How to Travel Long-Term with a Companion (Without Killing Each Other)
Because travel is so much better when everyone survives the journey.
When you think about long-term travel, you might like to have a travel partner for the whole trip or just part of the trip. It can get lonely when you’re travelling for a long time, and having a special friend or loved one with you can make it much easier.
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But being on the road also means putting that relationship to the test. Friend or romantic partner, sibling or travel companion — at some point, you’ll want to scream at each other or worse. So before you find yourself nose-to-nose with someone you now hate, trapped in a small tent on a rainy night when you can’t walk away, ask yourself these questions …
Do We Have Compatible Interests?
It’s not entirely necessary to have the same interests, but they should be easily combined or shared.
For example, if you like art and culture and she likes to go on hikes, taking a history walk could keep both of you happy and feeling like the day was well-spent. But if he is a party animal who loves night clubs and staying out late, and you like to camp out and be reading in your tent by 8 p.m, things could be difficult to mix.
Of course, you could always do separate activities during the day, but then it would be like travelling alone.
Can They Respect Different Opinions, New Beliefs + Foreign Cultures?
Some people are judgmental about other countries. Some believe in the superiority of their own kind. Some people are not comfortable when confronted with certain cultural differences. If your travel companion is not respectful of those differences, it’ll make your travel much less enjoyable and could land you in a few tight spots.
Also, they often won’t respect your feelings if you voice a different opinion from theirs, and that alone is a recipe for disaster.
Would I Be Able to Depend on Them in Trouble?
Picture this: you’re stuck on a highway one night, with rain pouring down, staring at a flat tire and nobody around for miles.
Or this: your bags are stolen and you’ve lost your passports and money.
Now picture your companion: are they flapping around helplessly, crying or being a liability in general? Or are they standing right beside you, being resourceful and staying calm? You know the answer to this one.
What Is Their Confrontation Style?
There’s bound to be a fight when you travel. If not with each other, then with a rogue taxi driver, street hawker, hotel owner, someone at the airport — the list goes on. You can’t dictate how your companion reacts, and sometimes (especially if you’re the calmer, quieter one), it helps to have someone aggressive on your team. If you know what to expect from a person under pressure, you’re both better equipped to handle a situation.
Would We Be Able to Split Tasks Up + Help Each Other Out?
You might prefer washing dishes to setting up a tent, while they might like to plan a day instead of manage the money. Everyone on a trip has to be willing to pitch in and pull their weight.
Don’t travel with someone who can’t make adjustments and isn’t willing to lend a hand. Just don’t. You’ll feel petty asking someone to wash their damn tea cup every day, but it’ll be the one thing that really bugs you on a trip.
What Kind of Travel Would They Be Comfortable With?
You might have someone who meets all the criteria of the “perfect companion”. But if their idea of travel is different from the trip you’re planning, they’ll be uncomfortable and stressed out most of the time. Making sure everyone knows what to expect before the trip begins means less surprises along the way, for them and for you.
Are YOU Willing to Make Adjustments?
Having the ideal travel companion is as important as being one yourself.
Having the ideal travel companion is as important as being one yourself. Consider your own style of travel before you choose to travel with someone.
If you prefer your own company and find it hard to be patient around people, you might want to try solo travel. But make sure to hold yourself to the same standards to which you hold your companion.
The Bottom Line
The most important thing to remember is that everyone has a unique style and their own personal strengths. Everyone also has a limit to which they can smile, be social and patient. If you time it right, all you need to keep the peace is a small break or time-out. Give each other some space and take off to do your own thing.
At the end of the day, you want to feel happy to see each other and lucky that you’re travelling with someone who is special to you.