Picking a good travel partner is one of the most essential aspects of a successful trip. You can plan everything thoroughly and have no hiccups during your vacation, but if you pick the wrong companions to tag along, it can be a dreadful experience. Your company can make or break your time while traveling, so it is important to choose who you travel with very wisely.
On the other hand, it is also important to be mindful of your own actions to be a good partner in return. The best way you can achieve this is to make sure you travel with someone you know very well. If you decide to go on a week-long trip with a stranger, you could end up getting lucky and having a great time. Or, it could be a week full of frustration.
Making sure you know the person well ensures that you know before going into it that you can get along and will mesh well with the person or people. There are a few attributes to look for in the perfect travel partner and to be mindful of to make sure you are a good companion, too.
1. Similar ideas and expectations
This is definitely the most important thing to look for. I can’t think of a worse thing than arriving on a trip only to realize that you want to go out and explore and your partner just wants to sit by the pool at the hotel.
I’ve traveled with people who felt opposite of me like this before. It makes for a difficult time because even if you try to compromise, someone is always being forced to do something that they’d rather not be doing. While there’s nothing wrong with either of these ideas of traveling, you should make sure you’re on the same page before you decide to travel together.
In addition, talk with the people you’re going to travel with and come to a tentative agreement about the things you want to see and do while you’re there, that way no one is surprised when you get there or feels that their interests aren’t important.
2. Have at least one good navigator present
We all know those people who get lost driving in their own home town. Now, imagine three of these people go traveling to a brand new place together. Yikes!
A little self-awareness is key in this tip. If you’re not the best navigator, it’s completely fine! Just make sure someone in your group is, that way you won’t be spending half of your trip getting lost and trying to figure out where you are.
Traveling can be hard, especially when you’re in a new place and the people speak a foreign language. While it’s not impossible to find your way, if you wouldn’t call yourself at least a decent navigator, chances are you won’t magically become one once you touch down in France.
3. Be flexible while still having an opinion
There can be two polar opposites when it comes to traveling. The people who are way too rigid and have to have the final say on everything and the “doesn’t matter to me” kind of people. Both are equally annoying, so don’t be like that!
It’s so important to be able to go with the flow and be spontaneous. Some of the best places I’ve found while traveling were by complete accident. If I was too worried about sticking to the plan, I never would have had those experiences.
However, no one likes the person who never gives an opinion. It can be so frustrating trying to figure out what to do that day with no input whatsoever from your partner. You may think you’re being easy going, but you’re really just making the situation worse. Be aware of both of these terrible travel personalities!
4. Willingness to try new things
We all know those people who are really picky eaters and won’t try any new foods. Don’t be them or travel with them! It’s so important to allow yourself to try new things and have new experiences. If you’re the only one in your group willing to do this, it can be a drag.
Part of traveling is having little to no expectations, because typically you’ve never been to this place before. Don’t come in with ideas of what it should be and let it be what it is.
In order to fully experience what that place has to offer, you must be willing to try new foods, activities and cultures. You’d be doing yourself and everyone around you a disservice if you aren’t.
5. Have similar budgets
This one is pretty self explanatory. You don’t want to travel with someone who wants to spend much more or much less than you. Aside from just your flight and hotel, make sure you have similar figures in mind for meals and activities you’d spend on.
Some people (me) like to travel as cheaply as possible. If you’re one of these people, check out my post about money saving travel tips. If you’re the traveler who wants to stay in fancy hotels and eat at expensive restaurants, you’ll have to be sure your partner also wants those things- and can afford it.
Talking about this beforehand can save some awkward conversations later on when you should just be enjoying yourself.
6. Have a good planner
While it’s definitely a good thing to be spontaneous, you don’t want to arrive somewhere and have nothing in mind that you want to do or realize you needed to make reservations long ago to do something. It’s a good idea to make sure at least one person is a good planner and will look into these things before you go.
That person should also be sure to check with everyone before making any solid plans and decisions. Someone who is organized and considerate would be perfect for this role. Better yet, if everyone likes to plan, then it can be done together to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.
7. Be low-maintenance
This one can depend on how all parties feel but I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t want to travel with someone who takes two hours to get ready every day and worries too much about their clothes, shoes or whatever else. On top of that, we all know those people who have to pack everything they own for a trip, then make everyone wait for their luggage at the airport and take up all the room in the hotel with their stuff.
If you’re an overpacker and need some help, you might want to read my top beauty essentials for travel post.
Be mindful of everyone you’re with and remember to be realistic about why you’re going on the trip. If your goal is to look like you’re walking down the red carpet every moment, you’re probably not going to be an easy person to travel with.
8. Make sure you can spend lots of time with them
Last, but certainly not least. We all have varying degrees to our friendships. There are some that we can spend days with and still enjoy their company and there are some we can only handle in small doses. There are also some that we don’t quite know because we’ve never tested out how long we can be with them.
Play it safe and go with someone you have tested and you know you can be around them for long periods of time. Sure, you can go off on your own a bit during the trip, but you’ll still be spending the majority of your time with them. Make sure you feel comfortable doing so. The last thing you need is drama and arguing when you’re trying to have a good time.