Very few things can ruin that perfect getaway like a terrible travel companion. If you decide to travel with someone else you MUST take the time to vet them. Look at this like an NFL or NBA draft. You’re picking someone to be on your team and you better weigh the pros and cons to drafting them because if you don’t, your season could be lost. Choosing a travel companion isn’t just a matter of ticking things off a box or choosing the person you’ve known longest. I’ve found my best travel companions to be people I just met and knew very little about. BUT they all shared some of the same characteristics.
You and your travel companion have to be somewhat like minded. You don’t have to agree on everything but the same basic views will prevent arguments and conflict. Sometimes different personalities work very well together but travel magnifies all faults.
If your travel companion is a party animal and you aren’t. If they enjoy long winded political debates and you don’t. If they criticize local culture and you don’t. These all can cause massive problems. Do you want to deal with this on your holiday? I didn’t think so.
There is a balance that needs to be had here. You don’t want someone TOO much like yourself. What you should look for is someone that compliments your personality. Someone that won’t put you in awkward situations. Amongst yourselves and other travelers/locals.
Similar Travel Style
Picture this, you’re travel companion insist on staying in 5 star hotels and villas throughout your trip. You can only afford hostels. Not a very pleasant feeling. It can be quite difficult to determine how much money a person has to travel, but that’s not particularly what you need to know. What you need to know is their style of travel and what activities they want to do.
Some activities are a bit pricy for what they are (Angkor Wat comes to mind) and some travelers would rather spend their money elsewhere. Having a travel companion whom you can agree with on what travel style is important. It keeps the relationship from becoming awkward. Set these expectations up front.
This is one place where being blunt can definitely work in your favor. Lay out a cost analysis with your potential travel companion. Be clear about the places you would like to stay, eat, and visit. And be sure to include numbers. The more you have planned up front the easier it will be when traveling.
Similar Relationship Status
Some would say this doesn’t matter but I’ve seen this become an issue several times. One companion is single and the other isn’t. The single companion is “hooking up” and having a great time while the attached travel companion feels lonely and left out. It’s a difficult position to be in. Being in similar relationship statuses doesn’t guarantee cohesion in this sense. One travel companion may just be more romantically aggressive (or capable) than the other. It does help however if both of you are on the same page.
No one needs a “Debby Downer” on the team. A good travel companion knows how to roll with the punches and remain positive. You might miss a train or over sleep. A good travel companion will keep their composure. Some travel companions are rattled at the first sign of trouble and come unglued. You’ll be too busy trying to comfort them to enjoy your holiday. This may sound selfish but remember, IT’S YOUR HOLIDAY. A travel companions purpose is to accent your travels. Not hinder them with negativity.
If your potential travel companion is a constant source of drama and annoyance at home you can be sure they will be traveling. And EVERYTHING is magnified while traveling. The good and the bad. If you find a positive travel companion your travels will be infinitely better.
Reliability has different meanings to different people. Some want a travel companion whose always on time. Some want a travel companion that doesn’t let them go home with some random person after getting drunk. Whatever your description, find that person you can rely on.
We all get a bit wild while traveling. Sometimes plans go wrong. Parties run later than expected. Or we need those extra few minutes of sleep. But it’s always good to know that someone has you covered. That person who will make sure your train tickets don’t get lost or you’ve book a place to sleep for the next stop. A reliable travel companion is valuable.