t have someone slowing you down!

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