Ensure Vacation Fun with the Right Travel Buddy

As I try my best to think ahead to this vacation of nothing I would like to have before December 31, a friend and I were yesterday talking about travel buddies and how they can make or break your vacation enjoyment.

Most people know that I am Lone Wolf when it comes to travelling. Once I have my passport and when necessary, a valid visa, I wait for no man or woman. I like the spontaneity of being able to select a destination and work towards getting there.

I have not had good experiences planning trips with friends – none of these trips ever happened. The single, childless travel fiend is always a bit more flexible than the mothers and wives. Travel tastes also vary. According to some, I am a bit bourgie, and that’s fine. If being bourgie means I am not a fan of backpacking and sleeping in some hostel where the sheets may or may not have been washed, and where I have to share a shower with 20 other people – 20 strangers I must add, then yes, I am hella bourgie. I get up too early in the morning, work too many damn long hours and I am always too tired to spend my vacation in some hostel! So therein is another reason I am the Lone Wolf.

But I was not always like this. Oh no. On my very first real vacation as a working adult, I planned a tropical girls’ trip with a friend. It had all the ingredients to be a fun time – a great destination, with great activities, great restaurants, a great friend. We got there, and from the moment we got off the plane, it was whine o’clock. The sun was too hot, the taxi was too cramped, the streets were too narrow, the room was too cold. Jee-bus!

Then we got to the shopping area, and while the shopping was excellent, who spends all their money on stuff on the FIRST day of a FIVE day trip? And no credit card in sight. Having not budgeted to pay for two, I could not chip in for five days. This now meant all the activities we had planned on doing were now going to be solo or no-go. *insert salty face here*

Then there was the issue of my Energiser bunny-ness versus dead bunny. I am one who wants to do and see everything, and while I can temper this to meet my travel buddy half way, waking up at 11am was not cute. Not just waking up at 11am, but waking up at 11am and then wanting to laze in bed, watching reruns on cable for another hour before getting into the shower, while I sit there, hungry, and while the beautiful day outside was being wasted. I had many a lonely breakfast during this trip.

When we finally emerged from the hotel, the whining resumed. It was just crazy. I called my mother one morning – exasperated – and then that same morning, decided I could enjoy this vacation by myself while Sleeping Beauty caught up on her beauty sleep until 2pm. On another trip, I had a daily 60 minute wait for one friend who insisted that she had to style her hair with the curling iron before heading to the beach. Really??? And so, the Lone Wolf was born.

However, I have since gone on staycations/vacations with others, and have had much much better experiences, but the travel buddy needs to be screened and selected carefully to ensure you get full value from your vacation investment.

Some helpful tips:

Two peas in a pod - At the very least, have common interests and values when it comes to your vacation. You may not always want to do all the same things, but some similarities go a long way. 

Discuss plans for the trip – It’s good to discuss beforehand what you both expect from the trip so that no one gets sour during the trip. Your travel buddy may not want to do everything you want to do and this may mean you cannot do everything you want to do. However, if you REALLY want to visit the Louvre and he/she really wants to go on a wine-tasting tour, then plan accordingly with compromise in mind to ensure each person gets value from the trip.

Budget – Ensure your travel buddy has money, and has budgeted realistically for your destination. That trip of a lifetime can sour really quickly if your travel buddy is going to be rolling with a calculator, doing currency conversions before they buy even a bottle of water and complaining that in Trinidad or wherever, this would be x dollars and not so expensive. THIS is annoying to the extreme!

Destinations will not change people – If your travel buddy annoys you on a regular day, then don’t set yourself up for disaster. Being in close quarters for a period of time, day in, day out, with a person who annoys you in daily life is going to ensure your vacation is a disaster. Just don’t do it – travelling alone is a much better and more enjoyable option.

That being said, I am still planning this vacation of nothing as a solo superstar adventure, but I am open to suitable travel buddies.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, I went at 17 with a "Guy friend" because that was what he was to Spain. Oh boy was he pissed that it was nothing more than that. Thank goodness he was a gentleman.... That said he SNORED!!!! We had the same room, he was like a brother to me.... Yeah, that whole vacation I slept during the day at the beach as I was exhausted!!! Then several years ago myself and two other girls went on a dive vacation. We had all certified together and gone through open water, advanced, rescue and Dive mater.... One girlfriend was right on with me, up early eat breakfast, dive hang out dive eat dinner. The other could not get it together and if we didn't find her a place to eat her lunch I think she was going to waste away!!! I love my hubby traveling companion he ROCKS!!!!! The kids are good traveling companions too. I am raising good travel buddies!!!!

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