Traveling can bring people together like nothing else, but it can also tear them apart and show how they are such radically different people that maybe they shouldn’t even be friends. Now I’m sure you will agree its best to avoid the latter if at all possible while choosing a travel mate. In the real world, it’s great to know people different than you. They help you grow and see different ways to do things. In the travel world, that is true to an extent, but vast differences in the idea for the trip will cause serious anger, disappointment and friction. Now there is no sure fire way to totally avoid this, save the knowledge of a few successful trips together in the rear view mirror, but here are a few ideas of things you can ask about to see if you are compatible together as travelers.
What are each of your hopes for the trip…
People travel because they want to experience something inside of themselves. In a perfect world having this experience with someone else, so it can be reminiscing about later, is the best, but still the experience they have will be deeply personal. What may be a good idea is to inquire with your potential travel partner as to what they want from the trip? Is it fun/ partying, culture, personal enlightenment…. The best answers are a combination of things. If that’s the case you should be able to find your common crowd. If the other person is really set in stone about one hope for the trip and it isn’t the same as yours that could be a pretty serious red flag you should be weary of.
What are each of your expectations and travel styles….
Now this connects to the hope for the trip, but it isn’t quite so abstract. This is just asking what does the other person want to do while they are abroad, how are they going to achieve that. Basically this is checking if you are going to travel in the same ways. Does the person you are traveling with expect to be up each day the crack of dawn to follow their already pre-written itinerary, or do they get up when they do after a night of fun and go with the flow? Not to say a little contentiousness in these areas isn’t a good thing. People that plan versus free spirits, as long as they are flexible, can help each other see the other side and have great time. However, if they are really stuck in one mold of doing something you better find out before hand. Then if that isn’t you way of doing it politely decline traveling with them as you will hate being around them given time – and probably not much.
Again there is no science to this, picking a good travel mate is an art of sorts, but hopefully these two suggestions will help you out.