In my opinion, travelling is only as good as the people you are travelling with. It doesn’t matter where you go, it’s the people you are with and the experiences you have with them that you remember most. I am incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to travel with so many amazing people over the years and it got me thinking…
What makes the perfect travel buddy?
1. Easy Going
Easy going people are ones that don’t sweat the small stuff. They’re pretty happy to go with the flow and have a wide perspective over situations.
When travelling, plans change all the time, maybe the weather sucks, maybe everything is closed on a Tuesday, maybe the bus is delayed and you have to wait for a couple of hours… you know the deal.
Travelling with someone who can see the positives in bad or irritating situations is such a breath of fresh air.
2. Innovative Thinker
On a similar note, it is great to travel with someone who has initiative.
Chances are, you’re in a foreign country, you don’t understand the signs and maybe you are having trouble finding your accomodation or a particular coffee shop. Having a travel buddy that isn’t afraid to ask a (reliable looking) local for help is great.
Travel buddies with initiative are also those that are pretty organised. Not in a Stressy Sally kind of way, but someone that will make sure you get to the flight on time, check the busses go late at night and things like that so that you don’t end up in a sticky situation.
I have been really lucky to travel with people like this. A friend and I took a night train from Zurich to Vienna. We thought that the trains final destination was Vienna and that we were scheduled to get there at 7:20am…
My friend, very cleverly, put an alarm on a bit before we were supposed to arrive in Vienna. Neither of us had gotten much sleep during the night and I had only just fallen to sleep when my friend woke me up and said, “We’re here!!”. It was 6:20am… The train was an hour ahead of schedule and it’s final destination was actually Prague. Had my friend not been awake early, we would have slept straight through Vienna and would have woken up in Prague…
3. Takes the occasional candid photo of you
What is a holiday without a few photos to look back on? Let’s face it, even if you don’t like photos, it is pretty nice if your travel buddy takes the occasional photo of you. Especially while you’re looking out over an amazing view or walking down an iconic street.
4. Similar Interests
This one is pretty important. You and your travel buddy are going to spend a lot of time together so it’s pretty crucial that you have things to talk about together.
It’s also important that you are both on the same page about your travel. Are you travelling to go shopping and sightseeing in a major city or do you want to get out and see the natural sights? Are you planning on having massive nights out or are you going to go to bed at a reasonable time so that you can get up early and utilise the day? Are you going to go in any of the museums? How much money do you want to spend on eating out and tourist attractions?
If you and your travel buddy are on the same page about these things, you are guaranteed to have a much better time together. It also avoids any awkward conversations or negotiations with each other while on your trip.
5. Sense of Humour
This is absolutely key. Something on your trip will probably go wrong and having someone who can find a way to laugh about the situation is the kind of person you’ll want to have with you.
I have the perfect example.
Two friends and I were driving 2700kms from Portugal to Northern Germany with our boat on a trailer behind us. We had just finished our world championship in Portugal and were taking the boat back to our storage facility in Northern Germany. We would then fly back to Australia. One of the friends had suffered a really bad concussion during the event so she had cancelled her plans to travel alone and came with us instead so that we could look out for her.
Everything was going great and then around seven in the evening, we popped one of the tyres on our trailer. We were super lucky to have been right next to a fuel station on the highway when it happened so we pulled in and put the spare tyre on without too much hassle.
We decided that we would try to keep driving a bit further before finding a place to spend the night. We were somewhere in northern Spain. Forty five minutes after we had replaced the tyre, the spare tyre exploded. Now we were stuck. We were able to pull over onto the side of the highway but we were on a blind corner on a busy highway up in the hilly parts of Spain. And now it was dark and raining.
We called the hire car company and asked them if they could help us get some roadside assistance. Unfortunately they weren’t able to help us. Due to our relatively dangerous position on the highway, someone driving past must have called the local authorities and a man came to direct traffic. I walked down to talk to him and with the help of google translate, he told me that a tow truck had been called.
So we waited… and waited. It was around 11pm before the tow truck arrived and rain was pouring down. Once the tow truck had finally put our trailer on the back of the truck, they told us to follow them. We ended up at a petrol station where they got coffee and then gave us their address where we could pick up the trailer in the morning.
Now it was well past midnight, we had no idea exactly where we were in Spain and we had no where to sleep for the night. After calling a few hotels in the area and getting no response, we decided that we would sleep in our car for the last few hours of the night before we drove to pick up our trailer.
To laugh or to cry…
Waiting in our car on the side of the highway for the tow truck, we had a choice, we could either laugh about it or cry. We chose to laugh. And luckily we did because we were in for a pretty long night that would have felt much longer if we hadn’t tried to make the most out of it.
6. Open to new experiences
Travelling with someone that is open to trying new experiences is really fun. You never really know when you travel somewhere, what opportunities will be available to you. Trying new food, driving snow mobiles, hiking up mountains… the list goes on. Having someone that is willing to give these things a go with you will make for some really awesome memories.