We all have friends we love to hang out with, work with and even live with, and then come those we like to travel with. The careful decision-making that goes into choosing our business partners, roommates or even life partners is also required in choosing a travel buddy (unless you're going solo; in that case more power to you). Whether it's your 'bae', a newfound friend, or just a group you've never travelled with before, there's a lot to consider before you decide to tread on virgin territory.
Don't worry, we've made things simpler for you by putting all the factors into an easy-breezy list. Read on.(Abrupt, please add a little more here)
1. Factor in the moolah
There is probably nothing more obvious than this statement, but it needs to be at the top of the list sheerly (merely?)because of its importance and practicality. You can't really travel with someone who has a very different budget from yours. It is crucial to be on the same page as your travel partner when it comes to costs for transport, accommodation, food and more. Discuss this beforehand and don't leave it to the last minute.
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2. Where you stayin' at?
Do you like luxury villas while your buddy loves home stays? Do you need to reach a middle ground to make this trip a success? Then talk about it! Even if you're the kind of person who simply doesn't care about accommodation, talk it out. Be absolutely clear about where you're going to stay. It can make or break your travel.
3. Get moving
Transportation is the third most important factor. If you're travelling within the country, do you prefer trains, planes or buses? Which airlines do you prefer while travelling internationally? Are you the kind who flies only first class or do you like to bring your own food on trains? Do you like to leave early in the morning or late at night? These seem like pretty inconsequential factors, but add up really quickly in making a trip a horrific experience. Everyone has different travel habits and things can get awkward really fast if not taken care of in the beginning.
4. What's your chill pill?
Personally, I love taking things slow on vacations — long naps, getting up late in the morning, brunching in my pajamas and maybe unwinding by the pool. I like to do this at least for one whole day at the beginning of the vacation. My boyfriend on the other hand is the kind who will wake up at dawn and not rest until he's done all the activities we decided for the day. Needless to say, an arrangement like this took time to adjust to. When travelling, downtime is extremely important and different people relax in different ways. Make sure you discuss this with your buddy/buddies before you take the plunge.
5. Make a list of the activities
You and your peeps might have zeroed in on a location, let's say Andaman Islands, but what does this place mean to all of you individually? Do you like to visit churches, museums and historical places? Do you like to chill on the beach all day or do you like water sports? Discuss and plan your itinerary beforehand so no one is left feeling like they got the worse end of the deal. Ideally, each of you should make a list of everything that is non-negotiable and then share it with the group/person.
6. Foodie alert!
Some of us love to experiment with the local cuisine while others like to stick to basics or just snack and munch as we move along. One of you might enjoy fine dining while the other might just want beer and finger foods. Be clear about you and your buddy's' dietary preferences and don't forget that this is one of the major areas for allocation of your budget.
7. Spending time with yourself
Just like relaxation activities, when travelling with someone new, you will have moments when you just want to be alone. Everyone's needs are different and you don't need to be doing the same thing as everyone else all the time. Go read a book with a glass of wine if that's your thing, or play pool at the resort's cafe, whatever catches your fancy. But do make sure that you take out time for yourself.
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So the moral of the story is that travelling with someone new can be stressful, enjoyable, insightful and enlightening at the same time. If you plan ahead it can be the experience of a lifetime. Be aware of your partner's needs and make sure to tell them yours. Be sure of what you are willing to compromise on and what you're not, but no matter what you do, make sure to make the most of your trip.
Have some rules of your own when travelling with new companions? Let us know in the comments or share with the community.