You know the one. The one who keeps their plans, is there when you need them, and lets you relax when you need it. It may be a friend, partner, spouse, or family member. Whoever they are, they are the ideal travel companion that you can’t globe trot without.
How do you know who’s “the one?”
Everyone has a different idea of the ideal travel partner, but there are some near universal traits that can help you to identify them. They have:
- An intuitive understanding of you
- A sense of adventure
- A sense of safety
- An openness to new ideas
If they understand you, they will know when to help improve your mood and when to let you simply unwind in peace. You’ll likely share the same connection towards them, and this will help to keep you both from getting tired of each during the trip.
A sense of adventure is a must while traveling, but a sense of safety is equally important although often overlooked. If you’re both leaving a nightclub in a foreign city, you want a partner who understands that it’s not wise to stumble down that dark and desolate alley. Take risks and have fun, but your partner should not drag you into unwelcoming situations.
Last, it’s great when your partner is willing to experience exotic foods, excursions, and locations off the beaten path. You want people in your life that are ready to share new experiences with you, and these people can also encourage you to broaden your horizons as well.
Traveling with someone who’s not compatible
I’ve traveled with friends, family, and even strangers I’ve met at hostels who are all great people. While I enjoyed every trip, some of these people were not ideal travel partners. We each had different ideas of what a trip means, and this can cause problems in scheduling, sightseeing, and even something as seemingly simple as eating.
I had traveled with a friend on a caving trip through California, and while we both enjoyed the caves, everything else became a test of endurance. We’d go to bed late, yet he was up with the sun while I just wanted to rest and feel well for the day. This was the first issue.
The next issue was deep: I love food and he loves saving money. In his mind, there’s nothing better than getting a cheap sandwich and then getting on with the day, and I wanted dearly to find interesting meals to savor and remember. It seems small, and it certainly is, but these little differences begin to take a toll after a week together.
By the end of the trip, which wasn’t so sprawling considering we stayed within our own state, we were exhausted with each other. Two years later, when we both were planning separate Europe trips, we had a silent recognition that we should definitely not meet while abroad. We were great friends but would never be great travel partners.
Now, I’m lucky to have a parter with whom I can travel effortlessly with. We enjoy many of the same things, but when she wants to shop and I wish to explore the local cafe scene, we are able to go our separate ways until meeting for cocktails in the evening. We’re not identical, but we’re on the same wavelength.
Finding your travel partner
When looking for your travel companion, don’t only look for someone with externally similar qualities. Of course you should get along with them and share the same values and humor, but often the best companion is the one you wouldn’t expect. You want to know that you can find a solution together, that you can both be honest with one another, and that you both understand that splitting up for an hour to do your own things is perfectly ok. In other words, find someone that you can be yourself with, and if you can do that, you’ll have a travel partner for life!