Aside from skinny-dipping and losing your underwear, travelling with your best mate might just be the most idiotic thing you’ll do on the road.
BFFs are forged through rose – or beer – tinted glasses of school, parties, or work but rarely do these friendships survive the unexpected stresses that come with travelling for extended periods.
Hopping on a plane with your bestie won’t guarantee a one-way ticket to friendship purgatory, but just because you both dig Moroccan interiors doesn’t mean you’ll travel well together to Marrakech.
With a little bit of foresight though you might find at least one Thelma to your Louise. Here’s how to find your perfect travel companion.
BRAVE THE MONEY TALKS
If you’re working two jobs just to scrape by on red wine and baked beans but your friend has a high-flying job as an account executive, chances are your budgets and travel stars are not aligned.
Many people fail to disclose a rough amount they’re hoping to spend on daily travel (including food, fun, and accommodation) because they hate talking about money.
This is without a doubt numero uno of travel companion suicide.
If you don’t have similar budgets there will be no end to your daily (probably hourly) quarrels over where to eat, where to sleep, tour costs, when to go out, and when to have a night it. Exhausting!
PICK SOMEONE WHO VALUES THEIR ALONE TIME
Many people say sharing “similar interests” is important when it comes to travelling with friends. This is true up until a point.
Sure, it’s a big deal you both like to try new foods, stay in boutique lodgings, or see unique architecture, but you don’t actually have to be soul mates on every single aspect of life.
When travelling with a friend you don’t need to spend all-day, every-day together – in fact it’s probably better that you give each other some breathing space – so if you’re a person who relishes finding their freedom and independence in new experiences, make sure you pick a friend who likes to do their own thing too.
AVOID NEUROTIC PERSONALITIES
Whiners don’t stop whining just because they’re on holidays. In fact, possible delays, getting lost, and problems with accommodation provide the whiner with even more ammunition to grumble about.
So take a long, hard look at that co-worker mate who you think is kind of funny with their negative self-deprecating comments about everything terrible in their life.
Visualise being stuck with that for 16 consecutive days, and then ask yourself whether you can handle an irritation level of epic proportions?
Also, while we’re on the subject of infuriating people, try not to spend your holidays with neat freaks or slobs.
It’s a physical impossibility to be super neat while travelling and moving around, and those who try will probably end up having a mental breakdown.
You don’t want to be the one to pick up the pieces. In a similar vein, there’s a finite amount of mess one can deal with caused by another, and travelling with a slob may result in you actually having the mental breakdown.
Either way it’s messy.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Much like taking a car for a test drive, the best way to see whether you and your friend are fit for travel is to go on a little trial weekender.
If you agree on most things (where to eat, where to stay, how to spend each day) and you can stand each other’s company (but also the time apart), then you may just be perfect travel companions.
Make sure you feel totally open and comfortable around this person, and you’re not afraid to speak your mind.
Do you enjoy their company while undertaking a range of different activities or do you want to strangle them? This is a fairly good indicator.
PICK SOMEONE GOOD IN A CRISIS
This is just basic travel safety, and one that everyone should take heed of. If you’ve been friends with a person for a while you’ll have a fair idea of how they respond to stresses in their daily life.
Do they excel under pressure or run away, burying their head in the sand? You want to travel with someone who will be an asset when and if you get yourselves into a pickle.
You want to have the trust and confidence that if you fall ill, your mate has the resilience and patience to do what is necessary to take care of you and get some immediate treatment.