While traveling (for leisure) on my own is on my to-do list for one day, I’ve had the pleasure of finding my perfect travel buddy. I’ve also had the misfortune of traveling with people that were not my favorite. But like with most unpleasant things in life, there’s always a lesson and an opportunity to learn from these experiences. I am blessed to be married to my favorite travel buddy, Paul. It was not always so great, in the beginning, while I thought I was perfect (duh), he told me I over-planned the trips making it somewhat stressful. On the one hand, he doesn’t plan at all, still doesn’t (love you anyway). As time progressed, mostly due to the fact that I’m downright burned out 90% of the time, I’ve eased up on the over-planning, but still definitely plan. If you don’t have a plan, then your plan is to fail, right? Ha. I know the one time I didn’t plan anything, my husband felt like he was in an alternate universe and had no clue what was wrong with me. Despite this, the trip still turned out okay. It was a beach trip, those are probably the trips that you don’t have to plan a lot for. For the single and mingling people, if you’re wanting to get a better idea of the essence of the person you’re dating, take a trip with him/her, it will give you a great insight on if this is who you can deal with long-term. There’s always mishaps on trips, whether it’s lost luggage or a canceled/delayed flight, and you can learn how he/she handles pressure and measure the person’s resilience. You can gauge interest by how much attention you get...is she on her phone? Is he looking in your eyes during conversations? This undivided attention or unplugging, should allow you to dive deeper into getting to know him/her. Most importantly, it will tell you how well you compliment each other. I think life is often about trying to find balance. The balance between everything else and personal stuff.
Let’s get to the essence of what makes someone a great travel companion. Of course this is based on my opinion, and I got a little help from my fam-bam. I would love to hear your thoughts too ( comment below). It doesn’t always have to be your spouse or significant other. I also love traveling with my big sister, Liz, and even my son Ethan. He has such a fun imagination and sense of wonder and amazement at everything. It makes my heart smile.
The ability to be flexible - Whether you are driving by car, plane or train, things are always at risk of not going as planned. There may be heavy traffic or flight delays/cancellations, train delays, etc. You have to able to adjust, adapt, and get a new plan. It’s understandable to be frustrated, but frustration will only get you so far. Things can also change at any moment on the trip. I am a big planner and if anything I have learned from planning, it’s that plans often times do not work. Back-up plans and new plans are your BFF, esp when it comes to traveling.
Being in sync (or it’s Bye Bye Bye…get it? Okay lame, I know) - It is important to be on the same page or at least on the same chapter, that’s a good place to start. Are you both going to check bags? I am not a fan of checking bags. When I travel with the kiddos, there is no escaping that, but when it’s just me or me and the hubs, we squeeze as much as we can on our carry-ons. Do you both want to spend most of the time relaxing or do you want to squeeze every ounce of adventure you possible can out of the trip? (Take a guess which option I want.) Who wants the window seat or the aisle seat? It’s a good idea to discuss this prior, or for some people they just flow together naturally.
Be positive - We get enough negativity in our day to day lives, no one wants that on their hard earned, much needed trip. Let’s try to limit the amount of complaints to 5 (per week…too hard? too bad!).
There must be mutual respect - This is probably a no brainer but you would be surprised. Some people tend to be more selfish, especially when the trip is for them (more on this for 6). A great travel companion relationship consists of people who are considerate of each other bearing in mind allergies, finances, and even pet peeves. No one is perfect, so someone’s toes are bound to get stepped on, but the intent if for this to not done intentionally (I hope).
Help must be reciprocated - Work together on the trip to make it as easy as possible for each other. Be it just saving a seat, or helping each other with bags, or looking for nearby food places, don’t let it all fall on one person.
Understand the purpose of the trip - Be mindful of why you are taking the trip. Is it solely for vacation or are you going to celebrate a birthday or bachelor/ette party? If you’re going to celebrate someone else, it’s okay to take part in the festivities planned. This goes in hand with mutual respect, if you are being asked to do something you are not comfortable with, it’s okay to say no. However, it is also okay to do something you would not normally do (within reason) for the sake of celebrating someone else.
For me, my husband meets all of these. I’d say it comes pretty natural for us to travel together, but with each trip, it keeps getting better. Travel is very important for us and there are many benefits to doing so. I am so thankful for my favorite travel companion!