For those thinking about taking a trip with their best friend, an acquaintance or even someone you met on one of the many travel buddy finder sites, it’s important not to book hastily. What seems like a potentially fruitful relationship from home could turn into a disaster on the road if you’re not careful. To help ensure things go smoothly for you and your travel companion, read the following tips and ask yourself these important questions.
One of the most important factors to think about when choosing a travel companion is budget. Traveling with someone who wants to spend an entirely different amount of money than you can ruin your entire travel experience. Think about it. Say you’re a budget backpacker who wants to live on $50 a day, while you’re potential travel partner is hoping for a truly indulgent experience that includes 5-star hotels, spa treatments and bottle service. If you end up traveling together either one or both of you will end up disappointed. If you really want to travel with this person, think about visiting the same cities on the same dates, but staying at different accommodations and enjoying certain activities and meals alone.
Traveling with someone with a similar travel style is important. Looking at the example mentioned above, if you’re a budget backpacker who loves meeting locals, having adventures and staying away from tourist areas, you probably won’t mesh well with a luxury traveler who needs to be pampered 24/7. Try to opt for a travel partner who travels in a similar fashion as you do.
While it is possible to travel with someone who doesn’t have a similar daily routine, it makes it much easier if they do. Are they an early riser or night owl? Do they typically take three long meals per day or are they okay with eating on the go? Think about what your perfect day on the road looks like as well as your habits, and talk to your potential travel partner to see if they match up.
Everyone is different when it comes to independence on the road. While some travelers crave alone time and enjoy excursions roaming the streets on their own, others feel lost if they’re not with someone at every moment. Then there are those who fall somewhere in the middle. Have an open discussion and tell your potential partner what you expect in terms of how much time you’ll spend together, and see if they share your desires.
It’s inevitable you’ll run into dilemmas on the road, whether it’s something simple, like mealtime mistakes, or something more dramatic, like a lost passport. How will your potential partner react during these situations? Are they the type of person who can make a joke of an unfortunate situation or does the tiniest bump in the road send them into a tantrum? This is important to know beforehand, as being in a constant battle with the person you’re traveling with is a sure way to ruin your trip.
All trips have goals, even if it’s as simple as de-stressing or going offline. Whether you want to immerse yourself in local culture, explore a destination through the food, learn about the arts scene, get a tan, hike high peaks, party every night, volunteer or something else, you need to make sure you and your potential travel partner are on the same page, or that when traveling together you’ll each be able to fulfill your travel goals. If you have separate goals it may still be possible to travel together if you’re both independent and don’t mind spending some time apart.
There are many different types of travelers; from over planners to people who aren’t even sure what city they want to visit next. It’s easy to tell how much of a planner someone is before you even leave the country by the questions they ask ("Are you free 6 months from now at 3:45pm for a tour of the Louvre?"). See if you can both reach an agreement on how much of the trip you’ll map out in advance.
Have you traveled with a friend before? How did it go?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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