How To Pick A Travel Companion

Picking a travel buddy can make or break your travel experience. If solo travel isn’t your thing, you need a travel companion to explore with. Who do you want by your side when travel gets tough?

Finding a great travel buddy can be a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider. Why not learn what not to do from other travelers?  These six qualities, shared by expert travelers, should be considered before picking your next travel companion.

Great(ly Misaligned) Expectations

This quality to avoid in a travel companion contributed by Adventures with NieNie

One of the biggest traits for me is knowing that my travel companion and I are on the same page regarding a trip. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend or significant other. For example, when traveling to places in Europe, I do not like going to or staying in resorts unless it was planned to stay at the beach. Now for my companion, he or she may be the type of person who always wants a resort style vacation.  They may want to stay on the beach or indoors while drinking a mojito instead of wandering around the streets like I do. It can be quite frustrating when one person came to see, taste and explore the city while one just wants to relax and stay indoors or poolside.

Image of blogger Adventures with NieNie who shares her quality to avoid in a travel companion.

Advice: Before any trip, communicate with your travel buddy on the kind of things that are happening on this trip to keep everyone on same page.

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This quality to avoid in a travel companion contributed by Camera and a Canvas

If you’ve ever traveled with an impatient person, you were probably asking yourself why on Earth did you even want to go on this trip in the first place? You should have just stayed home, or at least made sure that other person stayed home. As all of us travelers know, there are delays and things that come up unexpectedly when traveling. An impatient travel buddy will complain and whine about almost everything!

Woman's feet propped up on a suitcase while waiting for a delayed flight.

Let’s just say your plane is delayed, which happens at least 75% of the time for me. You just have to deal with it. There is nothing you can do. But, an impatient travel buddy will start grumbling and getting all negative and complainy, making an already unpleasant situation worse. Then there’s waiting in queues. Sometimes there’s no help for it if you want to go see a popular attraction. An impatient person will likely tell you how much of a waste of time this is to see stupid-such-and-such, and will highly likely leave the queue causing a situation for you. If they don’t, their miserable attitude will again make you wish you never came.

Advice: Moral of the story: find a kind-hearted, patient person to travel with. It will make your trip 10x’s better!

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RELATED: 6 Reasons Why Cousins Make the Best Travel Companions

Poor Photographer

This quality to avoid in a travel companion contributed by Bee Anything But Boring.

Have you heard the quote “we take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone”? With the social media craze these days, the pressure is on to get that perfect shot and if you don’t, it’s like were you even there? Sadly, it’s nearly impossible to take a perfect photo AND have yourself in it, which is why having a travel partner with an eye for photography is key. Some people call them Instagram boyfriends, aka the man behind the camera to all those beautiful travel girl shots. My quality to avoid in a travel companion is somebody who just can’t take a picture and you’d be better off handing your camera to a random stranger. Lucky for me, my travel companion is the best!

Image of blogger Bee Anything But Boring who shares her quality to avoid in a travel companion.Follow Bee Anything But Boring on Instagram and Facebook.

Perpetual $hit-Talker

This quality to avoid in a travel companion contributed by Weird Travel Friend

A few years back, while living and working in Korea, I ended up planning a multi-country group trip to Southeast Asia. I mapped the route, hotels, and recommended the activities. All the other ladies had to do was show up. On departure day, one group member (we’ll call her “Elizabeth”) started behaving strangely. She went from her typical outspoken self to  more secretive and suspicious. This led to a conflict with another group member, and ultimately into the whole group generally being tense and uneasy.

As we plotted our move from Honk Kong to Macau, two of us set out to book hotel rooms for our 5-person group, and when asked if they wanted on the reservation, Elizabeth and one other replied that they didn’t want to book. The next day, things came to a head, emotions were vented, and group harmony was reached. Until the next day.

We arrived in Macau and all of a sudden I was Elizabeth’s “public enemy number one.” I’m talking: not making eye contact, not addressing me directly, and even doing that “I’m going to bump into you as I pass just to prove how insignificant you are to me” move. I was baffled but so jaded by her behavior that I ignored it.

Flash forward to our return to Korea. I had a friend approach me and ask me why I had intentionally left Elizabeth out of my hotel booking for Macau. Visibly stunned, my friend went on to describe the messages that the friends in Korea had been receiving from Elizabeth about what a terrible person I was. It was lucky for me that I had someone who was able to speak up for me in my absence and her $hit-talking didn’t do anything to ruin my reputation.

Photo from Hong Kong by Weird Travel Friends as she shares advice on qualities to avoid in a travel companion.

Advice: Let me leave you with these three pieces of advice: (1) choose your travel companions carefully based on travel-style compatibility, (2) always split trip planning tasks perfectly evenly, and (3) if your travel-pal is being a jerk before the trip, they’ll probably take that quality with them – find a way to politely separate your itineraries (travel time is too precious to let someone else ruin it for you).

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This quality to avoid in a travel companion contributed by Ms. Meeting Adventures.

A freeloader is someone who takes advantage of you and then disappears when you need something from them. As we all know, traveling comes with a price and most of the time that price can be a little bit painful to our bank accounts. For most of us, it takes months of hard work to save enough money for the trip yet there are some who think that it is okay to leech someone else’s food without contributing a single cent even ONCE! Don’t get me wrong, it feels good to help others out of generosity but taking advantage of your generosity is a different thing. Hello! Nothing comes for free nowadays, most especially when traveling. So you want to travel with me? Give me your bank statement and show me that you can afford it! HAHA! Kidding!

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RELATED: 4 Lessons Learned While Living Abroad, From A Psychologist


This quality to avoid in a travel companion contributed by myself at This Big Wild World.

It’s great when your travel buddy is easy-going and flexible. But, one thing that drives me crazy is when my travel companion has zero opinion on what we do. This leaves the burden of travel, navigation, lodging, and activities on me. It also leaves me feeling responsible for the other person’s travel experience. I’m not your tour guide, I’m your travel companion. We’re a team, so let’s work together on this!

Advice: If the travel planning isn’t a partnership from the start, it may not be a good match. Before writing them off, talk to your potential travel buddy and let them know that their opinion is needed.

How To Pick a Travel Companion

You’re probably thinking this is a great list of who not to travel with, but how do I pick a great travel companion? My one piece of advice is to be honest with yourself and know your travel style. All too often, we’re looking for someone (anyone) to join us on an adventure that we don’t hit the pause button to ask ourselves if we really want to spend time with that person.

We all have a different travel style. Own yours! And then talk about it with your potential travel buddy before booking your ticket. A 10 minute conversation could save you a very expensive mishap! Here are some great questions to guide your conversation. Happy travels!

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Are you looking for the perfect travel companion? Expert travelers share their tips and advice on what qualities to avoid in a travel partner or travel buddy. How to pick a travel companion. solo travel | travel partner | travel buddy | travel companionAre you looking for the perfect travel companion? Expert travelers share their tips and advice on what qualities to avoid in a travel partner or travel buddy. How to pick a travel companion. solo travel | travel partner | travel buddy | travel companion

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