I've had some great travel partner experiences over the years annnd some not so great ones. Haven't we all? Before you pack your bags to your next destination, take a look at these tips to picking a great travel partner, making it easy for both of you to enjoy your trip!
First things first! Which means: safety first! Don't travel with someone you don't know or who could be a psycho. Ok, moving on.
1. Do You Have Similar Trip Goals?
You're looking at me like I'm crazy, but think about it! What do you want to get out of your trip? Are you going to Cabo to relax on the beach but she wants to go hiking and workout multiple times per day? That could be bad news for your tan lines! It's important to talk about what you would want to do on a trip before buying the tickets. On my recent trip to San Francisco with Molly, we both wanted to go go go, see the whole city, and take photos all along the way, so that was definitely a fit. Molly also made me do something I've never done before on a friend trip- PLAN. I'm a planner by nature, but sometimes I just assume that all of the great tourist activities are easy to find and all right next to each other, when in reality, it took a great deal of Tetris-level planning to fit all of our activities, restaurants, and coffee breaks together into an itinerary that made sense! As a blogger, if I know that I'll want to take photos on the trip, it's important for me to make sure I'm traveling with someone who's okay with that. If they're not okay with that in Dallas, they probably won't be okay with it while we're traveling, so that's something I have to keep in mind.
2. Do They Like to Have Fun?
Well, duh! But what does "fun" mean to them? I can sit in one room and throw confetti in the air for a solid hour (take me back to the Color Factory!) and that is time well-spent, my friends! You may disagree, though, and that's ok. This ties in closely with question number one, because you may be able to work together to plan your trip goals, but what about the free time you have on your trip? Do you prefer to go back to the hotel after dinner or go dancing and stay out late? That's definitely something to talk about. In San Francisco, luckily both Molly and I had similar enough goals that we knew it would take all day to accomplish them, so we decided to try to get an early start each morning (as in 6:000am-7:00am!). If I had wanted to stay out late to have "fun" but she wanted to get up early to have "fun" we would have had some serious problems!
3. Are They Budget Conscious?
How do you want to spend your money? Do you value experiences or are you planning to spend you budget shopping? Do you want to save a few bucks by taking public transportation/walking or is your time more valuable, so you'll take an Uber or taxi? Talking about your budget beforehand prevents those awkward "that restaurant is too expensive" conversations that rarely end well when you're "hangry." Luckily, we have Venmo and other money transfer apps now that make splitting bills headache-free and save you the annoyed look from your server at a nice restaurant. ;)
4. Are They Flexible?
All of the above questions are important to ask, but THIS is the big one...are they flexible? Do they throw a fit if they don't get their way? (guilty, who's with me?) A little bit of planning and having similar trip goals goes a long way, but traveling anywhere means that there are risks involved- luggage could get lost, their restaurant choice may be closed on Mondays, all sorts of things can go wrong, but how they react to them is key. Unless I'm hangry and tired (it happens), I usually maintain a pretty positive attitude and can keep my cool if something doesn't go my way. Molly and I had plenty of things go wrong on our San Francisco trip, the big one being that we got stranded on the way to Sausalito after we rode our bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge, trying to get the perfect photo, and called an Uber to come pick us (and our bikes! Hello, UberXL!) up off the side of the road rather than waste an hour back-tracking up a HUGE hill. Neither of us were thrilled with that and it was my poor navigating skills that got us in that mess, but we both stayed flexible and found the best (for us) solution and just kept moving forward. Flexibility and the ability to maintain a positive attitude are so important when looking for a travel buddy, and probably friends in general, too.
Keep these tips in mind for your next vacation and I'm sure it will be great! Don't forget to pack the snacks :)