Friends / Travel / Who are you travelling with?

The five-step guide to finding THE perfect (ish) travel buddy

Travel loves company. Someone with whom to share a glass of wine overlooking the Coliseum or hike the Kilimanjaro. Someone who’ll take your picture on the Cliffs of Moher or watch the sunset over the Eiffel tower with. Someone who’ll wake you up when you’re so jet lag you fall asleep on a bench in Port Authority or who’ll cry with you when you get a little homesick. Whether you start your journey solo and make travel buddies along the way or you plan a backing trip with your best friend, you should always choose wisely who you take on the road with you.  While travel may bring out the best in some people, it can also turn your sweet tempered friend into a neurotic ball of fury. With that in mind, here are the five things to consider before hitting the road together.

1.Jekyll and Hyde

In travel, opposites do not attract. It’s not a problem if you and your companion don’t see eye to eye on everything, as long as you both share similar personalities. If you love waking up with the rising sun, start your carefully planned day early and stick to a schedule, traveling with someone who loves to party all night every night and sleep until noon is not the best idea. If your travel buddy is a go-with-the-flow kind of person, she might enjoy getting lost in the moment and soak up every last detail of a place before moving on, she might not take kindly to your iron-clad itinerary. Differences that make for great friends are magnified on the road and can easily cause tension and ruin the trip.

2.Laughter is the best medicine

Mishaps are the name of the travel game. No matter how well you’ve planned for something, how far in advance you’ve booked your rooms or how well prepared you’ve come, something is bound to happen: a train will be missed, a reservation will get lost, a luggage misplaced…Anything can happen and that’s why travelling with someone who can’t laugh it off or gets upset over the smallest things will make your trip loooong (and not in a good way)! Your travel buddy doesn’t have to be a comedy genius, but a good sense of humour and the ability to shrug off the small stuff are keys to a fun adventure.

3.Show me the money!

Talking about your budget ahead of time is a golden rule of traveling with someone. You might be under the impression you’ll be staying in luxurious resorts, plane hopping your way through the world and eating at four-star restaurants, and your travel buddy will have a hundred dollars to his name and plans on camping on the beach. Sleeping in hostels and sharing a room with strangers is not for everyone so before you buy your plane tickets make sure both of you are on the same page budget-wise. To avoid that awkward money talk when you’re half way around the world, set a budget and be clear about your expectations.

4.Follow the leader

The best way to travel is to live like a native and play like a tourist. It’s great to visit all the places you’ve read about it, but if all you want to see is the Louvre, you might miss out on all the other great things the city has to offer (like night tango by the Seine). When looking for a travel buddy, make a list of some of your must-sees and ask her to do the same. If she’s set on visiting every museum and church in Europe and all you want is to soak up the sun (and wine) in Porto or hike the Andes, then move on to another candidate. On the other hand, if you are both ready to explore all of what a city has to offer and keep an open mind about each other’s interests, traveling with a person who challenges you might make for a great trip.  Which leads to our final step in finding the perfect (ish) travel companion.

Shot of a young couple out hiking

5.Cling together

Even if you manage to find the best travel companion ever, that person is still bound to get on your nerves from time to time (and vice versa). Spending time by yourself is the only way to keep sane. Choosing a travel buddy who can’t ever be left alone is a sure way to ruin your trip.  Even if you share the exact same interests and want to do everything together, spending a little time apart is the answer to any healthy relationship, including the travel kind. Go your separate ways once in a while. That art exhibit you wanted to see but your friend found too boring? Go, see! Making compromises in travel is important, but having that alone time to do whatever you want without being on someone else’s time is precious.

There you have it. A quick five-step guide to finding your perfect(ish) travel buddy. Being on the road gives you the opportunity to meet all kinds of people from all over, so whether you start your journey solo and find your kindred spirit mid-way to Japan travel with a friend from home, you’ll never truly be lonely. Travel with an open mind and you’ll always have fun!