Choosing Your Travel Partner

I love to travel alone. I also love to travel with my family, and I’ve been lucky enough that basically all of my significant others over the years have been very good travelers – perhaps I subconsciously analyze this when meeting someone new! However, I know a lot of people who strongly dislike traveling with their family, or many others, for that matter.

I think the key is knowing yourself, and being very honest with both yourself and others, when choosing your travel companions. What attributes do you require, or strongly hope for, in a travel partner? What are your quirks that someone has to put up with for days or weeks on end if they’re going to travel with you? Here are a few questions that might help you to consider when choosing your travel partners, and especially, your travel roommates.

1. Are you an early riser or a late nighter? No one wants to feel like they’re missing half their vacation waiting for their roommate to wake up. Similarly, no one wants to feel like they can’t enjoy the nightlife becuase they’re travel partner likes to be in bed earlier. This can be one of the trickiest parts of traveling together, and it’s important to know these dynamics up front.

2. What’s your travel style? Do you like to plan things out, go with the flow, or some combination? Planners will go nuts with people who don’t even like to have a place to stay lined up on their trip. Similarly, people who like to go with the flow 100 percent can feel stifled by a planner. Similarly, do you prefer to go nonstop on your trip for the fear of missing something, or take a slower pace and just see what you see?

3. Luxury or low maintenance? Some people consider camping and hostels a fun adventure. Others consider it cruel and unusual punishment and prefer high end hotels.

4. Dining habits. How adventurous are you when it comes to food? Sounds silly, but if you’re looking to try every local street food vendor as you go along and they want three square meals in a nice restaurant, a compromise in one form or another will be necessary.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Probably every trip and every set of travel companions will require looking at different dynamics. Still, you want to have some frame of reference when you begin planning. You most likely won’t see eye to eye on every one of the above. So it’s important to know what’s really important to you, and what you can compromise on. If there’s someone you really want to travel with (i.e. a significant other) but their travel patterns and styles are greatly different than your own, sit down and discuss these and any other concerns you have about traveling with them, and see what agreements you can come to.

Do you have other travel partner “musts” and “no ways”? Would love to hear them!


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