Trust me when I say, nothing will fuck up a holiday harder than travelling with the wrong person. I can recount countless horror stories from others where the perfect trip ended up turning into the vacation from hell, all because the dynamics of the travellers were not on par.
So, I thought I would spare you all the star sign stuff compatibility shit I actually wanted to talk about, and get straight into the no fluff checklist you need to evaluate before jetting off with someone new.
Do you both work on the same body clock?
Is one of you an early bird and the other a lounge around till noon kind of hombre? There’s nothing wrong with either, except when the two of you go on vacation together. This one might seem like the most common sense one, but seriously, you do not understand how greatly this will impact your time. If your travel companion wants to wake up at the crack of dawn every morning and you want to sleep so you’re not a grumpy asshole all day, then you might have some problems. I went on holiday with my friend who prior to travelling with, I had warned about my tendencies to sleep in and that’s when she confessed to being a super early bird. We came up with a solution; if she woke up and couldn’t sit around and wait for me all day, she would venture off on her own and I would call her when I woke up. Sometimes, this won’t be the best option, especially in a country that is totally foreign and risky for solo travellers. You need to get this conversation out of the way before you head off. Will you compromise and try to wake up earlier or will you meet in the middle? DO NOT leave this until you’re already on holiday and it’s too late.
Are your taste buds sympatico?
Another one that can be easily overlooked is the simple act of dining. If you’re super picky and they’re not, or if you only enjoy fine dining and they like to eat out of a food truck that someone’s sweaty nonna is running, then you might find yourselves arguing come breakfast/lunch/dinner. If you can’t stand the thought of street food and that gets your friend wet, then tell them from the beginning that you can’t do that every night. Instead, see if they would be happy to research the local cuisine a bit (try http://www.eatyourworld.com) and be open to the option of making a couple restaurant bookings in advance. Another problem might be dissimilar eating habits, like you might need to eat breakfast the minute you wake up and your friend might not be able to stomach anything but black coffee until 2pm. A great way to deal with this is to always have snacks stocked up, just in case.
Can you handle each other at your worst?
Travelling can be stressful, especially if things don’t always go to plan. Whether you’re having a bad bout of travel sickness or you’re on a bad trip from the pills you bought off a random Columbian in a Peruvian nightclub, you need to rely on the fact that your travel companion will stick by you. Even if it means travelling someone who doesn’t mind being your punching bag when you’re PMS-ing, you have scored jack pot. Remember, you are going to be with this person all day, every day. You will wake up to their smiling face and the smell they left in the bathroom every morning and you may potentially cuddle them to sleep every night. Having a good temperament will make a world of difference and it means when the rut passes, you will still be on great terms. On the flip side, travelling with someone who can brighten up your mood is even better! Nobody wants to waste time on a trip with bad tension and energy, so make sure you two are comfortable enough to be able to enjoy the good times and get through the bad.
Do you have similar interests?
This one seems like a no-brainer and yet all around me, people are travelling with individuals who have totally different sets of agendas. Before you leave, sit down and have a little brainstorm of all the things you both want to do. This should be a good indicator of what you’re both hoping to get out of the trip and it also allows you both to compromise. That’s right, the magical word when it comes to travelling… COMPROMISE. Just because your travel companion doesn’t want to visit the art gallery and go walking through flower gardens doesn’t mean they’re not a good travel companion. They’re a good travel buddy if they agree to those things and expect you to do some of the stuff they like as well! That way, you both can get out of your comfort zones and isn’t that what travel is all bout anyway!!
Are you on the same energy levels?
This one is crazy important and highly underrated. It doesn’t matter if takes them three coffees to get up, is your travel buddy the kind of person that can get through the day without complaining about how tired and sleepy they are? You need to gauge this before you leave because it could come as a rude shock when you’re always forced to leave whatever you’re doing because your travel partner wants to go back to the hotel room to have a rest. Maybe come up with a middle ground, where you both agree to have half day naps, or don’t wake up too early if you know it’s going to put a damper on everyone’s energy levels. It’s worth sacrificing the extra hours in the morning if it means you won’t be dead-eyed for the rest of the day.
Finally, just make sure you’re both as excited as each other because there is nothing as awesome as walking through that departures gate knowing you’re getting away from your mundane existence for however many weeks.
Has anyone ever had a really bad travel buddy? Share your story with the class.