Solo travel is great but sometimes it is a lot more fun to have a buddy with you. My travel buddies are usually my husband Ron and daughter Andrea however my paranormal travels usually include some of my closest besties.
We didn’t know it when we first met but it turned out that my besties and I are ideal travel partners. Part of that is luck but, in hindsight, there are several reasons we are well matched. If you are looking for a travel partner, there are several things you should keep in mind to have the best travel experience ever.
One of the reasons you have more fun with a travel buddy is sharing of common interests. I mean…..if you don’t like the same things, why bother? My besties and I have an affinity for the paranormal, so we are always on the look out for a cool place to visit.
COMMON TRAVEL GOALS
What if you are looking for a trip that is all about rest and relaxation? Typically I go on a trip to have an adventure, to experience something I can’t do at home, and to learn about a new and exciting culture. A good travel partner will have similar goals as you (at least for that trip anyway).
If you want a travel buddy to split expenses only, then this consideration may not be a big deal to you. You can easily share a hotel room or Airbnb, come and go as you please, and then move on to your next destination without hanging out and participating in activities together.
SIMILAR BUDGET/FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
This one is a seriously important one because money tends to be a touchy subject. I have friends that want to travel but I know they don’t have the financial resources to do it. Does it make them bad people? No, of course not. They just have more important financial obligations at the moment. What it does make them is a bad choice for a travel buddy.
I personally have to plan my trips both timewise and financially. I start planning early so that I can take advantage of great travel deals and so that I can earmark cash for the tours and activities I want. I have a family and I have to continue to provide financial support no matter what I have in the works. It wouldn’t be fair to my husband to put it all on him.
Your ideal travel buddy will have their own finances for the trip figured out as well as a backup plan in case of an emergency. You don’t want to be a personal ATM for someone or have to pay for something in the hopes of getting reimbursed when you get home. Pick your travel buddy wisely!
FLEXIBILITY AND ABILITY TO COMPROMISE
The benefit of solo travel is you can do what you want when you want. If you decide to seek out a travel companion you, as well as they, will need to be flexible and able to compromise.
No one wants to be with someone who wants it their way all the time. Part of the fun in travel is experiencing something new, including the things you hadn’t counted on. Planning is important but you should find someone who can roll with it from time to time. Some of my most memorable travel experiences were unplanned or unexpected events.
SOME LEVEL OF INDEPENDENCE
No matter how much you want a travel buddy, there will be times in which you want to wander and explore on your own. Even I enjoy some solitude on my trips with my tribe of five.
Make sure you select a travel companion that can enjoy time without you so you can do the things you want on your own. Maybe you won’t need some alone time but wouldn’t it be nice to travel with someone who won’t get butthurt if you do?
This seems to be more important than ever. Cultural sensitivity is having awareness, acceptance, and respect for other cultures. It is more than just not saying anything offensive.
Being culturally sensitive is being able to learn about other cultures, and adapting your behaviors to the norms and mores of the local country in which you are visiting. You don’t want to travel with someone who can’t be respectful of others. All that will do is bring negative attention, and maybe even trouble, to you.
RESPONSIBLE AND MATURE
I don’t want you thinking I’m being a stick in the mud with this one BUT you definitely don’t want to travel with a trouble maker. It is one thing to be a prankster and having a good time. It is quite a different thing to be a nuisance and a trouble maker.
MUTUAL VALUES AND MORALS
On a serious note, make sure you are traveling with someone who respects your safety. I have heard horror stories about a group that traveled together and one member brought someone home with them from the bar.
I am not saying you should be judgmental or anything but you need to think about your ongoing safety and the security of your belongings. Some behaviors are risky and could put you in danger. You don’t want to end up on an episode of Locked Up Abroad do you?????
Ok so that was purely for dramatic effect…..
You may be wondering what I mean by this. Have you ever traveled with someone that was seriously high maintenance just to be happy? Someone people need a lot to keep going and sometimes it can get in the way.
Imagine traveling with someone that needs to nap everyday or that requires a special diet that is difficult to accommodate. They may have perfectly good reasons for those types of things but, if you aren’t prepared to deal with it, you can find yourself waiting on them or doing most of your activities alone after all. May as well travel solo and avoid the hassle if you are unable to deal.
PHYSICAL HEALTH AND ABILITIES
This one ties into the last one but takes it a step further. Make sure you select a travel partner that will be able to participate in the activities in which you have interest. That doesn’t mean your travel partner shouldn’t have any challenges. There are plenty of ways to travel with challenges.
As many of you already know, I have a daughter that has multiple disabilities. As a special needs travel advocate, I am well acquainted with strategies to facilitate travel for individuals with disabilities. There is no reason we can’t make international travel for her possible. We just have to plan ahead.
If you have a travel buddy that has challenges, contact a travel agent to help you find the services and equipment necessary to help you both travel better. While there may be a fee incurred for it, you will both be happier during your travel experience.
PLANNING VS SPONTANEOUS
Last but certainly not least is the ability to balance the need to plan with being spontaneous. I tend to be a planner. I’m a parent so sometimes things just have to be planned.
One of the things I have learned over the years though is that sometimes planning is overrated. I have learned to schedule some down time too. Like I mentioned earlier, some of my most memorable travel experiences were those that were not planned at all.
Travel is such a life enrichment activity. It is a luxury. It is a lifestyle. Some people can share it with others, but others prefer to do it solo. If you seek out a travel companion, your travel experience can be enhanced but only if you are smart about it.
Some of the things I mentioned are common sense, no brainer types of things. Others may require a tad bit more thought. No matter how you prefer to travel………..JUST DO IT!