Holiday advice: The best and worst types of people to travel with

“We found him having a cigar and beer at a bar with two blokes who couldn’t speak English. Dan said ‘I just want to be with the people’ and I said ‘Well, the rest of us want to have a G & T back at the hotel, but we’ve been searching for you for hours’. It was like that every day.

I bloody hated travelling with him.” It was Christmas Day and the fam were sitting around, boozed up and full of ham, discussing holidays. My uncle had just returned from Spain with his best friend of 45 years where their first overseas trip together nearly broke the friendship — Paul wanted to follow the plan and their group, but Danny Boy wanted to roam free.

The conversation quickly turned to everyone’s worst travel-mate trait: the tightass, the rule follower, the itinerary obsessed, the loose goose … but the only thing anyone could agree on is that the right travel partner can make or break holidays, friendships, relationships and even families. MORE: Seven signs you’ve chosen the worst travel buddy[1] So, what is the most important thing to consider when choosing the best travel partner?

Well, according to the drunks, here’s who you should look for: 1. SOMEONE YOU CAN’T OFFEND

“Friends you can swear at are the best travellers. Grudges can ruin a holiday, so pals who hand you a drink when you’ve just lost it at them cos they booked the wrong flight and you now have to sleep on the airport floor — they’re the ones. They’re there through thick, thin and four letter words making them the ultimate travel companion.”

— Hannah, 38. Fave hol: Italy. “I literally fell in love with a guy named Romeo.” MORE: I lost my suitcase but this was worse[2]

2. FAMILY MEMBERS “Well, I’m 94 and all my friends are dead.

I’m beyond travelling so this is a stupid bloody question, but if I had to I would go, with anyone around the table here because I can tell you all to shut up. Travelling with family — or your partner — means you don’t have to be nice all the time and they’ll still take care of you because they have to.” — Mim, 94.

Fave hol: China “because the Chinese love old people”. 3. SOMEONE TO DO ALL THE WORK

“It’s not about who, but the relationship balance: you need a leader and a follower. I love a travel partner who researches where we go, organises what we do and then takes me around. It is perfect for me: no decisions, just follow the leader.”

— Viv, 59. Fave hol: Brazil “when I got to be a judge at the Rio Olympics”. MORE: Why siblings are the best travel buddies[3]

4. COLLEAGUES “The quickest way to form a friendship is bonding over a common enemy.

So when you are in the work trenches battling a tyrant boss or nightmare client, you form a special kind of relationship with a co-worker. Like professional sports-players, you and a colleague-turned-pal can handle a delayed flight, plan-cancelling-hangovers or even a small Thai jail cell because your friendship has already dealt with Susan From Finance and the whole ‘cab charge’ incident.” — James, 39.

Fave hol: Thailand “because we made it out”. 5. FELLOW NOMADS

“I met a French girl on a dancefloor and for five hours we didn’t speak, we just boogied. Within a few days, we’d rearranged our plans and spent a month travelling together. She is 13 years younger than me, and on paper we have nothing in common but she is now one of my closest friends.

There is something about being nomads in a foreign land that lets you connect in a deeper way than you do with friends, fam etc. A stranger who travels is just a friend you haven’t met.” — Me, 30-something (+GST).

Fave hol: London to Paris by bicycle, with one outfit and no map. 6. NO ONE, ESPECIALLY AUSSIES

“No! People are clingers! Travel is for learning about the world through locals, and when alone you’re more approachable and open.

I prefer exploring solo, making new connections on the way and then leaving them as I go onto the next place. I also have a rule: no Aussies. There are 25 million of us back home, so when I’m away I want to expand my horizons, not debate which song is better The Horses or You’re The Voice”.

— Peter, 70. Fave hol: Alaska by cruise ship. 7.

SOMEONE ON THE SAME BUDGET “Yeah nah, the most important thing is having the same budget as this defines the entire Discount Holidays © holiday experience. I went to Europe with the world’s biggest tightass and had to eat at cheap restaurants, stay in crap hotels and miss out on attractions with entry fees.

I ended up having a skimpy trip with no trimmings, because of her thriftiness. If we had discussed our budget and travel expectations before planning we would have realised they were different, but we didn’t even think to. Rookie error.”

— Emma, 32. Fave hol: “Not Europe.” 8.

SOMEONE ON THE SAME LEVEL OF CRAY “When I was in Cuba, some locals invited us to their aunt’s place for a barbecue but my best friend refused to go. We missed out on the kind of spontaneous experience that travel (for me) is all about, due to her caution.

She refused to eat from street stalls, wouldn’t wander off the tourist route — I was so frustrated. The combo didn’t work and I learnt you need the same levels of cray to travel well with someone.” — Phoebe, 29.

Fave holiday: USA road trip. “I met Usher in NYC. He is really short.” So choosing a travel partner is EASY, guys.

Be it friend, family, colleague or stranger, as long as they have the same budget as you, will follow your lead (or vice versa), are not a clinger, won’t start the great Farnz v Braithwaite debate, have the same levels of cray as you, like to dance, lets you swear at them and … you know what?

Forget travel, if this person actually exists (and you’re not related to them) then you should marry them.

— This article originally appeared on Escape[4] and has been republished with permission.

References

  1. ^ MORE: Seven signs you’ve chosen the worst travel buddy (www.escape.com.au)
  2. ^ MORE: I lost my suitcase but this was worse (www.escape.com.au)
  3. ^ MORE: Why siblings are the best travel buddies (www.escape.com.au)
  4. ^ Escape (www.escape.com.au)

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