This Is What Makes a Great Travel Partner
So you’re dreaming of an epic getaway. We do not blame you! You have the destination picked out (it wasn’t easy!), and you’re confident you can travel like a seasoned jet-set pro. Unless you have a tried-and-true adventure companion, one of the trickiest aspects of travel can be ensuring you and your partner-in-crime are the right fit for one another. From budgeting to selecting activities to meeting strangers while you’re out and about, there’s lots of potential for disagreement. So, before you set off on that epic Eurotrip or Southeast Asian voyage, make sure you at least have some common ground on the following topics.
From the outset, it’s good to have a grasp on whether your potential travel partner-in-crime likes to plan things or not. Some people love the research as much as the adventure and prefer to plan things down to every last minute and meal, while others would rather wing it. Compromise by agreeing to a few days of planned execution and a few of going with the flow.
While planning, be sure to discuss budget restraints and goals. Are your travel and lodging arrangements just about the extent of it, or do you have some more squared away to spend on other adventures or activities? While you’re at it, it should be discussed if you’ll be splitting things on the trip or taking the “I got this one; it’ll even out” approach. It’s best to settle on these things early on, rather than be marred by awkwardness or tension!
What are each of your absolute must-sees—the things you’ll be heartbroken if you miss? Make a list of a few of these things. Before setting off on the trip, it’s smart to discuss expectations. It’s okay if they don’t match your companion’s—but you’ll want to respect the lists as much as possible!
Are you a crack-of-dawn riser while your travel companion prefers to sleep in? What about nighttime preferences? It’s important to consider these things, not only because you may be sharing hotel rooms, but also because it will impact how you spend your time. Similarly, maybe you are not a morning person, or you get “hangry” if you haven’t eaten in a while. This type of mood-based information is critical to share with your potential travel mates.
Some people travel specifically to meet people, while others travel to get away from people. Some of us ascribe to “the more the merrier” while others might prefer to keep it intimate. It’s good to be on the same page when it comes to inviting fellow travelers to join you for drinks or that afternoon hike.
Are you up for changing plans last minute? What about taking a whirlwind day trip to a city not previously on your itinerary with friends you’ve just met? Flexibility is of critical importance when traveling, but if you and your travel companions are mismatched in how spontaneous you’re comfortable being, you may resent one another.
Some people want to be with their travel companions at all times while others need alone time to recharge and reset. If you don’t agree with your travel companion completely, at least make sure that how you feel on the subject is common knowledge. You don’t want any hurt feelings.
Are you into museums and churches? Seeing the big tourist attractions? What about hikes or outdoorsy, thrill-seeking adventures? Do you like to eat long meals, or do you think time should be devoted to other activities? Being on the same page as your travel partners when it comes to what you want to spend your time doing will ensure you get as much out of your time as possible.
What does “roughing it” mean to each of you? Are hostels, motels, and sleeping in a car or airport (if need be) A-okay, or are you a five-star hotel–only kind of person? Hash out what each of you are comfortable with before you depart.
A good traveler is nimble to change. More than that, a great traveler welcomes it as a chance for adventure. Even if your travel companion is not quite there yet, it’s important that they have the ability to pivot plans and expectations if need be.
This one seems obvious—but more than anything, you should truly enjoy the company of those you are planning to travel with! Choose someone who you not only have fun with and whose conversation you enjoy, but also someone whose energy is pleasant to be around.
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