It’s not always easy to find the right travel buddy. But when you’ve finally found one (or a few more), fun adventures await you.
In the past, I had tried to travel with other people. Travelling alone is fun, but with the right travel buddy, the experience of travelling with another traveller can be just as rewarding as solo travelling, or even better. I won’t be mentioning any names here, but I’ll share with you the 7 signs you’ve found the right travel buddy, which are of course, based on my own travel duo experiences.
1. You both share common interests
It’s not necessary for the two of you to like coffee or tea, or to have the same favourite football teams, but all you need is to have the same travel interests. You’re going to be travelling together after all. Identify each other’s travel needs: where you want to go, what you want to do, how long you’re planning to travel, etc. It’s also helpful if you’re aware of each other’s travel styles, and eating or sleeping habits.
If you’ve got a problem with your partner eating meat in front of you, then perhaps you should find a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian travel buddy. If you’re an early bird, you might not want to travel with someone who only wakes up in the middle of the day.
Good thing is travellers usually change their habits when they’re travelling. That’s how I managed to travel with people with all kinds of personalities and habits. It’s always recommended for you and your travel buddy to sit together and discuss about all these before you give your travels a green light.
2. You both are hunting for the same things
Whatever it is that you’re both looking for in your travel quests, it’s always a priority to be involved in most of your travel activities together. You don’t always have to do things together, though. There’s always room for privacy and independence when you’re travelling with someone else, especially on a long stretch period.
But of course, it’s always best to share as many moments as possible together. That’s the point of being travel buddies. You’re a team. So if your travel buddy likes surfing but you don’t, you can always read a book at the beach instead. You can also do your friend a favour by capturing his/her surfing moments.
3. You can work as a team
If you already know each other and find yourselves fighting all the time, that should be a red flag that prevents you from going on a trip together. Travelling can be stressful sometimes. You don’t want to be cats and dogs on the road, especially when times are rough, and definitely not on a long-term trip.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know if someone is a good team player before you both actually start travelling together. If this a concern, perhaps you can address this to your travel buddy before you hit the road. If things don’t work out, at least you both can part peacefully.
Also, it’s important that you and your travel buddy work together when it comes to planning and organising your trips. You don’t want to be doing all the work in your guest house while your travel buddy is sipping cocktails on the beach.
4. Neither one of you likes to whine
Imagine if you’re travelling with someone who whines all the time. Trust me, no one can tolerate that after a certain period of time. It’s okay to be a little stressed out, disappointed, or frustrated during hard times, but to drag those feelings with you for too long can lead to a lot of stress for you and the people around you. Neither whining nor moping around will help ease your problems.
So it’s best for you to be on top of your problems and try to solve them. If you’re travelling with a positive and optimistic person, you can at least get some motivations on the road, especially during those hard days of your travels.
5. You both can tolerate each other’s spending habits
I admit that I love spending money on food, and sometimes unnecessary things. But one travel buddy changed that forever. Although he never imposed his values on me, I learned some things from him when it comes to spending money, especially while travelling.
Despite our different spending habits, we still managed to get along. Even though we didn’t visit many touristy places together, I was still very happy. The journey made me realise that I can still have fun travelling without spending a lot of money, or going to must-visit destinations. Of course, this can only work with a bit of flexibility from both parties. Since we both like to do things that are free of charge, neither one of us were devastated from not seeing this and that. Yes, we were being frugal on the road, but occasionally we had our money spent on fancier food and activities for a change.
I’m not very much of a person who expects a travel buddy to pay his/her own fair share all the time. I’ve been quite generous towards other people. I had paid for a travel buddy’s accommodation, food and activities before. It’s not that I’m rich. The costs didn’t really matter to me because I had such great times with that person. My generosity eventually led me to another traveller who also did the same thing I did for my travel buddy. And I’m thankful for that.
In general, I don’t like being around someone who’s too calculative, or someone who takes advantage of my generosity. Since money is a very sensitive issue, it should be one of the most important things to discuss with your travel buddy before you travel, or from time to time if necessary.
6. Your travel buddy understands that there is no such thing as the perfect travel buddy
Life isn’t perfect to begin with, so I’m not expecting my travel buddy to be perfect either. Perfect to me is impossible, because if I could set up the standards of a perfect travel buddy, I’ll never find one. Instead, I’ll end up looking rather demanding. That’s why I prefer to use the word ‘right’ instead of ‘perfect’ on my headline.
Just because your travel buddy is a vegetarian (when you’re not!), doesn’t mean you both can’t travel together. I’ve already travelled with a vegetarian. Despite our different eating preferences, we had good times together. In fact, I even started to like vegetarian meals. It didn’t bother me that I had not eaten meat for more than two months. I didn’t mind giving meat a pass if it meant I could spend good times with a good friend.
Besides, not eating meat was my way of showing respect to my travel buddy. If we want to travel together, we should be able to give each other respect, right?
7. Your travel buddy is adventurous and outgoing
Okay, maybe you don’t always have to be spontaneous in order to be outgoing. I know I am both spontaneous and outgoing. But I don’t expect the person who’s travelling with me to be the kind that says “Aye-aye captain!” every time.
An outgoing travel buddy is someone who’s happy to be involved in almost everything you do. Of course, it shouldn’t be all about you. You should be happy to be involved in the activities your travel buddy is proposing, too.
When I was in Laos, I wanted to visit a waterfall which was 5 – 10 minutes away from my guest house. My travel buddy and I hopped on our motorbike and rode our way to the waterfall. Along the way, we came across a small junction that seemed to be leading to a range of very attractive limestone mountains. We changed our minds and decided to go to the mountains instead. We never saw the waterfall, but at least the breathtaking mountains compensated us for the missed opportunity.
There are so many wonderful travellers out there with whom you can share your happiness on the road. Pick the right one, and remember that nobody is perfect.