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Guide to Finding the PERFECT travel BUDDY

We all know how the story goes.  You write a post or reach out to your friends letting them know where you’re going and how much it costs.  All hands are raised, everyone is all in…..  UNTIL…. it’s time to make payment or time to go.  The numbers go from many to few to just you going by yourself AND that’s okay!

Group travel and travel companions in general can be challenging.   I’ve discovered that it’s more than who has the funds to go but rather who you’re most compatible with AND has the funds.   Compatibility is KEY.

 LIKE MINDS:

I love travel and have extensive knowledge.  My travel buddy doesn’t have extensive travel history but be travel minded.  Someone who understands that things may go wrong and its okay.  We’ll call it organized chaos.

 No one wants to be a baby sitter:                         

We are all adults here.  Find someone who doesn’t mind doing things alone.  Sometimes you just want to break away from the crowd, enjoy the nightlife, settle in your bed with the door closed and read a book or watch netflix and not be bothered.  People who don’t mind functioning independently and can get along with self are the BEST travel buddies in my opinion.    I went to Vegas a few years back for a convention and friend flew in to join me.  We went out to the casinos at night ( Such a Vegas thing to do), I know.  Somewhere during the night we got disconnected or separated. I tried calling her phone but didn’t get an answer, went to the last known place I had seen her to no avail so I continued on enjoying my night.   My thinking was this..  we both know how to get back to the hotel so if nothing else…we’ll just meet up at the home base.  Well, she wasn’t quite of the same opinion.  I made it back to the hotel and she wasn’t there.  Maybe she hooked up with the guy she was talking to all night ( after all it is VEGAS) and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas so they say, nor was I passing judgment.  DO YOU!.    Well later on she arrived and proceeded to scold me.  She thought I was the worse person ever for leaving her.  She said “I WOULD NEVER LEAVE A FRIEND”.  Well when you try calling and circle back that’s pretty much all you can do.  It’s VEGAS!!   We still had 2 more days left and I have to say it was a miserable 2 days, full of scoffs and side eye and tension.  I knew right in that moment that this person was NOT one to take on trips.  She’s cool in general just not a compatible travel companion.  Our ideas of travel aren’t the same and while I don’t need to be monitored or “baby sat.. she clearly likes that”.    We’ve never gone on a trip again although she has asked a couple of times.  Would you go or give her another chance?

 

PAY UP:

Too often people fall out or lose friendships over money.  Find you a crew or just that one person that you know is capable of paying.  My goto girl is a coworker turned family friend.  If I see a  “DEAL” .. I know I can call her and she’ll say book it for me I’ll pay you back and I know I’ll have the money by end of day or the week at the latest without fail.  You can’t trust everyone like that and it usually doesn’t end well when you have to front people the money.   Outside of this person I make it a practice to NOT prepay for anyone. If a person is interested they will have to pay up.  There are companies out there that offer payment plans on travel such as AIRFORDABLE so if nothing else share that information and let them decide whats best for them.   I know people go in with good intentions but then life happens and paying someone back takes a back seat to daycare, groceries or those rainy days in life.

 

PERSONALITY REALITY

I can’t stress this enough.  Find someone or people who fit your personality.  It’s more than just having a shared love for travel.  Do you all click from a personality perspective?   Twice I’ve gone on vacation with women I didn’t know but yet we shared a travel passion.    We met via a travel group on FACEBOOK but were otherwise strangers.   We exchanged phone numbers  and talked several times to get a “feel” for one another to discover if we clicked, liked the same things, had the same or similar sense of adventure, travel styles etc.    Travel style is sooo important meaning.. are you a “BACKPACKER”  type, Glamper, Luxury accommodation  person or somewhere in the middle.   I personally am more on the adventure all things out of the box side of living.  I like quasi-extreme activities and trying new things.  I realize that not everyone is up for that.  I also LOVE to take photos while I’m finding most people aren’t that interested.  While its not a requirement to be 100% in sync with all of my nuances being patient and tolerant and knowing what I like in advance gives everyone the upfront information they need to proceed.

EVERYONE MATTERS:

While I’m usually the one who plans the trips I try to make the planning interactive.  Most people I work with value my opinion and style of travel and will let go unleashed I try to still get a feel for what others like and want to do even if it’s something I personally wouldn’t do.  It’s all about fairness and balance.  The goal is to make sure all parties feel like they have a hand in the selection process.  Pro Tip: assign tasks to individuals.  Some things I assigned were items like

1) Cuisine Chief:  this person makes the selections of restaurants of interest based on research and presents to the group.

2) DO You Day officer:  This person looks up options for those who just want to break away from the crowd.  Finds out what activities are available for those who care to wander.  Dayclubs, nightclubs, comedy clubs, beach parties etc.

3) Hospitality:  This person would be in charge of welcome gifts, swag bags etc.

4) Chief Foodie:  This person helps with menu planning. On a recent trip to Bali we stayed at villa and had most meals prepared on site.  This person was in charge of exploring the food options that the staff could cook and gathering info as to what individuals wanted to see if in fact the team could prepare.

 

At the end of the day.  Have fun.  Life is too short to take too serious.   Sometimes you have to discover who and what works via trial and error and even then you still may get it wrong again.. .but its okay don’t beat yourself up.  Did you find this information helpful?  We’d love to hear your take?  Do you agree with this list?  What would add or suggest additionally?  Drop your feedback below.

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