When it comes to travel buddies there are the good, the bad, and the ugly. As someone with their fair share of all three categories, I am especially thankful for the amazing ones and say arrivederci to the others. Although a difficult travel buddy can make for interesting travel tales, here are a few of the types of bad travel partners I have encountered:
1. The Inexperienced Traveller – This person cannot manage to guide themselves through the airport and relies on you for practically everything. They often will get you into more trouble than it is worth, being a brainless tourist, stepping out into traffic or being an easy target for pickpockets. The whole trip becomes about trying to keep them safe and less about the travel.
2. The Itinerary Stickler – This person calls you weeks before the trip to figure out the most insignificant details. They calculate down to the seconds where you need to be at every moment. Having every minute planned before going leaves little room for exploration and adventure. Their discomfort with deviating from the plan leaves the natural easygoing traveller quite tense.
3. The Tedious Talker – There is a fine line with polite, interesting conversation and feeling the need to constantly fill every silence with words, which this person does not quite understand. When traveling with the tedious talker, the mental exhaustion experienced leaves little time for reflective traveling. You will find yourself making excuses to escape or feign sleep on public transportation.
4. The Non-Foodie – A large part of travel is about experiencing food for many. And as Virginia Woolf so famously said “one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, [and I will add travel well], if one has not dined well”. When someone is extremely picky about what enters their body it brings down the whole trip, someone who will only eat burgers or will not try ethnic food becomes bland very fast. Catering to dietary restriction is fine when the person is flexible but when they impose their demands it can be quite trying and diminish from the experience.
5. The Superiority Snob – I have been astonished at what comes out of people’s mouths, which create awkward and insulting situations. Instances of (I hope) unwittingly superiority complexes have damaged not only a trip but my opinion of that person. Being culturally sensitive to everyone you encounter makes for an opportunity to learn.
These five types of travelers can infringe on a trip but when it comes to travel it is all about making the most of your time and energy; choose wisely who you travel with. Although I love solo travel and meeting new people along the way, having someone in your travels to share the experiences has many advantages. Everyone has a story to tell and experiences to share, look for the best in people and please do not be the ‘Debbie Downer’ travel buddy on your adventures.