Is there such a thing as the perfect travel partner?

By November 23, 2010 Featured, How To: 4 Comments

You’ve decided you’re going to travel for three months and instead of traveling solo, you’ve decided you want to travel with a partner.  Who’s it going to be and what are the most important things to take into consideration?

Stephanie and Travis giving each other a look.

Friends can be great to travel with, just make sure you agree on things like budget, expectations, etc.

The Budget

Make sure you both share the same thoughts when it comes to your budget.  The best of friends can have very different opinions on money, and the road is not the best place to find out what those differences are.  Make sure you discuss comfort vs cost.  If you are on a strict budget and are willing to forego comfort for more travel time and your partner is more interested in comfort and more expensive food then you are going to have major problems when traveling together.

The Journey

What are your expectations of the trip?  Are you planning on waking up early to spend the day sightseeing, or sleeping in and lounging on the beach?  Are you ready to explore the unknown or do you prefer to keep to where the guidebook tells you to go?  Are you staying in hotels, hostels, couchsurfing or camping?  Are you staying flexible or adhering to a precise plan?  None of these is any better or worse than another, but they’re all things you should discuss with your potential travel partner BEFORE you leave.

Their Character

Differences in personality and attitude can have a profound effect on the trip.  You want to find a travel partner who you like, who has a personality that meshes with your own and is relaxed and laid back.  The issues you’ll face while traveling are hard enough without adding in a bad attitude or someone who easily loses their temper.  An open mind, patience, flexibility and genuine curiosity about the world are all ideal character traits to seek out in your travel partner.

Ben and Ricky do their thing - a hand stand in front of the huge golden buddha on top of Mt. Emei.

Travel with a partner can certainly lead to interesting interactions, like this pair who would do handstands in different spots all around China.

HOW DO I FIND THIS TRAVEL PARTNER?

So, now that you know what to look for, how do you find the perfect travel partner?  Assuming you’ve already gone through friends and family, there are many other ways to locate possible travelers.  We live in the age of the internet, and there is an overabundance of people online wanting to travel.

Classified sites like craigslist are a great place to start, or seek out the chat forums for things you are interested in, such as photography or archeology.  Social networks, such as facebook, are another great place to look.  There are even social networks specific to travel such as Couchsurfing.org where, even if you aren’t interested in couchsurfing, you can find many travel related forums.

You can also opt to start solo with the goal of meeting someone(s) along the way to latch onto and travel with.  Hostels are the best place to seek out and meet other travelers.  It’s fairly easy to meet people on the road and join up for the next destination. Short, guided tours are another good way to meet a lot of other travelers at once, many of whom will continue to travel after the tour.

Have you traveled with a partner?  How’d you two meet and how’d the trip go?

  • http://twitter.com/AnjaniLadki Saadia S. Shamsie

    Picky ppl are an immediate NO! My advice, travel with ppl who understand that they are in ANOTHER country and everything that is accessible back home may not be accessible during the trip. If you can’t adapt, don’t bother traveling. It sounds harsh, but its true.

    • Anonymous

      I agree, people who can’t relax and understand that things are going to be different in another country are in for a big surprise, and probably not all that great a trip. This is magnified the more different the country you’re visiting is from home. I’d say don’t skip the traveling, just stick to places that are more like home and ease into it. Maybe they’ll learn to adapt and can slowly get out of their comfort zone.

      -T

  • http://twitter.com/swgraphic Sarah Wu

    I usually travel with my fiance to places. But I understanding traveling with friends can be a different story. Whenevr I plan a trip for more then myself and my fiance, it gets complicated. We have to know everyone’s budget what kinda of accommodation they can afford and even down to what kind of car to rent.Everyone has a different need and as a planner it’s a tough job to accommodate everyone’s need. Whereas traveling with my love one,we tend to lend things go easier. Great post and question.

  • http://twitter.com/OneGiantStep OneGiantStep

    Your points are right on…no matter who you are traveling with. My partner and I traveled for a year and it was all about expectations and budget. We were lucky enough to have been together for 10 years already and had good communication going for us but, I’ll admit, it was hard.