There’s absolutely nothing wrong with travelling on your own or with strangers on a tour, but there is something special about planning and enjoying a trip with a companion. Travelling with someone you know can strengthen that relationship and allows for opportunities to reminisce once the trip is over. However, a good travel companion may not be your best friend or a close relative. Many friendships and relationships have been destroyed by a holiday gone wrong – and not because the flight was cancelled or the weather was horrendous, but because of tension between you and your travel buddy. So, here’s what to look for in a travel companion.
1. Similar budgets – Find someone who has the same budget and the same ideas on how to spend within that budget. Arguing over money can ruin a trip.
2. Like-mindedness – Make sure the person is similar in terms of the level of activity they enjoy. There’s no point going away with someone who likes to sleep in and stay out late if you’re an early riser who wants to make the most of every day.
3. Flexibility – You can be like-minded, but there will always be different opinions and tastes. Travelling requires a certain degree of flexibility, so it’s important to find someone who’s not too rigid.
4. Acceptance of each other’s faults – Spending 24 hours a day with anyone can be annoying. It’s better to know that they are messier than you or that they snore or that they take an hour in the bathroom before you go away. And even if you are prepared for certain faults, expect more faults and quickly accept them as they appear.
5. Honesty – It’s essential that you are both honest in the planning stage and during the trip. Finding out down the track that your travel companion was miffed by your behaviour can destroy the memories of a trip. If the person you are considering as a travel companion has difficulty being assertive, they may not be the best person to accompany you.
Obviously you both need to want to visit the same places and have similar tastes in food and activities. You also want to agree on who is taking responsibility for what during the planning stage. Don’t fall into the trap of agreeing to something you don’t want and then resenting your companion down the track. Finally, agree on what to do if one of you can’t go at the last minute or has to leave early. You don’t want to be stuck with any cancellation fees on your own or made to fully pay for part of the trip if your friend has to return home.
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