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The Traveller's Magazine
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Halfway through the trip and you’re already about to pull your travel companion’s hair out. Frustrated and at the end of your rope, what do you do? Unless your travel partner is just as fed up with you as you are of them, you’re likely stuck together. Here are 10 tips for keeping the peace between travel partners.

Has this ever happened to you? Best friends, couples, siblings and families head out on grand trips, ready to conquer the world but constant time together can make the excitement of the trip wear thin quite quickly if you don’t do something about it.

One of the most common mistakes of first-time backpackers is choosing the wrong travel partner. It’s a very delicate decision and could mean the difference between a down-right terrible trip and one that totally blows your expectations.

When you’re on the road travelling with others you don’t have your own car, your own room (very likely at least), itinerary, work place and personal space. It is possible to enjoy a trip with your significant other, family members, friends or other traveller you’ve met on the way without driving each other crazy.

How to keep the peace?

  • Travel styles: Ask your travel partner in advance about their style. It will forewarn you if there’ll be troubles later. Compatible travel styles are more important than common interests.

What you should ask:

Do you prefer being at the airport early? Do you like to linger over a meal or would you rather eat quick and get moving? Do you explore cities like a local or do you revere your Lonely Planet like a bible? Would you rather be city slicker or hang out on the coast all day long? Do you like to party all-night long or wake up early and start on the day?

  • Destinations: If one of you’re the leader-type, take special care that your travel partner is involved in the destination planning process so that they also feel like its their trip rather than just tagging along on your trip.
  • Pace-setting: If you’re a real gung-ho type that wants to see as much as you can in as little time as possible you should check that your partner also has the same enthusiasm. If one of you is looking forward to a leisure trip and the other is not…trouble!
    Is Nepal the right destination for both of you? (img: cc)
  • Culture: If you’re choosing a destination with major cultural and language differences be sure both of you are on the same track and at similar levels. This way one of you won’t feel left out.
  • Routines: Consider each of your daily routines. Is there something you’d like to continue doing while travelling like a long breakfast or a daily run/work-out? If you can’t do without a morning jog, get up 30 minutes early to fit it in without needing to make your partner wait for you.
  • Alone time: Bust a move on your own. Spending a day apart or even just an afternoon can do wonders. Personal time is precious on the road and giving each other space to do something (walk, museum trip, coffee stop, hike, etc.) alone means a lot.
  • Baggage: Pack separately. It may seem easier to pack one single bag for a short trip but one of you will end up carrying it. If you keep your things separate you won’t have to worry if your partner is a neat freak packer or one that just shoves it all in until the zipper bursts.
  • Budget: Agree on a general budget BEFORE the trip. Travelling means saving money and agree how to spend on the trip is important. Eating out is for example. Would you rather save by buying a picnic lunch from a supermarket or splurge by eating out for lunch and dinner? Once you’ve decided on a budget, stick to it.
  • Calm: When it comes to delayed or cancelled flights, unexpected changes, theft abroad, etc. you need to keep your calm so that your partner will too. Don’t say something you’re going to regret later in a stress-filled moment.
  • Talk: When it comes to holidays, everything is open for negotiation. If you decide you’d rather do something different than planned, talk about it. If you’re tired and would love a sleep-in the next morning, mention it. But if plans are more fixed (a ferry schedule or museum opening time)  a compromise may be in order.

If none of these tips work and both of you are completely fed up with each other then going in different directions may be the best choice. Make sure of course that both of you are okay with it and maybe plan to meet up in a week’s time or longer to catch-up!

If the solo road is your preference, then you already know that some of the best travel companions come in the form of paperback books. This is just the beginning of some of the best books to take on the road.

Img: oter / flickr cc

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