Travelling with others can be tricky, whether it’s with your BFF or your significant other. Choosing a compatible travel companion is an important decision that will either make or break your trip and will directly influence whether your holiday will be looked back on with fondness or with pain.
But have you ever asked yourself if YOU are a good travel companion? Here’s how to tell.
1. You don’t complain about everything
Nobody wants to travel with a constant complainer. Sure, there are legitimate things to complain about, like why Sriracha sauce isn’t available in every restaurant, for example (seriously, WHY?); but things such as travel delays, [insert country] belly and lost luggage are part and parcel of the travel experience. Furthermore, most problems or setbacks that occur while travelling are out of your control, so it pays to have a sunny disposition until your lost luggage has been retrieved from the other side of the world. Remember these words: Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. Which would you prefer?
2. You don’t constantly compare
The more you travel, the more you will inevitably make comparisons between the destinations that you have frequented. But if the only words coming out of your mouth are along the lines of ‘The Hermitage is so much more impressive’ when wandering around the National Gallery in Britain, or ‘Icelandic landscapes are so much more breathtaking’ when taking in the scenery of Norway – and, yes, I am guilty as charged of the latter – then you may be affecting the experiences of your travel companions. Perhaps other locales have been more impressive or more to your taste, but an effort needs to be made to enjoy every destination for what they are, instead of always bringing up a time where it was better elsewhere.
3. You allow others to have their own experience
Following on from the previous point, a good travel companion lets everyone have the travel experience that they want, even if it is different to how you would normally travel. It all comes down to compromise and respect. Judging someone for wanting to see all of the tourism attractions instead of seeking out alternative experiences, or for taking too many photos with their camera, is disrespectful. Everyone travels differently and experiences locations in their own way. If your travel styles are so different, then perhaps it’s better to make your own way.
4. You have an opinion when needed
There is probably nothing more annoying than being met with a ‘I don’t know, whatever you want’ type of response when being asked for an opinion about something. It means that more time is being spent on trying to reach a decision, rather than actually doing something. Even if you genuinely don’t care, it should make it even easier to pick an option. Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum, be careful not to be too rigid and inflexible about your opinions: it’s all a delicate balancing act!
5. You have an area of expertise
You know how everyone has their one area of knowledge that they can contribute to during a pub trivia night? Well, it also pays to have an area of expertise when travelling: whether you’re a logistics legend, a walking entertainment bible or a tech wizard who is awesome at finding free wi-fi. Whatever your schtick is, own it and have that be your contribution to the trip. This especially comes in handy in larger group travel and is a great way to divvy up responsibilities to avoid having anyone feel as if they’re doing all of the hard work.
6. You’re independent
Even though you’re travelling with someone else, this doesn’t mean you need to be permanently attached to the hip of your travel companion. Take some time out for yourself (and, perhaps, for the sanity of the other person) to read a book, or to go for a solo wander or run. Having space is essential when travelling with others, especially if it’s for a longer period of time, and helps reduce the chances of having disagreements on the road.
Do you think you’re a good travel companion? What other traits make a good travel buddy? Leave a comment below!
Note: this post was also published on Elite Daily on 27 July 2016.