Choosing 5 Star Travel Buddies
Contributed by: @saffron.bloom
Last year I had the pleasure of going on a few trips with various friends and having an absolute blast. There were many moments where we laughed so much that we cried. Solo travel is great but travelling with a friend definitely, has its perks. I haven’t travelled with a group of friends for a while now – I tend to take trips with just one other friend. After having such a good time on the trips I awarded my friends with the ‘Nadsie’s 5 Star Travel Buddy Award’ (hehe) and it got me thinking about what makes a good travel buddy. It started off as a joke but I then proceeded to tell my friends who I hadn’t travelled with whether I thought they were 5 stars or not, probably offending some in the process (sorry!) but I was just trying to be honest.
Best friends don’t always make great travel buddies and I have unfortunately heard of friendships being ruined as a result of a trip. Below are 3 things I would recommend discussing with your potential travel buddy before taking a trip:
1. Do you have a similar travel style?
Having different travel styles can make deciding what to do an incredibly frustrating experience so making time before your trip to talk about how you like to travel can be very useful. You don’t want to get to your destination and then realise you had very different ideas on how you would be spending your time. One person might just want to hit up all the tourist hotspots while the other prefers to travel off the beaten path. Do you just want to sit on the beach all day? Does one person need to plan every second of the day while the other is more laid back? Do you want to switch off completely or is it more of a working holiday? Is one person going to turn up while the other is going for rest and relaxation? Do you enjoy walking to explore and not knowing where you will end up while the other person feels like that is a waste of time? Are you working with similar budgets? It is no fun if one person is going to splash the cash while the other is trying to be cheep and cheerful. It’s not the end of the world if you want to do different things. Compromising is possible and may even be good as it allows you to do things you wouldn't choose to do and might surprisingly enjoy. However, you don’t want to spend the whole trip compromising. You've spent money to enjoy yourself. If your travel styles are different then it’s not the end of the world. Ask the next question.
2. Will you be able to get some alone time?
So your travel styles are different. Are you and your potential buddy happy to do things on your own? I’ve been on trips where my buddy was totally opposed to doing what I wantedto do and vice versa so we just separated for the day and met up again in the evening. Neither of us felt obliged to do something we didn’t want to do so there were no hard feelings. It was nice catching up with each other at the end of the day.
Doing things alone is also great if you need a bit of breathing space. If you're the type of person who needs alone time to regenerate it's helpful if the other person understands that and doesn't take it personally.
3. Are they oozing with good vibes?
The thing I’ve really appreciated about my 5 star travel buddies is their positive mindsets. No matter whether we were soaked from head to toe and freezing or delayed indefinitely, they were still oozing with good vibes. I think travelling with people who can be honest about how they feel; have the self-awareness and the wisdom to know whether an external party or they themselves are the cause of their irritation is so important. It's equally important to exhibit the same qualities yourself. Being honest and self-aware minimises friction and resentment and adds to the overall pleasantness of the trip. It is helpful to discuss how you will deal with any type of conflict prior to the trip. A few months ago, my friend and I made a pact before our trip to tell each other if we were irritated with something the other person had done. Agreeing to do this before taking our trip made it slightly easier to bring up grievances and meant that I didn’t spend time wondering if she was irritated with me or not.
With all that said, the most important thing is to talk openly and honestly before taking a trip in order to manage expectations and avoid bad vibes. The best thing about travelling with buddies is the memories created together. Make sure they are good ones.
So here’s to 5 star travel buddies. May we know them. May we be them.