I learned a few things after my first trip with a friend. When you’re growing up, you had to travel with your family. You didn’t have much of a say about where you were going or who was going. Now that you’re all grown up, you get to choose who you travel with, so be selective about your choice, so your trip is a success.
Find someone who shares your interests
Your travel companion doesn’t need to be your soul mate or enjoy all the same things that you do. But having someone who has many of the same interests as you will make the trip smoother by giving you someone that you enjoy hanging out with – which is the whole point of having a travel buddy.
Have the same traveling budget
If you envision staying in hotels and your travel partner is looking up hostels, you could be in for a rough trip. Make sure that you both have the same budget in mind and the same plans when it comes to accommodation, traveling, eating out, and sightseeing.
For example, I was backpacking around Australia recently and met up with an old friend in Melbourne. After spending a few days exploring the city, we decided to take a side trip to Tasmania. After going to the travel agent and discovering the flight costs were quite high, my friend backed out. She was traveling on a budget and couldn’t afford the unexpected expense. I, on the other hand, was willing to pay the extra cash because it was an experience that I might never have again. Because I didn’t want to take the trip alone I decided to stay in Melbourne with her and missed out on visiting the Apple Isle.
Test your companion
If your fellow traveler is someone that you met on a travel companion site such as Travel With Somebody or TravBuddy, it’s best to take them for a test drive. You don’t want to agree to a 2-month trek through the Himalayas only to find two weeks in that you aren’t compatible. Arrange to meet up for a weekend somewhere, just to get a feeling if you’ll both be able to get along for the longer trips.
Same mindset and routine
I’m a pretty quick get up and go person. Unless I’m going for a fancy dinner, my getting ready routine consists of shower, hair in a ponytail and a quick swipe of mascara. I’ve traveled with some really good friends who put on full makeup and straighten their hair just to go sightseeing. While that may be okay at home, it can quickly tire when it’s cutting into your vacation time. Making sure that your travel mate is the same speed and routine as you will make the trip a lot smoother.
Freedom to speak freely
You don’t want to feel pressured into doing something that you would rather not do because you uneasy or uncomfortable speaking with your travel buddy. Make sure that whoever you go traveling with is easy to talk to and will listen to your reasoning and decisions. It’s your holiday too, and you should get to enjoy the parts you want just like your travel buddy.