When it comes to travel, solo travel is not for us all. It can be stressful, lonely and it means doing all of the planning and decision making on your own. For this reason, many of us look for a friend or even online for a travel mate, to enjoy our experiences.
Travel can be stressful at times, and being in close proximity to a travel mate, for many hours a day, generally outside of your comfort zone of being at home, can bring out the best, but often the worst.
It is with this in mind, we write of 4 personality traits to avoid in a travel mate. Trust us, no travel mate is better than a bad one and if you’re feeling a bit iffy about it before you leave, well, you might just be on to something.
Personality trait 1: The neg
You’ve just arrived at your luxury hotel, which is ahh mazing. It’s everything you’ve hoped for in all of your travel planning, yet your travel mate manages to find fault. Welcome to the world of the ‘neg’.
If you asked them if they’re having a good time, they’d reply ‘yes, of course’ and they’d probably mean it, yet they will be very quick to nitpick any small annoyance that comes their way. Whether it’s too hot, check in is taking too long, the pool is too crowded or the champagne isn’t quite right, after a while the neg will get you down.
The difficulty here is that generally their complaints will be about the minute. If you call them out on in, chances are they won’t realise that they’re doing it and will find you critical.
If you can zone out to another place around the neg you’ll be fine, if not, you may find yourself rolling your eyes, avoiding them or worse, seeing your holiday through their negative eyes.
Think you can handle it? You’re a saint in our eyes.
READ | Why not travel solo instead? Read our guide to group tours in your 30s.
Personality trait 2: The perpetually late
Do we really need to warn you about this one? This bad personality trait will probably already be quite obvious to you before your departure. I mean, we all have that friend who is always a little (or perhaps a lot) late. Whilst this can be a bit annoying when catching up at home, it can become very annoying whilst away.
Travel comes in all shapes and forms, from a week at a resort, backpacking around Europe or even joining in on a tour. Whilst holidaying is a time to relax and get a break from work and our every day lives, unfortunately we can’t always throw away our watches.
Even at a relaxing resort style break, breakfast won’t be served all day and you may find yourself dining alone of a morning, or not dining at all. You’ll be ‘those people’ that are running late to join the tour bus and you may find yourself in the roll of ‘the nag’ to make sure that your travel mate isn’t the reason you also miss out.
Sound like a recipe for disaster? Well, yes. We suggest having a firm chat to your travel mate before any plans are made. They may be a little bit miffed, but it is pretty hard to argue against being late. Hopefully they’ll be on their best behaviour during your trip. If not, you might find you’re travelling solo after all!
Personality trait 3: The fiscally irresponsible
They’re the life of the party. Unfortunately this can also mean they’re often short on cash. You may also have an inkling about this before you depart, and you may have covered the bill on more than on occasion. Thing is, are you prepared to do this whilst on holiday?
The fiscally irresponsible travel mate will either splurge and then want to skimp, rely heavily on credit, or just bow out of many activities, leaving you to either not participate yourself or leave you doing it solo.
If you’re concerned that your travel mate may fall into this category, you can be prepared! Pre book activities before you depart and be clear about your budgets for the trip. You may be happy doing some activities solo, but chances are you don’t want to have to fund your pal, or be surprised with a last minute cancellation.
Personality trait 4: The indecisive
When travelling with a friend or in a group, there will always be a bit of give and take to ensure that you each get what you want out of a holiday. But, what if your travel mate really has very little opinion?
‘I don’t mind’ ‘We can do that if you like’ will be phrases you will constantly hear in addition to a distinct lack of suggestions on their behalf. For some this may sound great, but its inevitable that your travel mate will not enjoy every activity you pick and it may begin to feel like you’re dragging someone along behind you.
Planning a holiday is also a type of work. There’s decisions to be made, things to book and you’ll need to work out how to get around. The indecisive will leave it all up to you because ‘you’re so much better at it than I am’. Whilst that might be true, you’ll probably find yourself stressed out and exhausted by the end of the trip. Being in charge of things, whether you want to be or not, is tiring!
It’s important to set some boundaries with the indecisive. Don’t fall into the trap of making all of the decisions. You may need to provide some options and then make your travel mate pick one and then put them in charge of organising it. Explain to them that you want them to do some things that are their choice on the holiday and you may just get them to take on a little of the responsibility.
Considerations to make when picking a travel mate
Picking a travel mate does take time and consideration. You may have discovered traits in your friends that weren’t initially obvious back home, but once you’re away that’s it.
Our advice is to ensure you know your travel mate, and if not try and keep travel plans flexible, that way if it’s really not working out you can make a quick getaway and appreciate the freedoms solo travel provides!