While travelling solo can feel extremely liberating, there’s nothing quite like having someone to share the experience with. Having a travel buddy means you’ll always have at least one pair of listening ears when you want to reminisce – because, let’s face it, most of your friends will probably just tune out when you start raving about your many ‘you-had-to-be-there’ moments.
Finding the right travel buddy, however, is no simple feat. Travelling is fun, but it can also be stressful, exhausting, and a lot of the time, things will not go to plan. It’s important to find someone who will compliment your travel style, and won’t make you want to push them out of a moving cab on the way to the airport.
Sure, you and your bestie might do everything together, and get along 100% of the time when cushioned by the comforts of home. But, when you’re stuck on a smelly, sweaty overnight bus somewhere in India – are they going to complain the whole time, or would they be able to sit back and take it all as part of the journey?
Pick your travel buddy carefully. You don’t necessarily need someone with the same personality as you, just a similar outlook on life and travel. The best travel partners are those who are open-minded, adaptable when things go awry, and have the ability to see the value in all experiences – good and bad.
TALK IT OUT
Discuss your expectations and plan your itinerary together so you both know what you’re getting into. Always remember, the things you’re comfortable with, could be your travel buddy’s worst nightmare…
The same goes with the level of luxury you’re willing to bear. Are you both happy with hostel bunk beds, or would one of you prefer to splurge on a hotel instead? It’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
Having a similar budget creates a good balance in your relationship with your travel buddy and your expectations of the trip. If you’ve scrimped and saved to be able to have no budget restrictions while travelling, but your friend only has just enough money to afford cup noodles for every meal, then you are going to run into some problems.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR
This one is simple – Don’t be an asshole. Be a good friend. Be considerate and respect each other. You will get tired, you will get grumpy, and you will probably have a stupid argument at some point, but as long as you communicate and try to be as open and honest with each other as you can, all the little annoying things along the way won’t bubble under the surface into one big emotional, volcanic eruption later.
It’s also important to take turns in organising – no one wants to be the ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ of the trip. You should both share equal responsibility and input into how to get from A to B, what to do each day, and solving problems.
LEARN TO LAUGH (AT YOURSELF AND EACH OTHER)
If things go wrong, if you’re stuck in the airport for 8 hours due to a flight delay, if one of you has their wallet stolen, if you get lost – the best travel buddies will be able to say “oh well” and not let it ruin the whole trip.
Being able to laugh and make light during hard times and sticky situations is a great quality in any person, especially a travel partner. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, you’ve been lucky enough to explore an awesome new place. You’ll want to share it with someone who can enjoy each moment of just ‘being’ there.