How to Choose The Right Travel Partner
Choosing the right travel partner is an essential part of your trip planning. When you decide to travel solo you are making a very conscious decision about whom you want to be traveling with – yourself. When travelling with others you should be just as conscious with that decision as your travel partner can really add value and magic to your trip (or at times, have the opposite effect).
Choosing the right travel partner depends on a number of factors and each factor is crucial to the decision process. Let’s look at them together and help you choose your travel partner!
Where are you going?
First and foremost, when deciding on your travel partner it is important to look at where you are going. One partner might be the right match for a beach vacation (for example, your laid-back friend) whereas another person might be perfect for a European adventure (your ready-for-anything sibling). Decide on your location (it might be a general location) and see if it is the right fit for both of your personal interests, travel goals, physical capabilities and budgets (see #2 for more on budgets).
What is your budget?
It’s important to be honest and open with your potential travel buddy. Are you overflowing in cash (woohoo!) or are you working with a strict budget? Your budget can influence what types of activities you can partake in, how often you can eat out and/or what cities you may choose to visit. It is important to discuss how you will handle your trip financially. Depending on your relationship, you might have independent budgets. If you are budgeting independently, discuss what you are willing to spend money on versus where you would like to save. Remember that even though you might be traveling together, it is okay to go your separate ways for certain activities or meals (even for certain destinations).
Budgeting doesn’t necessarily mean working with little or no money, it can simply mean respecting your income and utilising it the way you want to. Just remember to be honest and respectful with your travel partner and with yourself.
Do you get along? Do you support one another (but not depend on one another)?
Now we’re getting back to basics – but those basics are so important. When you’re planning a trip and choosing your travel partner, make sure you choose someone you get along with and someone that supports you (but doesn’t depend solely on you). Also, a good travel partner understands you enough to know and respect when you need space to do your own thing (make sure you communicate it).
Travel with someone whose company you truly enjoy and who you get along with: someone who you can cheer up when they’re down and someone who knows what to say when you’re down. But mostly, travel with someone whose attitude matches yours and who keeps you up: mutual support is key.
What are your travel goals? (What is the purpose of your trip?)
It’s important to remember that even if two (or three or more) people are going to the same geographical place, at the same time, together, they may not be traveling for the same purpose or with the same intentions. And that is totally okay.
However, it is key to share your purpose/travel goals with your travel partner. If you are clear on the purpose of your trip and your goals (and those of your travel partner), then you can avoid any unwanted tension, confusion, miscommunication or disappointment during or after the fact. For example, one person may be visiting for a work conference and the other person might be tagging along to take advantage of the sunshine – just make it clear and set boundaries accordingly.
Now, you are both free to do what you came here to do and not experience any uncertainty (or guilt).
Choose your choice
I’m not sure where I first heard or read these three words put together this way but it fits perfectly when discussing travel partners. Once you’ve decided on your travel partner and you’re on your trip choose your choice. If you’re thoroughly enjoying your time with them, celebrate. You chose the right travel partner. If there is conflict, frustration and/or constant miscommunication, celebrate – because you also chose the right travel partner. Through this experience, you are now learning about what you want/don’t want in future travel partners and how to deal with new struggles (and so much more). There is no use in should, would or could. Instead, choose your choice and learn from it.
I want to hear from you!
How do you choose the right travel partner? How have your past travel experiences gone with travel buddies? What have you learned from traveling with your past travel partners?