There are different ways to travel, either solo, with a friend, or with a group. Each has its own set of pro's and cons, and I personally enjoy all three for different reasons. This time around, I'm going to give you advice on how to pick the right friends to travel with.
There are many advantages to traveling with other people. You get to share the cost of accommodation, food, and car rentals as well as taking photos of each other (leave the selfie stick at home, please!) and watching the bags while the other goes to the bathroom. But most of all, you have someone to share the good times and memories with. But not all travelers are created equal, and not all friends make good travel buddies.
Here are my top 5 things to look for in a travel buddy:
1) They need to have a similar travel style and budget. This means, you guys need to be in the same page in terms of funds and expectations. We all have friends that enjoy the high life and only stay in 5 star hotels and eat in the best restaurants when they travel. This is awesome if you can afford it, but many other people are on a tighter budget, or would prefer to spend less and travel longer or further (I fall into the latter category). Now it's fine for these two demographics to meet up in a foreign city for a night out or sightseeing, but probably best not to travel together as a duo, as you'll want to be staying in different accommodations and traveling a different style.
Exploring the Santa Monica Pier with my girlfriend and regular travel partner Serena. Luckily, we enjoy the same style of travel (plus I can use her as an excuse to jump on fun things like the ferris wheel in the background. Wheeee!)
2) Having similar travel interests. Going to Rome? Great! But what if one of you wants to spend three days exploring the Vatican Museum's extensive art collection (which can be thoroughly exhausting unless you're a major art lover) and the other is there for a pizza, pasta and espresso restaurant binge (not great if someone's on a carb-free diet)? Manage expectations by discussing what you want to see and do with a potential travel buddy before you go. My best travel partners have always been the ones with a very open mind and attitude regarding activities at a destination. What works for me is to plan to spend 40% of your time ticking off the tourist highlights of a place and leave the other 60% open for exploring and seeing where the wind takes you. The unplanned sections of my trips are usually the ones with the best memories.
Enjoying the sights of Zanzibar with Rovilson and our fellow traveler April.
The best way of exploring a town like this is just enjoy the adventure of getting lost in the cobblestone streets
3) Make sure you can get along for an extended period of time. Travel is like a mini marriage. You're with each other 24/7, sometimes in stressful situations (you never know when you might miss a connecting flight), and you want to make sure that you can handle each other's temper, messiness, snoring, farting (gotta love that foreign food) or inability to sit still on planes. If you plan to travel with someone you don't spend that much time with, just be open about your own foibles and ask each other questions before you take off. Better to get it all sorted early rather than fight and be miserable later. The trick is for both of you to be flexible and understanding when you travel. If you're a neat freak, try and be more relaxed and not force your OCD on your partner. If you're a slob, make the effort to minimize the mess and put the cap back on the toothpaste.
Had a blast traveling through Croatia with my Barkada OJ, Tisha and Tito (thanks to knowing beforehand, I brought earplugs to help deal with OJ's snoring).
4) Make sure your travel buddies are polite and courteous when they travel. I always say that a smile is best thing to pack when you travel, and being a courteous traveler has helped me get along with locals and given me incredible experiences in every country I've visited. Seeing loud, obnoxious, and disrespectful tourists leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I personally want no part of them, much less travel with one.
Beach trip with my brother and nephew. I love sharing
my passion for travel with my family. Luckily it's in our blood (Thanks mum!).
5) Try and find someone with similar sense of humor who's game for anything. Few things are more enjoyable on a trip than having a good laugh. If you like hamming it up for the camera or playing pranks on each other, then you need a good partner in crime. Being game for silliness always makes a trip more fun and the last thing you want is to be with someone who doesn't want to play along. Having a good time is why people go on holidays, so make sure you both have a similar idea of what you consider to be fun, and then get out there and do it!
Speaking of sense of humor and silliness, here are some of the travel adventures of Marc and Rovilson... (of course we keep traveling together even after our Amazing Race experience!)
Maximum silliness. Traveling through Cambodia on a super budget airline...
Practicing for the next Floods in Manila whilst in Guam.
Trying to figure out what we're doing in a church made of human bones in Prague.
This IS how you're supposed to use the public toilets in Holland... right?
Songkran in Bangkok, the worlds biggest water fight
with our crew Brad, Steph and April. So much awesomeness when
you're with a group of like-minded nutters. :)