Choosing the right travel companion

Follow the below eight do’s and don’ts to help you find the Minnie to your Mickey.

Choosing the right travel companion

SJ is a regular travel contributor to YourLifeChoices. Her travel low point was buying a Beijing guidebook for her visit to Thailand in 2007. Thankfully her geography has improved since then.

While some of us don't have much choice with whom we travel – other halves, children, all those ball and chains – if you're not holidaying with family, your pick of a travel companion is crucial to the outcome of your trip.

We've all made the wrong choice at some point or another and had to bite our tongue or practise deep breathing to ensure we don't throttle the other person or purposely lose them in a foreign city.

So what should you look for in a travel companion to ensure they make not break your trip? Here are eight do’s and don’ts to help you find the Minnie to your Mickey.


1. Choose someone with whom you get on well
There are two types of friends; those who you can deal with in small doses and those who you could spend most waking hours with. The latter is the category you should consider travelling with and, even then think about at what point you may get on each other’s nerves.

2. Make sure you have similar budgets
Travelling with someone on a completely different budget is a sure-fire way to ruin your trip. Make sure you both know how much the trip will cost and have similar expectations when it comes to eating out and accommodation.

3. Make a plan
As they say failing to plan is planning to fail. Travelling can be tedious enough without having an idea of what you want to do. Make time to research and discuss with your companion beforehand and ensure you don’t leave your accommodation each day until you have a loose plan of how you’ll make the most of the day.

4. Take turns in directing
Ahhh, the age-old argument starter of whose fault it is you’re now lost. Don’t leave the directions to one person, rather take it in turns to find your way around. Not only is it not fair for one person to do all the work but this way you’re likely to be much more patient with each other as you both know it’s not the easiest task in the world to get from A to B without any scenic detours.

couple holding a map and one looking at his watch


1. Pick your polar opposite
Unless you have similar interests you will both end up dragging each other in different directions and resenting time spent on activities you didn’t want to do. Obvious travel involves compromise, but only to an extent.

2. Do all the work
I have some friends who like to make me book all the flights, accommodation and even direct them around as though I am an (unpaid) tourist guide. Unless you like organising everything don’t pick someone who doesn’t want to be involved in the booking or logistics side of things. You’ll only end up feeling like their mother.

3. Live in each other’s pockets
While you don’t necessarily have to schedule time apart make sure you have some quiet, alone time. Consider reading a book or catching up on any things you may need to do in your room. As they say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and there is such thing as companionable silence!

4. Let yourselves get too hungry
‘Hanger’ is a real emotion. Walking works up an appetite while travelling and can leave you feeling mighty peckish. Make sure you discuss when you’re going to eat and flag with each other if you’re getting hungry. Nothing is sure to kick off a fight like hungry and irritable travel companions.

How do you pick who you travel with? Have you had any disasters or major successes? We’d love to hear your advice!



    To make a comment, please register or login
    Barbara Mathieson
    3rd Jun 2017
    Gee, when you're a senior , your availability of travel partners really diminishes. Of your friends, some can't afford to travel, others not well, whilst others have died! So where does that leave you? In the absence of family ( too busy) or no sisters or brothers , in laws etc, it gets even worse! So what to do?! Well... you take ' a punt' , pick a likely ' candidate' from wherever and go for it!!
    That's the best advice I can offer but, now having said that , I have just paid a single supplement for my next short break...
    pedro the swift
    3rd Jun 2017
    Take turns in directing?? I tried that and ended up lost in Hong Kong and years before that lost in Paris. Not for long though, but it was an interesting trip. Iagree with the "get Hungry" comment. My partner gets stroppy when she wants to eat NOW and it can be hard to find a suitable place.
    4th Jun 2017
    Yes, I have the same problem finding suitable travel companions and trying to avoid the dreaded single supplement. Some agencies will pair people up, but that's still a bit of a risk, so I mostly just travel alone, when I can afford it.

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