See The World
Seek Adventure Travel Happy
You may have heard they saying "If you want to test the strength of a relationship, go on a road trip together". I totally believe it's true. This applies to romantic relationships, friendships and family. One of the keys is to be honest about who you are. Are you a go-go must plan everything sort of person, or are you laid back and don't want to be strapped down by plans? Do you get lost everywhere you go, or are you great at planning all the logistics and have everything figured out months in advance? First knowing who you are will help you know what you need out of a travel companion. So here they are the 10 essentials to a great travel companion:
1: Balance: Balance is key to a successful trip. You can't have two captains. If you and your travel companion are both trying to be in charge, your are going to butt heads. It might seem all fine and dandy at the beginning. But you are bound to get tired and frustrated and that's when tempers will flare. Both of you need to be upfront before the trip about what you are hoping to get out of it. One of you may just want to lounge in the sun all day getting drunk. While the other one wants to go hiking in the jungle exploring all day. Knowing this upfront will prevent a lot of problems later. I once wanted to go ice skating while everyone else wanted to go to Tijuana. We did both, luckily no one died. I was right about Tijuana though, skip it and go ice skating.
2. Dependable: Everyone on a trip has to be dependable. You have to be able to rely on the other person to be where they say they will be when they say they will be. Everyone has to chip in and be there for the other person. This is important for safety, fun, and logistics. If they are the type of person who is always two hours late, this trip is going to suck...unless you are also that person then you can cry together in the airport when you've missed your flight...it happens, it's ok.
3. Travel Savvy: At least one person in your group needs to be a little travel savvy. This can come a number of ways, either through actual travel experience or lots of research. You need to know if you should negotiate your cab fare, if being out after dark is safe there, are pick pockets prevalent, and what to do in case of an emergency...hint you don't always dial 911.
4. Cool Under Pressure: I will be honest, this is where I have struggled in the past. After a long morning of traveling and one thing after another going wrong, we found ourselves in what seemed like a never ending line. Everybody in line had mickey mouse ears on and couldn't be happier. I, on the other hand was slowly building to an epic break down. After we finally made it to the ticket counter and the nice lady asked me for my passport. I rustled around in my bag, and I couldn't find it...que break down time! I then proceeded to fall to the ground and rip everything out of my bag and make a wee bit of scene in the Orlando airport. Pat on the other had was keeping calm, not feeding into my crazy and was mentally making a list of everything we could do in Orlando if we didn't make our flight to the Bahamas. While I am not proud of my dramatic emotional cracking, I can say that it was Pat's coolness under pressure that made it work out. One of you needs to be the person who keeps things together when everything is breaking down. We can't all get crazy in Orlando!
5. Share the Load: An awesome travel buddy will have your back, offer to sort out arrangements, remember the things you forget and share their snacks. One of you can't be shouldering all the responsibility, while the other one is off getting drunk and dancing naked on the beach. There's time for that, but you need a friend who's going to help with the hotel arrangements, find dinner and THEN go dancing drunk on the beach.
6. Responsible: On that note of drinking on the beach, you can't be the drunk girl passed out on the beach waiting for the tide to drag you away. I'll admit, Pat has held my hair back when I thought I could keep up with Kiwis...I can't, and both of us paid the price. You also have to be smart about drinking in places that you are unfamiliar with and with people that you don't know well. This is just good sense and it keeps your friends from having to appear on Nancy Grace to describe the seemingly nice guy that you wondered out of the bar with alone. Buddy system!
7. Open to New Experiences: Some people go on trips and never eat anything other than an American chain that you can get at home. What a waste! There is so much to experience, new foods, people, culture. A great travel buddy is going to be as excited as you are to go out there and experience it all. Yes, it might be shockingly different than you are used to, but that's the point. Embrace other cultures without judging and be open to learning something new about yourself and the world.
8. Flexibility: Sometimes the day you are planning on going scuba diving, it's pouring rain. Sometimes the museum you wanted to go to is closed. Be flexible, don't let a little hiccup ruin your day or your trip. There's always a way to turn lemons into Limoncello.
9. Spontaneity: Along with being flexible is being spontaneous. Sometimes an opportunity presents itself and you have to be ready to pounce on it. Don't get stuck in your schedule so much that you miss the chance to do something you never considered. Once, in Hawaii we were driving up to the north shore of Oahu and found out that there was a huge surf competition going on that we had no idea about. You're on vacation, sometimes the most freeing thing to do is to throw out the itinerary and do whatever you want. Make sure your travel companion can handle this kind of freedom.
10. Fun: With all this seriousness, lets not forget why you are on this trip in the first place; to have fun! Have a friend who is always critical and could find a reason to hate just about everything? Do not go on trips with them. They'll find a reason to suck the joy out. It's also important to go on a trip with someone who is as excited as you are about it. Pat is usually totally excited about most of the same things I am, but not always. I like to volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival, which Pat would hate. He's not a big fan of independent films, don't ask me why. He hates crowds, standing in line, and doesn't care at all about celebrities. So he and I don't go to that together. I've gone by myself and with one of best friends in the world. I can say she made it a million times more fun. She's an example of an awesome travel companion. Always upbeat even when we were both obviously exhausted, dependable, cool under pressure, and basically a blast!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz