8 qualities you should look for in a travel mate
I wanted to dive into writing about the first day of the trip but I was inspired to write about this first. These thoughts have been lingering in my mind since the last few days of the trip. You see, except for the bestie, my other travel mates are not from the same country as I am. We did a lot of planning and coordination so that we could meet and travel together again. This was also not my first time travelling with them. I traveled with the same bunch of people two years ago to Europe and I think none of us thought we would return back to Europe this soon.
I treat all my holiday and travel plans seriously because I lead a very stressful working life and I feel that I need to recharge by going out and do what I love to do. I think I am a pretty easy travel partner too, I am not too fussy and I am flexible with change of plans. However, after several trips abroad, and through the experiences of my friends, I have come to the realization that I should definitely take it more seriously on who I choose to travel with. When you are on the road and away from your families, the only people you can count on are your travel mates. There must be some level of mutual trust.
Therefore, these are some of the qualities, I feel, that you should look for in a travel mate.
1. They are are organised.
Imagine travelling with someone extremely messy. I am pretty OCD myself, I had to fight the urge to clean the bedroom floor of our apartment because I felt it was too dusty. Thankfully none of my travel mates so far have been messy. Most of them are pretty neat and they kept everything organised. Being organised is also important especially when you are the one doing all the planning.
2. They know what is going on.
I think I wrote here a long time ago that you can read my travel stories but don’t ever ask me for directions. Yup, I can get lost even in my own country so never ever ask me for directions. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I have never traveled solo. I depend a lot on my travel mates who are great at reading maps and figuring out the confusing train / subway lines in different cities. I think I am slightly better now, I am more aware, perhaps in future, I may consider travelling solo to somewhere near. Lol.
3. They are flexible.
Nothing irks me more than rigidity. The best thing about travelling with friends is that we may have a planned schedule for the trip but depending on circumstances like weather etc, we can choose to change plans. On the last day of my last trip, the bestie and me initially planned to stop at Thun but we decided to alight a stop further at Spiez instead. This was a good decision because we ended up walking through a beautiful park and taking a ferry with lovely views of the swiss alps!
We were excited to see all the views because our last ferry ride to Mount Rigi was foggy and it was too cold to even stay outside.
4. They are strong.
Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. Due to the condition of my knee, I always worry if I slow down my travel mates especially when we need to hike up a slope or a mountain. I can do it, I may take a longer time doing it. As the main mode of transport from city to city in Europe is via train, my other worry was on how I can carry my luggage up the train especially when there are steps.
Unexpectedly for this trip, I was blessed with help from kind strangers who helped me carry the luggage up the train but most of the time AK would offer to help me with it. It is really so nice of him because his own luggage is way heavier than mine lol. He did not have to do it but he did it out of the goodness of his heart. Thank you AK!
5. They are thoughtful.
This one is hard to come by because most people have a hard enough time understanding their own emotions, let alone someone else’s. This is why I only chose close friends to travel with. I have heard horror stories from friends who stop being friends with others right after they travel together because that is when they see each other in a different light.
I never want that to happen to me.
Of course for others to care about your well being, you have to care about them too. It is selfish to think about only oneself when you are travelling. In case of any danger or trouble, you may need your travel mate’s help first so you would not want to offend them in any way.
6. They have a sense of humour.
How on earth does anyone travel or even work with someone with no sense of humour?! Tell me how because I am one who do not like to take things too seriously. I am not saying that you have to transform into clown and make others’ laugh during your trip. I am saying that since it is a trip, a holiday, a vacation, one should lighten up and take things easy.
I mean, how boring will your photos be if all you do is smile at the camera behind a gorgeous background. After a while, I am pretty sure you will be bored looking at your own photos too. Once in a while, do something fun, something funny and laugh about it. Do not worry too much about what others will think because, heck, nobody knows who you are in a foreign land. As long as you do not hurt anyone, or hurt the reputation of your country, do it. Do that jump shot, do that silly face and do something dorky.
What will you lose?
7. They have a similar budget as you.
Prior to the trip, you should always ask what is the expected amount to be spent, be it on accommodations, food and transport. You would not want to be left out when your travel mates choose to dine in a posh restaurant. You should always be honest with your travel mates if you disagree on the choices made. If your travel mates are considerate, they will either change the venue of the eating place or they will give you a treat.
8. They have something in common with you.
This may not be easy too but if you have shared enough conversations with your travel mates, surely there must be something you have in common with them. For instance, the bestie and me love this one band to pieces. Other than that, we almost have nothing in common, including in taste of food, clothes and even men. Lol. And this is the same best friend who have been with me for more than 10 years! It is ok to like different things as long as you do not let it be the focus of your friendship.
If nothing works, I am sure you will find a common feeling about rude tourists
from PRC. We encounter them at almost everywhere we go. You may need your travel mate’s help to restrain you when you feel like kicking or hitting them each time they show an undesirable behaviour in public.
So there you have it! 8 points to look out for in an ideal travel mate. Some of you may find it, but even if you don’t, make do with it. Just, don’t end up killing each other. Nothing is perfect. For me, I think I have been pretty blessed because my travel mates have been pretty sane………..most of the time. Lol.
This 17 days long trip would not have been so enjoyable without my wonderful travel mates. They really made me laugh so much. They even agreed to throw out their image out of the window to do some silly poses with me.
That really took guts! Next time, let’s do jump shot together!
I am also glad that non of them were too petty or calculative with money. We could have paid equal amount of money for each meal but some of them thought that the bestie and me should pay less since we do not order any meat. How nice.
I am also glad that we made so many happy memories, mostly reflected in the photos we took. The places we visited were truly beautiful beyond our expectations and we thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The pleasant memories will not only be preserved through the photos and videos we took, most of all, it will continue to live in our hearts.
Thank you to Nurul, Bon, Angkarn and May! Till the next trip!
Time to go back to work and reality lol.