A good travel partner…

What makes for a good travel partner is highly personal, so read with a grain of salt (sand, perhaps) :)…  A great travel partner has the following characteristics..

  • A set of common interests — taking photos, seeing wild animals, going to every obnoxious and out of the way tourist trap (think biggest ball of twine, the most M & Ms in one jar etc..) or whatever.  The point is that you are both interested in pursuing something and thus have a reason to go some places and not others.
  • A sense of humor — travel is amazing and it can be a hassle.  When some bozo screws up traffic in some strange city and you miss your exit, if your travel partner doesn’t have a moose, it’s good.  When a kid pukes on your travel partner at the beginning of a long flight and it doesn’t ruin the flight for them, that person is a keeper.
  • A keen sense of the absurd — Not long ago Andy and I were at a coffee shop.  A woman in front of us had to many things in her hands and dropped something.  Andy picked it up and commented that she needed a third hand — the woman, in a very loud voice (think someone who has already had plenty of coffee) said “Ya, I know, right!!!!” at the top of her lungs.  We’ve been saying it that way ever since.
  • Flexibility — travel doesn’t always go as planned.  Sometimes amazing stuff pops up and you have to go with it — other times what you thought was going to be amazing just isn’t.  The point of travel is to get out there and see what’s going on, not to go from amazing thing to amazing thing.
  • Similar timing on the necessities of life — if your travel partner is a late sleeper and you want to hit the road before the butt-crack of dawn, you might want to reconsider them as a partner.  Likewise, if you’re someone who likes to drive straight thru and they need to stop and pee a lot, think again — one of you is going to be uncomfortable.
  • Similar tastes in food — if you’re going to explore a place, eating the best local food is a fantastic way to do it.  If you can share meals, then both of you get to taste more variety and it’s a lot of fun.  This only works if you have compatible tastes in food… otherwise, someone is going hungry at any one point.
  • Being a good partner — overall means not being too worried that you’re doing all the work.  If there’s something to be done, carried, accomplished or whatever, just do it.  Being willing to divide and conquer tasks is essential, but doing so in a way that works for both parties is key.  Andy tends to carry more heavy stuff, I tend to go out for snacks, do most of the packing and the stuff that involves reading… This is key in a travel partner, because you spend a lot of your time together doing little things — and if it’s all a negotiation (you carry the duffel because I carried it last time), time and energy get wasted that could otherwise be spent doing productive things like watching The Hangover on HBO in some random hotel room..

One Response

  1. D and I took a trip together while dating–it was during our travels that I knew we could marry—we are excellent travel companions. Your list really nails it.

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