Picking a Travel Companion

Travel Forums Travel Companions Picking a Travel Companion

1. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1305 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I just finished reading an old thread which basically asked whether people had good experiences or bad experiences.

Twice we have invited people that we knew only from the internet to visit or travel with us. In both cases they were sailors that I contacted first on a sailing email list. So we had sailing and boats in common.

One was an Englishman who was working for a Canadian airline, and had vacation but his wife had just started a new job and couldn't get away. He could get a free flight to places that the airline he worked for went to, so Bob met him at the airport and he stayed with us on our couch (I was still working but Bob had retired). We took him to sample some local foods (like he had never had hush puppies or soft crabs) and we took him sailing with us on the weekend. This was in 1999. I think we had fun. And it was free for him.

In the other case, it was an unmarried couple, and in 2001, they came and sailed down the ICW with us from the Potomac River to Charleston SC. Our boat sleeps 6 and has 2 separate heads (bathrooms) but we were in pretty close proximity for two months in the fall of 2001. I enjoyed it and I think they did too. When they weren't interested in something we wanted to do (like if we wanted to go to a little museum) then we went to the museum and they did something else. We are still friends.

Other than traveling with members our our family (my parents, my husband, my mother, my sister, our children, our grandchildren), I have only traveled with people that I knew IRL, and I paid for some of their trip - they acted as aides for me to help me with my scooter and packing. One was Polly, the lady that has been cutting my hair for 40 years - she had divorced her 2nd husband and really wanted to travel but didn't want to do it alone. The other was my cleaning lady who had been working for me for about 4 years at the time, and she was friends with Polly and when she heard about the cruise idea, she really wanted to go too. She wouldn't fly, so we drove to the cruise. Bob drove us down and her husband picked us up (he won't go on a boat). She smoked, but she was OK with doing that out on deck. She wanted the TV on all night, but I could deal with that. She liked it so well that she decided she really would fly and went on another cruise with the lady that gives her infusions.

When I was in my 20s, I traveled by myself in Europe - I did meet my sister twice for a week or a couple of days, and I was meeting Bob in three places, but otherwise I was by myself and did not feel the lack of a companion. I can't travel by myself now. I would hesitate to ask for someone to travel with me if I did not know them beforehand because I will need their help.

2. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

When our daughters have the time off work, they travel with us which is nice because we can split costs. We all like art, history, museums, nature and scenery so it works out well. When I was still working, I often traveled with other musicians playing in the same orchestra and that was great fun. Made some great friends we still have today. Other than that, we occasionally meet friends who are traveling in the same area and have lunch or dinner and sometimes do some sightseeing. Not sure I'd be comfortable traveling with a perfect stranger. I'd rather travel alone . . . easier.

3. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1305 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I wouldn't mind traveling with a stranger as long as they were not too needy. I need some alone time, and I don't want someone hanging on my elbow all the time. So as you say - easier to travel alone.

I have traveled with people at work, but only to conferences or training that we all were going to. So they would fly three or four of us to Chicago for a training course and put us up in the same hotel. Sometimes I would eat with some of them at lunch or dinner. But usually, when I got to the place, I went off on my own.

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Oct-2019, 16:27 GMT by greatgrandmaR ]

4. Posted by littlesam1 (Budding Member 75 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I have had good experiences and bad traveling with friends. I have never really traveled with strangers. After one trip with three very good friends we all returned barely speaking to each other. It was a tenuous vacation from the get go beginning with me having my passport stolen. We all had different wants and needs and try as hard as was possible we just could not work out our differences. When we returned home and were leaving the airport no one was even speaking enough to say goodbye. Luckily we are still all friends years later and no one remained angry. I later took a trip with one of the same people but it was just the two of us and it was one of my favorite vacations. I guess four were too many on the first trip and two was perfect for the second.

5. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1193 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

A good travel companion is one who is trustworthy, doesn't complain, is adventurous, prefers saying yes instead of no, has an open mind, believes in caring and sharing; and has a positive outlook on life.

6. Posted by Bennytheball (Budding Member 49 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

I discovered the ideal travelling companion for my next trip to Morocco by simply looking in the mirror.....
https://www.travellerspoint.com/photos/stream/photoID/5543963/users/Bennytheball/

.....unfortunately the sunflower has to stay at home!

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Oct-2019, 11:43 GMT by Bennytheball ]

7. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1305 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Quoting berner256

A good travel companion is one who is trustworthy, doesn't complain, is adventurous, prefers saying yes instead of no, has an open mind, believes in caring and sharing; and has a positive outlook on life.

The negative in that list is "doesn't complain" All the other characteristics you list are positive. (And sometimes complaints are valid and necessary)

So I would substitute

When you ask them if they would like to do or see something, they answer honestly. (They don't answer "yes" when they really don't want to do it and then grouse about it later, and they don't say "no" and then ask why you didn't include them.)

If there are bumps in the road they can laugh about the misadventures or at least they don't scream and yell about it. Especially if it is something that can't be helped (like the weather).

I am not sure about "caring and sharing". There is such a thing as too much sharing IMHO.
And I would add to the list - a person who is kind to others (doesn't abuse servers), and someone who has reasonably good personal hygiene and is not a substance abuser.

Some of these things you can tell in advance about a person, and some of them will only come out under the stress of travel.