You may be dreaming of touring the world with your friends but it’s important to note that not everyone makes a good travel buddy. As amazing as your plans may seem, you don’t want to spoil your stroll on the Great Wall of China by fighting because you’re exhausted. I’ve traveled abroad with friends previously so I am aware of what to look out for when traveling. Here are some reasons why good travel buddies might not be your best friends.
1. Different Goals
What is your goal in traveling? Do you want to lounge on the Hawaiian beaches or see every World War II site you can while in Germany? Being able to talk realistically about your plans for the trip will help you distinguish between good travel buddies and friends who shouldn’t tag along. My friend recently traveled abroad to meet up with her friend in Europe. While my friend wanted to see some local sights, her friend only wanted to tour the local bars. Having conversations about your travel goals in advance can help you determine whether or not you should travel together.
2. Cost Conscious
Another trait you want to look for when traveling with friends is people who are cost conscious. When you travel, it’s going to be coming out of your wallet. My friend and I traveled for one month around Europe this past summer. We had fun because we both knew going into the trip what our budget looked like instead of feeling the need to waste money. You want to be able to have conversations about splitting costs and how you’ll pay ahead of time so that your trip runs smoothly while you're there. Will you evenly split the bill or pay individually?
You’ll be spending the better part of your trip with your travel buddies so it’s important to choose wisely. It may seem like the perfect idea to get your entire family together at the shore and share a condo, but if you’re not too fond of Uncle Jimmy, then the walls will get smaller quickly. Travel with friends who are easy to get along with, reasonable when it comes to disagreements and comfortable with periods of silence. My friend and I had talked ourselves out by the end of the trip but were content to sit in silence, completely enjoying the moment.
Travel buddies should be flexible with changes. I traveled to Europe with 11 girls from my high school. While in his native country Germany, a friend of mine visited us. One of my travel companions didn’t quite like the inconvenience it gave her when we had to take him to the train station to leave at the end of his stay. Flexibility takes into account moments like this where you need to just go with the flow.
5. Not Willing to Relax
Vacations are all about relaxing. If your travel buddy isn’t willing to relax, then you may want to find a new companion. Some relatives of mine traveled abroad for a few weeks. They were constantly on the go leaving them so burned out they didn’t enjoy their trip. Good travel buddies know when to leave the sightseeing to another day and take advantage of the connective moments in your trip. You should come back from your trip feeling refreshed and ready to go.
6. Making Plans
You need to make travel arrangements to go anywhere. From lodgings to transportation to souvenirs, you need to be aware of the logistics. Good travel buddies should be able to help you make those plans. One of my friends wanted to visit NYC from Vermont and couldn’t fathom the work it would take to get there. Though I would have loved to see the city with her, I knew that being unable to make plans together would only be the start of the vacation stressors.
7. It’s Their Trip
You want to be able to have your say when it comes to traveling somewhere. If your friend seems to be running the show, you might want to confront them about coming up with your plans together. If they don’t want to, they are not good traveling buddies because they are only thinking about themselves. It can make traveling awkward and stressful if you feel the need to do everything they want to do without seeing anything you wanted.
Friends are great and you may love them to death, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good travel buddies. Have you ever traveled with a bad companion? How did that affect your trip?