I would often get asked how I managed to travel so much (prior to covid). My goal was to travel as much as I can, for as long as I can, because I knew that my time to travel would only last for a certain amount of time.
However, I often found myself changing my plans, canceling or postponing my trips because of the people I was choosing to travel with. Looking back now, I would advise that this is something you should avoid doing. If you simply feel that you cannot find the right person to go with, then just go! I wish I had given myself this advice a year ago.
But, what even prompted me to choose carefully who I travel with?
1. Your relationship with that person may change
That can either be for the better or for worse. If you think about it, it makes sense - you are constantly spending time with that person from the moment you leave to the moment you come back home. Those moments spent together to allow you to understand the person more and get to know them better! But, it also means you experience both the good and the bad, which can, in turn, have an impact on your friendship overall.
After traveling with so many people, I have definitely seen changes in my friendships and who I feel more comfortable around. For me, it either resulted in me having a stronger bond and better trust in that person or being somewhat distant if we don't click.
2. You may need to adjust your plans
This means that not everything will go according to plan or how you want it to, but that's okay. I focus on adapting to situations whenever I travel with someone new. I am open to change and I do understand that there needs to be proper communication and balance to everything.
A lot of times, I prefer to travel with only 1 person vs. a group of girls, because my personal preference is that I want less time wasted. Though it comes up cheaper if you have a big group and you split the costs, I found that a problem I have to constantly deal with is spending hours waiting for the rest of the group to get ready. Another problem I often came across is shared interests. As previously mentioned, you will be spending all your time with that person and you want to ensure that everyone is having a good time. If you find that there are some things that may make you (or them) upset, it is better to choose someone else, if you feel that it will disrupt the experience. For me, that is being considerate.
For example, I am more reserved and introverted and often, I found that my travel groups were the opposite. Whether it would be that I was the only one not speaking the language or not interested in music - those things made me an outcast from the group. In the end, the trip could have been better either by myself or with only 1 other person, instead of a group.
3. Habits differ from person to person
Personally, I never stay at AirBnBs as I never had any good experiences with it every time I gave it a try in the past. I also do not feel comfortable and prefer hotels. This discussion often comes whenever I choose who I travel with because everyone is different. Even when it comes to what hotel to book, I have a checklist I go through to ensure that 1) it is clean, 2) it is in a safe neighborhood 3) it cannot be a hostel or motel - I prefer to pay a little more for the comfort and 4) there are no bed bugs.
Communicate efficiently and discuss the differences, budgets and overall expectations prior to the trip. Another example is, are you going to be sleeping in or staying up late? Or are you going to have long days, to make the most of your time? Those are some of the main things I look for as well, especially since my trips tend to be short.
When I went to Iceland, I chose a group of friends that I had never traveled with, but still managed to work it out as we all had the same expectations. We spent at most 2 hours sleeping each day and were out at the beach until 4 in the morning. We got a place to sleep only to go there and shower and relax for very little time, but it worked out as everybody was on the same page.
Speaking from experience, I feel that the majority of my travel experiences in the past were done with a group of different people. Sometimes it was the same group of friends, others it was strangers, but overall I found that there were many things to consider in choosing who to travel with and why it is important to break it down before going. This applies mostly to a private group (not a group tour with a company!). Some other things I keep in mind, before deciding whether I want to go with friends, family or just ride solo:
You will face challenges and may find yourself in unexpected and unusual situations. Though travel is great, there are times when it can be hard too. What happens when you get sick while abroad?
What about change? Are there allergies or food restrictions that you need to keep in mind? Think of the other's approach to new experiences and whether they are open-minded. Traveling to a new country gives you a taste of a different culture, cuisine, religion and more.
Flexibility, compromise and respect are key ingredients. There are many more characteristics to add to the list, but I believe those are some of the things to keep in mind. Also think about the person's behavior, as that can have an impact on the experience.
There are so many other examples I have in mind when it comes to who you should travel with and what you should consider. Some other topics I also think about is the kind of things the other person would talk to me about. I avoid traveling with anyone who wants to spend time gossiping or who will talk only about themselves for example.
Know exactly what you are looking for in the other person and base your choices around that. If you want to connect with a new group of people, you can also try signing up for a group tour with a company and see how that goes!
You never know, it may lead to long-lasting friendships and unforgettable memories!
Let me know if I missed anything or if there is any filter that you use before choosing who to travel with.