Travelling with someone can no doubt be a wonderful experience creating such a bond that will tie you together forever. However, as much as it has the potential to be the most incredible time of your life, sadly there’s an equal possibility of it being devastating and consequently the worst. You know how people always say that you never truly know someone until you live with them? Well, the exact same concept can be applied to the travelling world. If you think you already know your travel partner well, be ready to get to know them extremely well! You will come to know all of your partner flaws and you need to be able to deal with them at your worst.
I travelled for 5 weeks throughout Brazil with a friend from my University course. Yes, we’d been friends for 4 years, spent a few lectures a week together, went out clubbing and enjoyed muffin breaks during our all-nighter library stints but we didn’t have a clue how well we’d suit as travel partners. Not even in the slightest! But truth be told, we were incredibly lucky. Despite being almost complete opposites; her being a ridiculously early bird and me living on a natural alarm clock, her loving physical acitives (ie, climbing mountains) whilst I’d happily get a train to the top (if there was one) – We just worked. It was full of laughs and adventures from the very start and incredible memories were created as a result!
So what made us great travel partners?
1. Not being ‘joined at the hip’ – We were comfortable enough to be independent and had no problem spending a couple of days doing our own thing! At some point of the trip you will want to do different things. Don’t see this as a sign of your incompatibility as travel companions but rather as an opportunity to enjoy some alone time.
2. Flexibility & Spontaneity – Sometimes plans fall apart so better ones can come together. We had a ‘rough guide’ of where we wanted to go but we were both open to changes and spontaneous trips as other travellers began suggesting places we’d never heard of or considered! Be flexible and spontaneous!
3. Shared responsibilities – Whilst one of us was great at map reading, the other could speak some Portuguese, so together (despite still getting lost,) we could get by pretty well. Enjoy making use of each others strengths and work together.
4. Humour – Travelling will not all be smooth sailing – Chances are you’ll lose something, get travel sick or have a disaster like somehow missing your flight and having your phone stole in the same day (guilty), but you have to be able to laugh it off. Time spent dwelling on the past is time wasted – You are on an adventure after all!
5. Patience & Forgiveness – We were patient with each other and didn’t hold on to little things. You will be spending a lot of time together through hunger, emotional turbulence, lack of sleep etc so be patient. This is the time to be your most forgiving self!
6. Compromise – the main factor. Luckily, most of the time we were in sync with what we wanted to do but we compromised when we weren’t. Be prepared to do things you’re not so keen on for the other person and vice versa! Remember that you’re not travelling solo so think about the other person too! It’s this art of compromising that will make your trip one to remember in the best possible way!
There’s a million articles out there that will tell you to Choose Your Travel Partner Wisely – but in reality, you can only do this to an extent. Taking a trip with someone for the first time, whether you think you know them well or not, it’s almost impossible to foresee how it will pan out. On the one hand, someone who was previously a best friend could turn out to be the worst travel partner and result in a broken relationship, whilst someone you didn’t know extremely well before, could actually turn into a life long friend.
Choosing a Great Travel Partner is a Game of Chance and Luck – Welcome to Travellers Roulette!”