Traveling reveals our true nature. It puts us under severe stress and pure bliss, all within a couple of hours. We all handle that kind of emotional flux differently, which is why taking a trip with someone for the first time can truly make or break the friendship. Someone you once considered your best friend could easily turn into your biggest pet peeve in life.
If you don’t want to risk a life-long friendship for a week of traveling together, here’s my suggestion. Don’t. It’s not easy to know which friends would make good companions if you’ve never gone anywhere with them before. However, there are a few ways to determine who would make a bad travel partner.
It all comes down to personality traits. If a friend falls into any of the following categories, you might want to avoid exploring the world with them.
1)The High Maintenance Friend
These friends are easy to spot. They’re the ones who ask for an unnecessary amount of towels at a hotel “just in case,” or a ridiculous request for their meal at a restaurant. They’re the ones who can’t sleep unless the lighting is just right and can’t shower without a particular brand of soap.
These are not the kind of people you want to be stuck with halfway across the world. To be honest, they’re probably not the kind of people you want to be friends with at all, but that’s your own decision.
2. The Cheap Friend
Traveling is expensive. But, it’s worse when your travel buddy refuses to pay their share for the rental car that drove you both around all week. The cheap friend with say it was your idea. Because walking from Los Angeles to San Diego is a doable venture… not.
You want the person you’re traveling with to be in a similar financial state. This doesn’t mean they have to be rich, especially if you’re not. (And let’s face it, most of us aren’t.) In fact, this could cause a whole new problem. If your friend is blowing money on unnecessary goods the whole trip, you’ll feel obligated to do the same. You want to return home feeling experienced, not totally broke.
So make sure your travel buddy is both stable and responsible with their money. They should have enough without mooching off of you, but also have the desire to spend their money on things that will enhance the experience.
3. The Introverted Friend
You can’t change an introvert. You can’t force a homebody to come see the world with you without wishing they were back home. As much as they might apologize, it won’t amend the fact that your trip isn’t the spontaneous experience you hoped it would be. You’ll find yourself constantly saying, “It’s OK.” It’s OK they don’t want to explore the city’s nightlife. It’s OK that they don’t want to dance. It’s OK that they’re too afraid to zip line. And it’s true! It is OK. You can’t force a person to do anything they don’t feel comfortable with.
But at the end of the day, it’s not OK that you’re stuck traveling with someone who would rather be watching Netflix.
4. The Sloppy Drunk Friend
Vacation is the time and place to let loose, but that doesn’t mean being sloppy is suddenly attractive, or appropriate. You don’t want to be out with someone who gets drunk at 9 o’clock and can’t even walk back to the hotel.
This might be fine back home. We all have our nights and it’s important to look out for your friends. But, the last thing you want to worry about abroad is your partner’s embarrassing behavior.
5. The Taken Friend
Just because someone’s in a serious relationship doesn’t mean they won’t be fun to travel with, but let’s be real, most of them aren’t. If someone is always with his or her significant other, stealing them away for a week probably won’t lessen the obsession. Instead, you’ll end up listening to their sappy, hour-long, “I miss you so much” conversations while you’re trying to fall asleep.
They might fail to live fully in the moment. They may not see the point in going out with the group of people you met on the beach. They might not even see the point in meeting them at all. You don’t want to travel with someone who’s constantly texting or sending pictures to someone else back home. Trust me, you’ll end up feeling one of two things: either ignored or annoyed, and neither one is good.
It’s best to travel with someone who is completely available. If you do, you’ll have the greatest chance of fulfilling a completely spontaneous, and exciting trip. The best part about going on vacation is that anything can happen. You just have to find the kind of friend who agrees. And when you do, get out there!