How do you like to travel? By yourself, in a group or with a travel buddy (be it your partner or friend)? In case you choose the latter, there are things that you need to consider before taking that leap. Not for nothing is a holiday together known as a relationship wrecker. Don’t let that include yours.
Let’s state the obvious, chances are you are not 100% of the same opinion most of the time. And a holiday is something you earned yourself and where you want to unwind and just enjoy your day. Nobody likes an argument or to be forced to do things they don’t enjoy. So what to do when two people travel together?
Let’s Have a Talk
The key to maintaining healthy relationships is communication. Nothing good comes from swallowing up your feelings and opinions. It only leads to resentment and you turn into a time bomb that’s waiting to explode with all these pent up emotions. Not good for anyone involved. So talk. Tell one another what your expectations and wishes for the holiday are, what you like to see and don’t care about, where you don’t mind going.
Go on and share the way you travel. Maybe you are a sun worshipper, working on your tan, or a fashion lover scouring through unknown shops and local boutiques. Are museums your thing or old sites? Do you like to participate in activies or parrty hard at night? All these things must be talked about to see what kind of travel experience you are expecting.
- Why do you want to travel together with me?
- Are you comfortable travelling with a buddy of the same sex, age, etc?
- What are your general holiday interests?
- What are the things you absolutely want to do and see?
- Which things would you hate doing?
- Is it ok to part ways every now and then for some alone time or to pursue our different interests?
- Will you be upfront with me if there is something that bugs you and don’t (literally) avoid me?
- How are your fitness levels?
- What is your budget and spending habit?
I am known to be money savvy but I once spend 10 days with the worst cheapskate ever. Old Scrooge McDuck would be put to shame upon meeting her. It did save me some money but it resulted in sleepless nights, a batch full of blisters and a serious case of constipation. I’ve learnt a valuable lesson. Let it be yours as well. At the same time, if you are known to be a genrous spender on your holiday and the other person has a limited budget, find a way to deal with this without pressuring the other.
- What clothes are you packing?
I don’t mean to colour coordinate and don a matching outfit but if you are packing high heels and ballerinas, I am certainly not taking you on a city sightseing marathon. If you are just grabbing shabby backpacker clothes, I will stay far away from fancy bars. And maybe you expect me to take your flip flops because you ran out of space? Let me show you some packing basics instead.
- What is your day and night pattern?
I like to sleep in but for an action packed day I get up at 8. Some people rise with the sun and have already had breakfast and a walk in the park before I even open my eyes. If that’s ok with both, then that’s good. But chances are certain expectations exist. We need to discuss them.
- Are a party person?
How do you feel about having a cocktail down by the hotel bar? Maybe we can head to that beach party later? Do you mind meeting up with the random group we met earlier? They seemed like fun. Now is the time to be honest. Are you comfortable with that or not? True, during travels you should try out something new and meet people. But for introverts this can be very hard and some people you just have a bad feeling about. If you must go, go with your gut.
- Do you feel ok if we walk a lot or do you prefer public transport?
Personally, I walk everywhere. It not only saves me money, which I can invest in chocolate, but it also gives me a better idea of the town, a feel for daily life, insights into lesser known districts and so on. I just love it and I am a firm believer in slow travel. A possibly travel buddy could see this differently. I once travelled with a girl that was short of breath and a walk up the metro stairs in Stockholm was too much. It would have been better if she hadn’t told me it was ok to take the stairs.
- Are you a talker or do you like your peace and quiet?
Remember my cheapskate travel buddy? On top of that defining quality she was also a very passionate talker. About herself. And since she was young and her life and love story therefore short, I had to listen to it four times in total. Some people like to talk all the time, others need a retreat to recharge their social batteries. There is nothing wrong with either, just be upfront about your needs.
- Any health and safety info I need to know?
You are allergic to peanuts and have an intolerance to milk products? Ok, I make sure that I keep that in mind and since I am the only one speaking the local language a bit, I will ask for you regarding the ingredients. Knowing life saving things, such as where inhalators or certain pills are is absolutely vital.
This question doesn’t necessarily have to be asked but you should be aware of why they chose you or you them. Is it because you’re besties? Is it out of necessity? Do you want to prevent going alone? Did someone talk you into this? It can set the overall tone but should not spoil your holiday at all. Don’t feel bad if they or you aren’t choice number one. This isn’t a competition but don’t expect your journey to be an ultimately bonding one and don’t have ulterior motives.
This might be a no brainer but you should be honest to yourself and see what you are fine with. Maybe you are overly shy, or you don’t believe in platonic relationships. Maybe you like people your own age or prefer more experienced people to have grown up conversations with. Or you don’t mind either way, which of course is the best.
Do you like to maintain your tan? Do you like shopping? Are you a hiker? Do you go for scenic drives? What is it that you have done in previous holidays and how did that work for you? Let’s see where we have some overlappings and maybe we can try something different, too!
Ok, so you really want to see the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen despite me telling you it’s super tiny and so not spectacular? Ok, I won’t dissuade you if you absolutely have to go. I’ll wait for you at the nearby harbour and then we’ll meet up. No hard feelings and everybody’s happy.
There is no point in making you do something you can’t stand. I won’t let anyone push me from a building despite tied to a bungee rope and you might panic over sailing because you are terrified of open water. You might hate thoughtful ramblings in art museums or a prolonged afternoon just people watching. It could be mundane or extraordinary but I need to know your no-go list.
There is no shame in splitting the ‘group’ every now and then. In particular if there are colliding interests and little time. Sometimes it can help to get some distance between each other to ease a tension or just be by yourself. Travelling together doesn’t mean that you have to be together at all times. Just speak up if you need company a lot or are an independent soul.
I have had that happen that people have swallowed up negative feelings despite me asking and then they literally just disappeared around a corner and were gone for a whole afternoon. I can tell you it creates a terrible feeling on so many levels and is certainly not fair. Especially, if it was just because you couldn’t spend as much time in museum like you wanted but didn’t tell me. I cannot read your thoughts.
There is no need to save on a metro budget if you have to rest every ten minuts from exhaustion. I won’t climb the Montjüic in Barcelona with you if you rely on the escalator. At the same time, if we go hiking and I know that I need to eat every 2 hours and drink all the time, I have to tell someone so they won’t be annoyed because of the stops. It is just basic fairness. And helps with the schedule plans.