Travelling alone can be great fun. But for the single person there are times when you’d rather have someone along with you. In addition to the companionship, it is often more expensive to travel on your own and sharing expenses can reduce the cost of your trip.
And although travel is safer today than it ever has been, you might feel more confident about your travels if you have someone along with you, especially if you’re going on an extended trip to a foreign country that’s new to you. It may be that you and a friend have discussed going on a trip together but how can you be sure that you’ll still be friends when you return home?
It may be that you’re best of friends at home, or great business colleagues but that doesn’t mean that you’re ideally suited for travelling together. Here are some things you might want to check out before you finalise arrangements.
- Are you on the same wavelength financially? Your idea of budget and your friend’s version might differ. If you have a budget of $250 for your trip and your friend has allowed herself $750, there are likely to be arguments
- Do your body clocks gel? If you’re a night owl who likes to party until the early hours and your potential companion likes to get up at the crack of dawn, then there might be problems brewing
- Are your fitness levels in synch? You see a bargain bike tour. Your friend can think of nothing worse than getting muscle cramps and probably couldn’t ride a bike for more than half a mile anyway.
- Do you have the same travel goals? He has just broken up with his girlfriend so wants to meet as many new ones on your trip as possible – you’re looking forward to mountain hikes, country walks and sailing. This is unlikely to work well!
- Are you flexible or a planner? You want to arrive in Marrakesh and take it from there – you go where life leads you. Your potential travel partner prefers to research the place thoroughly online and plan itineraries and organised tours
- Do you have similar tastes? I mean this literally. If you’re a vegan and your friend is an enthusiastic carnivore, finding places to eat where you’ll both be happy might cause problems
- Are your standards similar? You find budget hostels stimulating. Your friend is horrified at the thought of communal bathrooms. You want to experience street foods and the local market’s offerings. Your friend prefers to eat using proper silverware at a place with pristine tablecloths
- Do you agree about the mode of transport? Your friend loves the thought of travelling on local buses but you prefer a nice private railway carriage
- Are you both equally at ease with travel? I promise, if you love being on a ferry in the open sea and your friend gets seasick, neither of you are going to be happy. If she’s happy to explore the backstreets of Marseilles after dark and you see dangers lurking, arguments will follow
- Do you have similar tastes for adventure? You want to eat the local speciality food, your friend is wondering if there’s a MacDonald’s nearby. He wants to try scuba diving but water terrifies you
Of course, there are always compromises. You want to visit museums and galleries and your friend would rather shop ’til she drops and that’s fine if you’re in London, Paris or similar. He wants to see a local bullfight but the though appalls you and you’d rather sun yourself on the beach – great if you’re in a Spanish coastal town. But these things should be threshed out before you book your trip.
Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t travel with someone who has very different tastes or a different lifestyle. It may be that the person is your absolute best friend or your lifelong partner. In that case, it might be an idea to book an organised tour with optional extras.
For example, this tour through Spain and Morocco is organised for you but also allows free time and optional excursions. You and your friend can be together some of the time and choose the optional extras you would like. She can explore the architecture of Barcelona while you shop and enjoy a glass of wine at a sidewalk café.
These tours are flexible and you’ll be in a small group of other people. This way, even if you tire of each other or argue, there’ll always be new friends to enjoy!
If you’d like to get the Travel Buddies app to meet like minded travellers, click right here.
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.