Things that Make or Break Travel Partners
Recently I booked a last-minute flight to join girlfriends on a 10-day RV road trip to see some of America’s natural wonders. An epic trip. However, I ended up canceling that trip the day just before and paying $200 cancellation fee.
It ultimately boils down to finding the right travel relationships.
There were many reasons which made my premature leap seem valid . The girls were great (one was my ex-roommate in NYC); I know I would’ve had fun hanging out with them. They were also cool to deny payment for the RV rental seeing as I was joining them last-minute. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime trip, because America is not an easy or cheap country to travel alone, outside urban areas.
However, what I didn’t realize were two things:
1) My girlfriends like comfort and luxury and
2) I didn’t know much about RV travel costs, but I quickly discovered it’s not cheap. It’s not like renting a car. With gas prices in the U.S. on the rise, it was figured to cost around $200/tank. We have a road trip, in a sweltering summer, dry arid locations, and the possibility of getting lost ranked high. I couldn’t be certain that my companions would understand my concern for budget and I didn’t want to burden them with it either.
The Common Problem with Finding Travel Partners
As travelers, many of us are desperate to travel and we want to find someone to do it with. However, many of us are already fishing from an already small community of friends and relatives… and with that, desperation builds. When we find that one person who will travel with us, we’re so relieved and excited that we overlook the obvious things that can make or break a relationship in the process.
In many ways, sharing and splitting costs can feel ideal for travelers, especially solo ones. . Splitting costs for hotel rooms, car rentals and taxi rides can gain you freedom and a bit of luxury. The trick is finding someone with a matching budget.
If you have a large budget and want convenience and luxury, a person with a small budget might hold you back from experiencing the side of travel you want. For instance, if you’re into spas, nightclubs, hip restaurants, hotels and shopping.. a person on a budget smaller will cut that itinerary in half if not more. And you might freak them out in the process.
Likewise, if you’re a person on a backpacker’s budget, a friend taking their annual vacation from their corporate job, might run your budget higher than you’d hoped. Even if your friend says they’ understand you’ve got a budget, you’ll still feel pressured to spend more. Especially, if your partner quantifies certain expenses as “sooo cheap”.
Aside from what the some travelers think, “cheap” is not quantified by a universal number.
Personally, I have strategic moments where I’ll splurge on an experience and many others where I’ll tighten my belt in a way which could be severe to some.
We always think that by traveling with others, we’ll get to see more. But that’s not always the case. Often, you’ll be compromising what you want to do to keep harmony. You’ve always dreamt of visiting the Louvre in Paris, but your partner hates art and has a short attention span. This is only one example of partner challenges, but there’s more.
There are three types of travel styles to navigate:
Itinerary Nazis need every moment of the travel planned or booked. Often, they’re chasing the tourist bucket list and won’t feel satisfied until they tackle everything on their list.
Winging it folks
Winging it folks are free formers, who want to go-with-the-flow. They’re chasing experiences like an eight ball… If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
The In-between Traveler is between both, the Itinerary Nazi and Winging it folks. They need the structure of an itinerary and game plan, but they’re flexible enough to change if a better opportunity arises. Personally, this is my style and the godsend of being so is that I can occasionally navigate between extremes.
You may say that you don’t want inconsiderate, irresponsible. impolite, selfish people. But we all say that. It’s as generic as saying– I want to meet a nice guy to marry. The difference is in the definition.
You see, everyone is different. We all have expectations or rules of conduct that are independent and unique. We have unspoken agreements with others about the role and responsibility they play as our partner. “You got my back, I got yours is one,” is an assumption that requires more definition.
You might have a friend that is great with the chore of finding accommodations that match your styles and budgets. But go to a nightclub together and the first hot guy she meets, might result in you getting ditched and left stranded for the next two days …without warning or notice.
With some partners, you’re better off traveling alone. Enough of these types of travel partners is what ultimately led me to a solo traveler.
• Be independent in your thinking.
Be responsible for yourself and not reliant on another person to be your itinerary and guide. I have this problem when I travel with others~ I can let my self-responsibility and mind go to mush, because I know my partner holds the other half of information I might need to get around. Bad idea. If the relationship takes a dive, the trip suffers from it and you will too. Be independent and if things go south between you and your partner, you won’t be reliant upon your partner to make your trip.
• Be up front about your expectations and fear.
Talk about your fears and concerns about traveling together. Explain what you expect from your partner and how you’d like them to “watch your back”.
• Plan to spend time alone.
A good idea is to have designated days or even a window of several hours, where you do things on your own and plan to meet later. This way, if you have any special interests, you’re free to take your time and enjoy it . This also defuses any fights if one or both of you feel like you’re compromising too much. .
• Consider finding your travel partners after you’ve arrived in the country.
The biggest hurdle is convincing friends to travel. You’ll have a wider pool to pull from and many travelers– especially solo ones– are open and flexible to sharing day trips, activities or even entire legs of journey’s. Best of all, you’re not shackled to one partner and stuck with them if things go bad. It’s actually easier to find matching partners on the road, but certainly a gamble.
Share some of your stories below. Have any nightmare partners? What tip would you add to this list?