I once read that there are two ways to test a relationship the first is to teach your partner how to drive and the second is to travel together. Although I may not be well traveled as much as my bank account would allow, I have enough experience to agree with that statement. Going on a trip especially in a different country where everything is a new experience will either be exhilarating or stressful depending on the person you’ve chosen to go with.
There’s something about traveling that reveals a person’s “real” personality beyond the time you’ve spent meeting for movies or dinners together. You’ll learn about each other’s quirks and weird sleeping habits. You will find out that waiting is not really your partner’s favorite thing to do. While you may like to follow your itinerary to the letter, your friend prefers to be led by the “moment” even that moment means to head down a barely lit flight of stairs for a late night karaoke session at a seedy looking establishment.
Your whole traveling experience can either be an enjoyable one where your relationship has taken a deeper level of meaning or it can end up with both of you at each other’s throats. Here are five things one must consider when choosing a travel buddy.
This doesn’t need to be mentioned right? This is the first item on the list that needs to be settled or else there is no point going through the rest. But there are times when you have planned a trip with someone, fine-tuning the details in eager anticipation only to have that friend or family member back out because of scheduling conflicts? Make sure that both you and your travel buddy are able travel on the same dates before going to the next step.
SAME TRAVEL PRIORITIES
Your purpose for traveling will slowly come up as you are creating an itinerary. It’s better to be clear about your travel priorities. Unless both of you are so alike in your interests and needs then you can proceed to my next point. However, it’s more likely that your interests and that of your friend will diverge along the way. Will it be discovering different shopping paradises every day? Or will it be a sightseeing heavy itinerary? Maybe it will be a foodie haunt? Because trust me your camera won’t be of much use if your friend is intent on raising the GDP of the country you’re traveling to. Unless you find images of clothes racks and makeup shelves to be a great way to document your travels.
It’s better to establish what you both want to get out of the trip beforehand so that neither party will feel slighted during the trip. Both of you will know what to expect and not feel resentful if the person who wants to see more temples gets dragged to a famous shopping street.
YOU’VE SEEN EACH OTHER’S DARK SIDE AND ARE OK WITH IT
This part will be full of questions you need to answer. What are your friend’s pet peeves? How does she deal with disappointments? What makes her stressed? Ask yourself if she can handle your breakdown when you’ve missed your flight and are stranded in traffic? Can you handle her anger and frustration at flight delays? Are you willing to put up with his snoring for three weeks? If something goes wrong will you be able to rally each other and work together? Although the perfect travel partner is the one who’s unfazed and agreeable to anything that person only exists in your dreams. It’s important that you are emotionally compatible with each other and can offer support if needed.
ABILITY TO COMPROMISE
If aligning your interests together might seem tough then you have to learn to compromise. Itinerary planning is like a preview of what your traveling will be like. If you’re already bickering over a minor detail like where to eat, and neither of you is willing to back down then you have to think about really going on a trip together.
Be sure you have settled the differences in your opinion before heading out on that flight because those feelings of getting the shorter end of the stick or not being heard enough will make their way into your conversations and decisions while you’re on the road. If both of you are eager to “win” an argument over a certain issue, then you are more likely to be argumentative as well on your trip.
Unless you rather go solo than spending time with someone you’re beginning to have less than affectionate feelings for, then you can arrange for a solo exploration day.
AGREEABLE TO A SOLO DAY
Spending a number of days in each other’s company especially in such close quarters can take a toll on one’s nerves. For the sake of your relationship and future together try to include time apart in your itinerary. Take a break from each other’s company for maybe half a day or a day. This will allow you to visit that art gallery you wanted to go to and maybe, for her give her extra shopping time like she wanted.
This all boils down to compatibility. Your personalities may not be similar but at the very least should complement each other. One should always be the voice of reason when faced with the temptation of affordable clothing and an excellent exchange rate in the stalls of Bangkok. 🙂