There are numerous thrills of traveling solo however if you’re lucky enough to find the right companion and experience the joys of traveling as a pair, you will undoubtedly cherish those memories for life. A good travel buddy can turn an average experience into an extraordinary ride by rubbing off their zeal on you. However, a buddy who has a few unbearable idiosyncrasies can turn your experience into hell. Traveling with someone is the fastest and the easiest way of learning about their personality.
Sometimes traveling is the best “relationship test” to check your compatibility with your potential life partner. Just because a person is your close friend, a cousin or a sibling, doesn’t mean he or she will make an excellent travel buddy for your needs. Your potential travel buddy can be anyone – your better half, a friend, or even a stranger that you hit it off with while sharing a taxi. Your travel buddy doesn’t need to be “perfect” but he or she should match your mindset on some basic parameters. Below are those parameters which we recommend you check before considering traveling with anyone:
This is the most obvious and the most important point. Is your potential travel buddy a resort-kinda-person or prefers staying in hostels? It’s important to discuss the budget at the initial discussion stage so that you don’t end up wasting each other’s time. There are some people who avoid talking about money but it’s better to check the expectations at this point in order to prevent an uncomfortable situation at a later stage.
2. Physical Activity Levels
If you enjoy hiking for a few hours to reach that perfect lagoon which you’ve been hearing about and your buddy wants to lounge around on the beach instead, it may not work out very well. Please pick a travel buddy who can match your physical activity levels so that you both don’t end up leaving each other alone on most occasions to do your thing.
If your buddy likes taking things easy and is happy exploring only one attraction a day, however you have an endless list of things which you absolutely don’t want to miss; it may result in a conflict. Your buddy can end up making you feel restless while he or she spends an unusually long time to get ready for that “one attraction for the day” while you wait at the reception and make a mental note to never travel with that person ever again. Not everyone has the same pace, so it’s a good idea to get a sense of your potential travel buddy’s pace before you travel.
Many people, especially close friends make a mistake of assuming the purpose of travel – please don’t! Be very clear about it from the beginning. If your purpose is adventure and your buddy’s purpose is to party, it may just work well together occasionally but not every time. If you’re planning an early morning scuba dive and your buddy wants you to be his or her wingman for a party, it will not end favorably for either one or the both of you.
You will be spending many long hours in each other’s company while you’re waiting for your flights, sitting next to each other in a bus, eating many meals together and standing in long queues, so please do yourself a favor and pick someone that you enjoy talking to. If your buddy and you have never had a decent conversation except for some small talk before the trip, don’t expect things to magically change overnight.
6. Space And Independence
Travel with someone who is independent and who gives you your space. You don’t want a clinger. If you’re flirting with that cutie in a bar that you’ve been eying, but your friend doesn’t let go of your arm, then perhaps you’ve made a wrong choice. Do travel with a friend who doesn’t give you hell for when they have to be alone in certain situations.
If you’re the kind of person that enjoys trying everything – like joining a really wild party with a bunch of backpackers that you just met in your hostel or not thinking twice before indulging in a funny drunken karaoke performance or trying a variety of goodies at Amsterdam’s amazing coffee shops but your friend glares at you with a disapproving look in his or her eyes, you will not have a good time. Do not bring someone who will judge you when you’re being your-wild-vacation-self.
There are some people who inherently have a negative attitude and can suck out joy from EVERYTHING because they end up finding faults with the ferry ride, the beds, the music, the food, the weather, the costs, the people around, etc. A whiner or a cribber WILL spoil your trip, so better pick someone else.
We have listed our “8 point buddy test” for you, however, a little flexibility and compromise helps every situation. Nevertheless, if your potential travel buddy fails on most of the above mentioned 8 points, then it may be a good idea to just go solo.