Upon returning from Melbourne, my friend recounted to me over dinner how the long awaited graduation trip with her good friend turned out to be a letdown because of their extremely different travelling styles.
Such stories of disappointing holiday trips are not uncommon. As we travel more in the company of friends nowadays, many of us have come to the unfortunate realisation that not all good friends make good travel partners. Understanding that different people have different travelling styles and habits goes a long way in helping us to pick the right travel partners and ensuring our trips go as smoothly as possible.
Here are 5 things to note when choosing your travel partner.
#1 THE GET UP AND GO, OR LIE DOWN AND NO
Some of us fall into the latter category of laid-back travellers. When we indulge in a holiday, winding down from our hectic schedule back at home is our top priority. A morning lazing in our lush queen-sized hotel bed? Perfect. Spending our entire afternoon on the beach’s daybed with our favourite read? Now that’s more like our cup of tea.
Travelling with the former group of people may then prove to be problematic. Unlike the laid-back ones, the busy travellers love their itineraries packed full of activities. From trekking in the morning to visiting 5 museums in the afternoon and a night full of shopping, such a travelling style may leave laid-back travellers gasping for air and frustrated.
Whether you are a busy or laid-back traveller, it is best to pick someone who is similar in travelling style.
#2 THE NEAT FREAK, OR THE MESSY MONSTER
When we travel with a partner, we are bound to expose a little more of ourselves (not literally, of course). We all have bathroom habits. Some of us need only 15 minutes to shower, others, an hour.
Does uncapped toothpaste tubes set off alarm bells in the morning? What about the navigating through your travel partner’s field of scattered cosmetics?
If these bathroom pet peeves tie a proverbial knot in your robe strings (or literal), we suggest talking to your travel partner about them prior to the trip. Communicating these expectations in an amicable manner would prevent you from brushing your teeth with that tube of concealer. The key here is to also understand that different people possess different habits. Try not to fret over these personal differences and the trip will be a more enjoyable one for both you and your partner.
#3 THE ADVENTUROUS FOODIE, OR THE SAFE DINER
It cannot be denied that food is the one thing that brings people together and often a huge reason why people travel to a country (think Bangkok and Hong Kong). However, the glorious quest for food is not for everyone – divisions can happen if one traveller is a foodie and the other is not.
We all know that one person who wants to put a live octopus tentacle in his/her mouth and wash it down with a cup of crushed crickets deep fried to perfection just moments before. However, while some of us have the industrious palette of Bear Grylls, it is important to remember that not everyone has the same taste. Some of us are much safer diners – we prefer to stay within our comfort zones and going for familiar food choices.
Remember that not everybody shares the same sense of curiosity in food, and that if you are a foodie who is out to seek out a culinary adventure, it is best to bring along someone who’d appreciate a good food hunt. Finding out and deciding how far one is willing to travel for that sumptuous, glistening bowl of udon is the key in this situation. Nothing spoils a trip more than an unwilling party.
Things other than the cuisine can sour the meal as well. For example, splitting the bill evenly down to the last decimal point may scratch the inner OCD itch in some of us, where others prefer not to deal with the nitty-gritty.
#4 THE ZEN BEN, OR WHINY NELLY
Murphy’s Law states that what may go wrong, will go wrong. Sadly, this particular adage won’t be far from the truth especially in any travelogue. When travelling to a new place for the first time, the possibility of getting lost, boarding the wrong train or missing that ticketed ferry-ride are all very real nightmares.
This is when having a travel partner who possesses a calm and composed character, coupled with the ability to think rationally in unexpected situations, helps. The last thing anyone would want when lost in a foreign land is a travel partner complaining and whining about the whole situation without offering any solutions.
#5 THE WIDE-EYED, OR THE UNIMPRESSED
It is often said that the journey is less important than the destination, and for good reason. Compressing a part of your life into a suitcase and carting it off to a destination unknown is all about taking the paths you would not usually travel.
Travelling with someone who has an inescapable sense of wonderment makes even the most mundane and routine tasks, such as catching the bus to the stop nearest to your hotel, a real joy. Such wide-eyed travellers make for good companions for someone who shares the same enthusiasm for travelling. On the other hand, if your travel partner is one who lacks any sense of intrigue and is blinkered to the joy of discovery, it can be quite a dampener.
Making a careful choice of who to travel with helps to make your much-anticipated holiday more enjoyable. However, as John Steinback aptly puts, “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.’’ It is important to realize that we cannot control everything and things do go wrong when we travel.
In a trip as such, travel partners need to give each other a bit of room for imperfections and flaws, and be a little more accommodating to our travel partner’s idiosyncrasies. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to take things in our stride, and try to make the best out of our holiday vacation.
About the writer:
A person who enjoys what life has to offer, Leanne prefers to count her blessings and endeavours to make the best out of whatever that comes her way. She loves to travel and believes that it is the best way to learn about people and places – and in sharing her experiences, it just makes it all the more meaningful.