How we travel and whom we travel with can make or break our experience. Aside the different travel personality types, how we relate to our travel mates also plays a role. I believe there are eight different types of travel companions to experience the world with at least once. Let’s take a look.
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Types of travel companions
If you’ve travelled before, chance are you have been in company of one or few of these types.
The solo wanderer
Quite often, we can be our very best companion. There is no need to compromise, argue or discuss. We do what we want, when we want and how we want. As solo travellers, we become sufficient, resourceful and independent.
After all, travelling alone is like a quest for self-discovery. I would argue that every person should experience travelling alone at least once in his or her life.
As much as solo travel can teach you, it can become quite lonely. Yes, you can meet people along the way. Quite often, they are temporary fixtures that leave as often as they appear. There were few times in my life during my travels when I wished there was someone with me to share a particular experience or a place. It didn’t take away from my own experience, just made it a different one.
Strangers along the way
The strangers we meet along the way are a different type of travel companions that can be good for us. When you are on a bus tour full of strangers, you don’t know what to expect. They can be the best bunch of travellers, or the worst. That unknown will keep you on your toes and the unexpected can lead to new discoveries.
Let’s be honest, as proficient as we can be with taking selfies or tripods, there is something to be said of having someone else take a photo of us. This is especially handy when you’re on a tour with bunch of travel bloggers who appreciate the value of a good shot.
Sometimes you meet people by chance. While in Panama, we met a couple who offered to share a cab tour with us. It was a much better deal for four than it was for two. Was it a good idea? Absolutely. We ended up becoming friends and have travelled with them quite a few times since then. Sometimes random necessities make good friends.
A travel family affair
At some point in your life, you are likely to travel with your family. It can be a simple road trip from your childhood or a more adult experience. These are probably the most interesting travel companions, good and bad.
Family members are ones we know the best and can usually predict what to expect from them. There is also a certain level of intimacy and comfort that family offers even on a trip. They also know us better than anyone else. As family, they are more likely to put up with difficulties of travel and are not likely to rob you or leave you stranded. At least you hope they wouldn’t do that.
Travelling with family can be fun or it can be hell. Both offer a different type of experience and make us who we are. When we travel as children, we learn from our parents and other family members on what to do. The family dynamics also come into play, especially if you are away from home. These particular travel companions will affect your experience mostly based on how you get along. Some love travelling with family members, others do not. Either way, you are very likely to take a family trip at some point in your life.
Travelling with kids
Travelling with kids, be that your own or other people’s, is a very different experience. It can be a quite fascinating to see the world through the eyes of a child. They see things from different perspectives and are experiencing them for the first time. That will definitely offer you a different perspective on your own experience.
Not all kids travel well and this can be a stressful experience for everyone. If you’ve ever been on a plane with a screaming child, you can attest to that. However, planes are not the only place where this can be a challenge. Kids can be picky eaters, have unfounded fears due to lack of experience, get bored easily and might not share your appreciations for history, cultures and monuments. It just means you have to be extra creative in how you plan the trip and activities. It definitely changes the trip dynamics.
Groups – the more the merrier
There is something freeing about travelling with a bunch of people. The whole world of group discounts is now at your fingertips, the more the merrier. It’s like travelling with your own entourage, ready for anything. You probably won’t lack for pictures, experiences and memories.
Travelling in groups can also have its downfalls. Coordinating anything and everything is a logistical nightmare. The more people, the harder it gets. A group can stand out quite clearly and that can be a good thing or a bad one. There can be personality clashes, arguments and difference of opinions. These travel companions, much like family members, can turn travel experiences into amazing or become a nightmare.
Group tours with strangers can bring new friends into your life. After all, you are with people who share your interest in the destination or the theme of the tour.
Business traveller life
If your job requires you to travel, this opens up a completely new world of experiences. Business travel is very different from travelling for pleasure. It can definitely be a great way to see the world, even if it’s in small and short intervals. When you travel for business, you see a different side to the places you visit, good and bad. Sometimes you see things most tourists don’t and it can create an impression on you that will affect any future decisions to travelling there.
Your business colleagues are very different from your friends. Depending on how you get along with them will also shape your travel experience. Your colleagues, bosses or subordinates as travel companions will definitely test your travel skills and endurance.
I learned a lot when I used to travel for work. It made me a more well-rounded traveller and offered a chance to see the world. If you have an opportunity to travel for work, do it. It will change you.
Travel with friends
Travelling with friends is usually fun and a safe bet. It’s also a great way to bond by experiencing places together. You can discover new things and be just as comfortable doing them alone. When I went to London with my friend Maryann, we had a great time. As we’ve been friends for a long time, we knew that we had different interests and were happy to explore them on our own. While she went shopping, I spent a few delightful hours at the Tower of London. We then compared our outings over dinner and drinks. It was a fun way to relive the day with someone else.
Recently I had an opportunity to travel to few places in Canada with my friend Florencia who visited from Argentina. Not only was I able to show her Toronto, we also toured Montreal and Quebec City. It was fun to see things I’ve become so familiar with through her eyes. We had a blast and I had a chance to experience old places in a new light.
That special someone
A couple that travels together, stays together. This has definitely been the case for Alex and I. It definitely helps that we both share a passion for travel as it plays a big part in our lives.
Alex is definitely my favourite of travel companions. We have visited new places together, but we’ve also been to places that only one of us was familiar with. Each trip provided a new set of experiences and we often talk about the places we’ve been to, are in or will be visiting next. There never is a lack of things to talk about and it’s fun to share things together.
We have travelled together to many places, but we have also travelled separately on many occasions. When we are not travelling together, we get to tell each other about the places we’ve been to. Travel makes our relationship stronger and interesting, whether we travel together or not.
Pets make unique travel companions. Travel with them is definitely different from travelling with other people. They are a little bit like children in that you have to be responsible for them all the time. They demand attention, entertainment and possible sacrifices you wouldn’t have to make without having them with you.
While I loved travelling with our dogs, it was stressful and definitely involved more planning. Not everyone who has a pet will travel with them, but if you have the opportunity, it will be an interesting one. I advise you to research ahead and research well. Thank me later.
Final thoughts about travel companions
Travelling is always fun, but who you are with will affect how you feel about it. The way we experience the world has a lot to do with who our travel companions are.
Who is your favourite travel companion and why? Let me know.