What Makes You A Good Travel Companion?
Traveling with other people is like a crucible; without careful monitoring of pressure and temperature, things can very quickly get hot enough to melt someone at some point. Learning how to be a good travel companion can keep your trip (and your friendship) from going up in flames.
I have always found that it is the little stuff that really grates on folks on the road — the proverbial death by a thousand cuts. Thus, someone who spills a bottle of wine all over your bed, or who loses both your passports on the first day of the trip, isn’t necessarily that much worse than someone who uses up all your toothpaste, “borrows” your last few notes of the local currency or forgets his wallet all the time. In fact, the more dramatic screw-ups at least provide some stories to tell; the others are just annoying, but often insufferably so.
Respect Each Other’s Belongings
They may bring some items you are not interested in or perhaps just because it’s not yours you do not pay much attention to it. Traveling is supposed to be fun, you do not want to spend time arguing with your friends about how you lost their makeup bag or broke their camera. Take the extra two minutes to be considerate for your companions, after all if they are traveling with you I would assume you have some level of a relationship built up. Don’t spoil it over something silly.
Discuss Your Interests
Going along with the communication topic, you and your companion(s) should discuss ahead of your trip what is strictly off the table and what you would love to do. Skydiving for instance, for some it’s an absolute NO, but for others, they wouldn’t exactly go do it on their own but they are not exactly opposed to going either. Have some time to figure out what is going to be accomplished on the trip. You may be spontaneous but you still need to consider your companions.
Do Your Own Thing
Especially on longer trips like my cross country road trip for example, it can be nice to do some things on your own. I spent the last half of it driving back to the east coast solo. A completely different experience! Maybe you want to hike a trail that your companions are anxious about. Maybe they want to visit the mall while you would rather adventure. Set a meeting point/time and explore on your own. Just because you traveled together does not mean you must be attached at the hip every second of the trip. It can be nice to have some alone time to walk the beach or just adventure through town on your own.
Have Each Other’s Back
Things get misplaced, expensive things get crushed, wallets and cell phones get put down and forgotten. Look out for each other, it would be terrible if you realise on the last day your passport is missing or you forgot your ID at a bar. Also on the road you are bound to run into some crazies, if you are strong willed and you know your companion is soft spoken and not big on confrontation, look out for them! Nobody is saying get into a brawl but just have their back, keep them safe and avoid bad situations.
Always Give Priority To Budget
It does not matter how much money you plan on starting off with, know ahead of time how much you plan on spending before ever leaving the house! Yeah, that shot glass may be funny, yeah your favourite band may be playing in town but is it worth not eating the last two days of your trip? Is it worth not having the gas money to get home? DO NOT rely on your credit cards with an “oh I’ll just pay it off when we get back” mentality. Things can go wrong, unforeseen expenses can pop up and suddenly that concert was not such a smart investment. No matter the size of the budget, have one in place! Also always overestimate your expenses. It is much better to have extra cash at the end rather than searching for pennies on the last day.
Have Fun With Each Other
Trust me after a 5-week road trip doing a circle around the US I know better than most how much of a headache some days will be. But remember, you are still traveling! You are not sitting on the couch at home watching TV or sitting in an office staring at a screen, you are on the road with your friends! Have a good time and enjoy yourself! Don’t let one little bad experience here and there ruin your trip. Explore, adventure, and make memories!