As more and more people travel together, there is more to think about than just where to go, or what you can do… the people or person you choose to travel with is really important because that can make or break the entire experience. My boyfriend and I were initially very nervous to travel together. Before our first trip to Japan and Korea, he even looked at articles online and videos on YouTube on how to deal with arguments en voyage.
Since then, we’ve made trips to many parts of Canada and I’ve also made it a point to travel with my friends – the chosen ones, of course. The more I do that, the more I know what I look for in a travel partner and here are the Top 10 qualities that I personally look for:
My boyfriend, friends and I have been very flexible when it comes to trips. We take detours and are flexible with one another’s wants. Sometimes one person might want to see a museum more than the other, but we keep that in mind, remain calm and let that person experience what he or she wants to. After all, we paid the flight or bus ticket or gas money and came all this way to see everything we can. And who knows, you may even enjoy the experience that he or she wanted more than he or she does? Keep an open mind (especially about food) and don’t be selfish.
Which brings us to being mindful. Being mindful of not only what to do or the experiences that you’ve all planned, but also of money. No one talks about this but money is crucial, and you have to be honest with one another about money and your budget for the trip so that everyone included can enjoy it and never feel bad (financially) about going. Always check with your travel buddies before you book a flight, hotel, an Airbnb experience or a day trip to wherever. Pay your share on time. Discuss about deals you see online as well.
Apart from money, being mindful about the foreign environment you are in and caring for one another is important as well. Always look out for one another and stay connected. Bring extra band aids, medicine, sun screen (and cash sometimes to get out of sticky situations) to share and discuss about how to be safe. My friends have always looked at crime statistics and at travel recommendations made by the foreign departments of their countries to see if there are any warnings or danger threats. We also sit down and talk about it. Communication is key!
There’s nothing better than travelling with people who are interested. You will never be bored – there is always something on the to-do list! Although my friends are concerned about safety and do research about that, we also delegate tasks to one another. One of us would research about where to eat or what to see, another could research where to camp or hike (that’s usually what my boyfriend and I do) & etc. Travelling with someone who is from that country or can speak the language is even better because they know or can understand insider tips. It is very important to also have an opinion, research what you are best at. Then, talk about the trip together, gather the must-dos and pin it down on a Google Map and see what can be covered and how to get around in the most efficient way, considering time and distance. Again, communication is key and some sort of organisation is important as well.
I’ve mentioned how important communication is and you have no idea how important it is to travel with someone you are completely comfortable being yourself with and someone you can have great conversation with. Compatibility is important. You are going to fart in front of one another, maybe have a few mishaps here or there… travel with someone you trust with all your heart.
Yes, certified. Certified driver, someone who knows the language fluently are all important traits that you don’t necessarily need in a travel partner but would be convenient. My best friend spoke on our behalf whenever we went to a Latin American country because she knows Spanish. My boyfriend drives but I don’t and it would be easier for him if I did so although they are not the most important things to look for, they certainly make the trip easier and less tiring for everyone.
Adventurous and Spontaneous
Despite needing to be cautious and careful, a little bit of adventure and spontaneity is important for any trip. Being adventurous, to me, means not being afraid of misadventure. Sometimes the bunch of you get all caught up in planning and may have keyed in a wrong date for an accommodation but my friends and I don’t make a big deal out of it. You need a good sense of humour to laugh that all off. After all, that’s how memories are made. Organisation is necessary but sometimes nothing goes your way. Sometimes you also need to take risks, hopefully calculated ones, together like the time me and my friend hitch hiked in Myanmar.
When nothing goes your way, it’s also important to problem solve. Sometimes you may not find an ATM for your specific card, or when you’ve made an error on a car rental. Either way, you have to face these problems together head on to ensure that you don’t occur extra fees, make the trip as smooth as possible from then on and remind one another that everything is going to be okay.
Whenever you discuss when to start the day, always be ready to go at the agreed time. Don’t be that person that holds everyone back. Pack things the night before, wake up on time so that you can all seize the day!
NOBODY LIKES A FLAKE. If you have a job, make sure you take the appropriate time off. If someone booked your tickets before you take time off, you risk needing them to cancel your ticket or the trip altogether and that’s not very nice. Stick to your words. I personally hate flakes and I haven’t planned anything with anyone who has flaked on me once. I’ve never looked back. I don’t like holding grudges but when you are the one calling airlines and credit companies to get refunds, it gets annoying, you’ll see.
Voila! Those are the top 10 qualities I look for in a travel partner and I am thankful I have amazing people to travel with no matter where I want to go. Here’s to more adventures, folks!