4 Qualities to Look For When Choosing a Travel Buddy

April 6, 2015
vacation
4 Qualities to Look For When Choosing a Travel Buddy

Who you travel with can make or break a trip. Whether it’s a work trip, or a vacation, or even just a trip with a set purpose, like a bachelorette party or a bar mitzvah, consider certain things in your travel buddy.

Traveling for work used to bring the added stress of, “Who am I traveling with this week?” For a past position, this essentially decided whom I was going to spend the next 3-5 days in the hot sun in the middle of Illinois for 12 hours at a time with. It’s easy to get on one another’s nerves in those situations. One spring break I took a trip to the Bahamas with close friends, but there was a mutual respect issue about halfway through the trip that made the last few days stressful, tense and lonely. There have been opposite situations as well. I’ve gone on work trips with a near stranger and come back with a loyal friend.

Thankfully, I’ve learned from my experiences, and can be more prepared when choosing a partner for future trips. Here are some qualities to consider when choosing your next travel buddy:

4 Qualities to Look For When Choosing a Travel Buddy

1. Trip Goals

What do you hope to get out of the trip? When I went to Las Vegas for a bachelorette party, we had eight girls and eight different ideas of how each day should go. Needless to say, some girls had the time of their lives and others left exhausted and with warped feet from heel wear and tear (Wait! Isn’t that how you’re supposed to leave Vegas?). If your buddy would prefer visiting friends and family, or going bar-hopping and you want to get out and see the monuments and landmarks in the area, you will either both end up unhappy with the trip, or you will need to discuss how to work both of these events into the itinerary. Either way, considering trip goals is important when choosing a travel buddy. Ensure that you are being clear with your goals and expectations so that you can make the most out of your travels.

2. Sleeping Arrangements

Bad rest can ruin a trip! So, think about the sleeping arrangements before setting out. When I backpacked Europe, I slept in some odd arrangements, in rooms with twenty travelers, in co-ed rooms, in parks, on benches, etc. Not everyone I could have traveled with would have been able to put up with those sleeping arrangements. Are you comfortable sleeping next to this person if that will be necessary? Do they snore? Also, you may be changing and getting ready with this person. Make sure that that is something you are comfortable with if it will be required for the trip. You should be as comfortable as possible when you travel, and if the accommodations don’t offer luxury bedding, calming music and a bubble bath, at least make sure you’re comfortable with what is offered.

4 Qualities to Look For When Choosing a Travel Buddy

3. Flexibility

This is not flexible. Flexibility is also a quality that both you and your travel buddy should be able to demonstrate. If you get up early, and your travel buddy likes to sleep late, wait for them to get up or let them know if there is something you want to accomplish before their normal waking hours, or let them know that you’ll be doing that activity alone. One of the most flexible people I travel with is my boyfriend (thank goodness!). If we have plans and we miss them, we make other plans or we find something to entertain both of us, even if it’s finding 1UP, the arcade bar in Denver, or sipping samples at the birthplace of Blue Moon. Having flexibility with your schedule and activities is key to having a successful trip.

4 Qualities to Look For When Choosing a Travel Buddy

4 Qualities to Look For When Choosing a Travel Buddy

4. Respect

This isn’t flexible either. Traveling together can be tiring; it can wear on your last nerves; it can also be exhilarating and life changing. In order to work through the trials and savor the good times, you’ve got to have mutual respect with the people you choose to travel with. Respect can help you stop your tongue from saying hurtful things, and can make apologies easier when those things slip out. Traveling with someone that you don’t respect can make you dread getting up in the morning. If you have the choice, make sure you travel with a mutually respectful buddy. If you don’t get to choose who you travel with, be respectful and hope for the same in return.

During one road trip, a dear friend snapped at me after hours stuffed in a car with sunburns and piles of luggage. However, our other friend was able to smooth the situation by offering respect and understanding to both of us. Forgiveness is easy for those you love and respect.

Before going on your next trip, I hope you’ll consider these four qualities when choosing a travel buddy. Take it from someone who has traveled with dozens and dozens of different people, your travel buddy can make it a trip worth remembering–or forgetting!

4 Qualities to Look For When Choosing a Travel Buddy

4 Qualities to Look For When Choosing a Travel Buddy

About Kala Linck

Kala LinckKala is the founder of SWFtraveler.com, a hilarious and helpful guide to traveling the world as a single white female. She's your normal twenty-something, working her way through a career in digital media, while spending all of her vacation days exploring places she's never been before. Kala loves meeting new people, trying new food and sand beneath her feet. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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