Tips for Choosing the Best Travel Companion for Long-Term trips

By Tracey Chandler

Many visitors choose to travel to Argentina as part of a long-term trip or round-the-world escapade. When traveling for long periods of time, only a few things can either make or break your experience and one of those things is who you choose to travel with.

If you decide to hit the road on your own, accommodation expenses could end up being a little more expensive, going it alone might seem a little daunting and, if you’re not someone who’s used to being on your own, you might also fear feeling lonely or bored without a playmate, particularly in the evenings.

However, if you choose to travel with someone else or with a group of people, you must consider your choice thoroughly. A one-week holiday is nothing like a year-long trip, hopping from one country to the next.

Take the following factors into consideration before settling on a travel companion to avoid your trip of a lifetime turning into a living hell…

1. Know yourself and get to know your potential travel buddy more

It’s the time to be really honest. Do you like having company all the time or are you someone who needs to be able to have some “alone time” every day? Your best friend my be great as a best friend because you see him or her once every week for a few hours and you chat through life or interests, but as a travel buddy he or she might be too much. Your friend might be someone who never does anything on their own and so it’s important to discuss these things before you choose to arrange a long-term trip together.

It’s also important to consider what you want to get out of your long-term trip. Few people travel round-the-world or for longer than a couple of weeks unless they are looking for more than a simple holiday. Do you want to connect with other cultures? Are you thinking about moving abroad after your trip? Are you hoping to find work experience opportunities or do you want to volunteer for projects that you believe in? The underlying purpose of your trip, besides just visiting other countries, must be discussed at length with your potential travel companion and these purposes must coincide.

2. Where and for how long?

Get the basics right from the very start. You might want to buy a single ticket to Argentina and then see what happens when you arrive. Your travel buddy might want to have a few flights booked to get him or her from country to country and have a stricter travel schedule. How flexible can you be with moving on from destination to destination? How long do you want to be travelling for? Do you want to visit the same countries as your potential travel buddy? If not, can you agree to spend some time alone or will that create conflict?

 3. Budgeting, accommodation and food

Talking about money is essential. You have to bring the subject to the surface before you travel and discuss not just how much money you both have to invest in the trip, but also how you intend to spend your cash and what things you are happy to spend more or less on. For example, are you both happy to live on rice and share beds in a rough, mixed dorm, or does your friend want to have a private bathroom in every location? Does your friend want to sit down to enjoy a meal every evening or is he or she happy to just get buy with street food and supermarket shops/cooking in the hostel kitchen?

Some people really love eating out at restaurants during their stay because they get to try local dishes. Other people don’t have such open relationships with food. Are you about to go travelling with a health food fanatic, who wants to breakfast on cereals and yoghurt every morning? Are you happy to slum it and let your body/fitness levels suffer for a bit whilst taking advantage of greasy street food? It’s also important to find out if your potential travel companion is allergic to any kinds of food, as it can be quite stressful when travelling with someone who is unable to eat whatever they are served with, particularly when relying on free hostel breakfasts to get by, for example.

4. Parties, booze, culture, nature?

If you want to be up early every morning to visit galleries, climb mountains, or take part in cultural activities, you might want to think twice about travelling around the world with your favourite clubbing buddy. He or she might be the best person to spend your time with during the weekend when at home and looking to stay out until 6am, but that doesn’t mean she or she will be the perfect match for you on your soul-searching six-month trip to India. You must discuss what you want to be doing during your holiday and what time of day or night you intend to be most active.

5. What happens if…? Discussing what happens when things go wrong

“What if” scenarios must be discussed at length with your potential travel buddy before buying flights and making definite travel plans. “What if” situations could include a whole host of issues. For example, “What happens if one of us falls really ill or is hurt badly in an accident?” What will your travel buddy be prepared to do to take care of you and sort things out in a foreign country, maybe in a foreign language, maybe needing to pay out cash and maybe needing to communicate with people back home?

Another example might be, “What happens if one of us decides that he or she doesn’t want to keep travelling and wants to stay longer in a particular destination or wants to return home ahead of time?” How will the other companion react? Will they be happy to just swing with the changes presented or will that person feel abandoned and frightened about continuing alone?

“What happens if one of us wants to spend more time partying at night and the other one wants to start enjoying more of what the daytime has to offer?” could be another “what if” scenario that you might want to discuss ahead of your trip. It would be a good idea to set aside one or two evenings to sit down together, go through all the ideas and all the possible difficult situations. Don’t rush these moments and make sure absolutely everything has been covered before you decide to take the plunge and head off together into the unknown.

Final thought…

It’s true that you cannot plan for all eventualities, but by discussing things at length, you will manage to cover most of the important ones. Long-term trips are important experiences and it would be sad to find yourself living your once-in-a-lifetime trip with someone you just can’t connect with. So… take your time!

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