Author: Kaya, November 2018
Travelling with someone can be a polarising encounter. On one hand, the right travel buddy can provide an incredibly rewarding experience where you both have amazing fun, heightened emotions and unforgettable events resulting in your best trip ever. On the flip side, being bound to an incompatible person day-in day-out over a few weeks can drive you insane and become a most torturous episode. The following are some tips for finding a travel partner that you won’t want to kill at the end of your trip.
Travel Budget & Style
Choose and agree on the type of travel style and budget you and your buddy would like to experience. If you prefer the 5 star accommodation, fine dining, premium transportation type of travel whilst your minimalist friend’s idea of travel consists of hostels, camping, local buses and street food, then be prepared for a lot of arguing, navigating finances and confrontation. Most of these should really be discussed and expectations set during the trip planning stage. Setting a travel budget together beforehand also helps.
Energy and fitness level
Compatible energy and fitness level of your travel buddy is important, not the age group. I have met people on my travels that were retirees but had a similar travel attitude as mine: to see and experience as much as possible. They had so much stamina and a go-go-go mentality, they were such a pleasure to tag along with. I have also met young twenty-somethings who just wanted to relax by the hotel pool all day or sit at a café and people watch for hours.
Being a fast-paced traveller myself, I find relaxation travellers difficult to understand. Why would you want to fork out so much money and time to travel overseas only to waste away by the pool or in a café, something you can do much cheaper at home? I would want to do, learn, see, take in as much as possible. Just to prove my point, on a recent trip my fit bit showed an average of 32,000 steps each day. My brother, the alien, often questions why I would want to tire myself out so much instead of taking advantage of the time off work to relax and recouperate.
Having shared interests in unquestionably one of the core tenets of choosing a compatible travel partner. Being a huge history buff, I absolutely love meandering through museums and art galleries around the world. My relatives on the other hand love shopping and eating their way across the world. Needless to say, on the rare occasions when I do travel with my relatives we end up going our separate ways and doing our own thing. Discussing with your travel buddy sightseeing goals during the travel planning stage is a must.
Night Owl vs Early Bird
I’ve always been an early bird. Even on weekends my body clock wakes me up in the early hours of the morning. I once travelled to Japan and Korea with a friend who was a night owl. A typical day consisted of me spending my mornings slow browsing through 24/7 kiosks and whatever shops were open at nearby train stations, nibbling through breakfast and then having a second brekkie once my buddy awoke. I quickly became seriously sleep deprived as at the late hours of the night, well past my usual bed time, my night owl friend was dragging me off to night markets, sampling street food and checking out local bars and clubs.
Open-mindness and adaptability
Look for people that are open-minded and adaptable. Things never go directly as planned on holidays. In some third world countries unreliability and unpredictability is the norm. It certainly helps to have a travel friend that is adaptable and won’t throw tantrums when things don’t pan out.
On a recent trip to Estonia with Qatar Airways I had a nightmarish experience. The plane was three and half hours delayed in leaving Melbourne, my TV screen wasn’t working, then part way through the flight we were diverted to Bangkok due to technical issues. After spending another two hours inside the plane, as no one was allowed off at Bangkok, many passengers threw tantrums including the man sitting in front of me who got quite aggressive. When we were finally in the air again the lady next to me fell sick and vomited in her chair. After that was physically cleaned up, although the sour stale scent lingered on, I took some of my neighbour’s rubbish to the galleys and got yelled at by an upset air hostess for taking rubbish there. According to her I should have kept it in my seat until the end of the flight when a stewardess came around for the rubbish collection.
Arriving at our transit stop in Qatar seven hours late, the entire plane’s passengers missed their connecting flights. It took two to three hours of running around the airport before I discovered the airline’s revised plans for getting me to my final destination which consisted of another diverted flight to Copenhagen and then taking another micro mini plane with a handful of passengers after midnight. After finally arriving in Estonia at 1:30 am in the morning, I felt like I was in a scene from a zombie movie. The airport was deserted with an air of eerie silence. Okay, I’m not having a go at Qatar Airways here, just making a point that trips don’t always go as planned.
A Practice Run
Rather than jumping into a month long trip with someone, try having a practice run such as a day trip together or weekend camping trip away. It will give you both an opportunity to test things out and understand not just the other person, but more about yourself also and how you relate to people.