Why Cousins Make the Best Travel Companions

We’ve all been there. Your friends say they’ll “totally go on the next trip with you” but then go MIA when you try to book it. Or your parents roll their eyes at you when you excitedly talk about your next adventure. Or you are 3 days into a trip and realize you and your travel buddy are not on the same page. It sucks. But, never fear, there’s a solution.

Remember those people kind of close to your age that were always hanging around at holidays, birthday parties and graduation when you were a child? Cousins. Turns out they grew up to be pretty cool people and even better travel companions.

Here’s why cousins make the best travel companions…

#1. You can bond over your crazy family.Image of me and three cousins on a windmill in Bruges Belgium together.

Anyone who says their family isn’t at least a little crazy is lying. Everyone has that one aunt who drinks too much rum punch at every holiday. Or the uncle who tells the same jokes over and over (hypothetically, of course). Or maybe even the family’s weird habits like, say, discussing their ailments in great detail over a meal. No? Just me? Well, imagine traveling with someone who gets all of this! Use all of those hours walking a city, riding on a train or on a road trip finally openly talking about the craziness and commiserating together.

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Image of me and four cousins in Luxembourg during a road trip together.

#2. ‘What happens in Vegas’ actually stays in Vegas.

Unlike traveling with a sibling, cousins don’t usually have regular direct access to your parents. And, if they do, they aren’t motivated to tell them what happened on the other side of the world because they know it’ll just get back to their own parents. Let loose, drink another glass of wine and do all of the silly things because you’re in the safe zone with cousins.

#3. You get to choose to like them.

All cousins are not created equal. Let’s be honest, you probably don’t want to travel with every one of them. There’s that one cousin who talks about fire a lot and doesn’t say much. Yeah, probably not that one (although it could be fun!). Aside from seeing each other at occasional family get togethers, you don’t have to be close with every cousin. You get to choose to like them. You probably don’t live together and don’t come from the same immediate family, so when you travel together you’re choosing to do so.

Image of me and my cousin taking a break on the side of the road while scootering in Vietnam.

“Cousins you kind of get to choose to like. We don’t live together or come from the same immediate family so we chose to travel and be close.”

#4. They are like childhood friends who “get” you and your family.

Who else hesitates anytime your significant other starts talking about meeting each other’s families? I love my family, but they can be a bit much… and I have to believe that means that I probably can be a bit much sometimes too. Cousins get it. They’ve known you your whole life and they “get” you and your family. No explanation needed. You can be authentically you.

Cousins can also help you better understand your own parents. When you only have a few moments at the holiday meal to catch up, you can’t get into the “really really” about life. But, around Day 4 of a European adventure, things start to get real.

“It’s good insight into the why our parents are the way they are.”

Image of five cousins who traveled to go to a concert together in Minneapolis Minnesota.

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#5. You can maintain the family bond.

Let’s be honest, our beloved family members won’t live forever. As your family ages, the bond that keeps the family together can weaken. But, building strong relationships with your cousins can maintain (or create) the family bond. I’m fortunate that my aunts and uncles are all still alive, but incredibly thankful that because of traveling with my cousins I have a great support system for whenever that time comes in the future.

“It’s a great way to get to know each other as adults.”

#6. You can put your family’s mind at ease.Image of me and four cousins in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

If you’re anything like me, your family doesn’t fully understand your love of traveling to the far reaches of the Earth. My parents worry about me and my safety. But, when I can tell them that I’m traveling with a cousin, it puts their mind at ease.

One of my cousins and I went on our first travel adventure together back in 2002 and since then we’ve been to 5 continents together! In 2014, three more cousins joined us for a European Adventure that we all will never forget (#snowpocalypse2014 #thegreatluggagedebacle #fivecountriesoneday). Since then we’ve continued our adventures together… and even have matching bracelets we wear! I mean, who doesn’t want cousin travel swag?

Image of my cousin's matching travel bracelets and drink tickets at a concert in Minneapolis Minnesota.

Why not plan your next adventure with a cousin?

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