As a travel writer I’m often asked who I consider to be the best person to travel with. Is it my wife, my mates, my parents or do I prefer to travel on my own? In answer to this question I thought I’d pen down a few pros and cons that I feel best fit the five groups below.
This is not meant to be a time-consuming list but it certainly sums up my feelings on the matter and as I sit in my hotel room wistfully looking out of the window as the evening lights of the bazaar randomly appear to flicker into life, I wonder if you can guess who my chosen companion is for this trip?
Without further ado, below are five traveller types and if you’re thinking of taking a trip any time soon and you don’t fancy going it alone then check out the following slice of advice and make sure you have the best time that you can most possibly imagine.
Ha ha – imagine the thought! Parents and siblings – we either relish their company or simply catch up with them through a sense of duty. Either way, if you’re planning on going on your travels with a close member of your family you should best be prepared to face some home truths first. Family members, especially close relatives, have no qualms about telling each other exactly how it is and if they prefer not to visit something that you do then you’ll hear about it straight away. Of course, this level of honesty can often be a really positive force when travelling as you know exactly where you stand and can also rest assured that no matter how deep your level of ‘discussion’ you’ll still always be there for each other, no matter what.
These sorts of companions are the ones that we love the most. Our best mates that have stuck with us through thick and thin. The ones who you can count on to provide support, entertainment and excellent company. However, you may find that only when you have to share a tight hostel room in the middle of Asia that this is when you really unearth your friend’s true nature. Unlike family members, who you pretty much know inside out already, friendships can be really tested on your travels so make sure you at least have a practise 2 week holiday together first so you can be sure you know what you’re both letting yourselves in for.
It may feel like a strange proposition to set off on your travels without even meeting the people that you’re going to be travelling with however, millions of people do it every year so it’s totally worth giving some thought. Small group tours are organised all over the world and allow like-minded individuals to get together and share their experiences as well as their company. This is an excellent option if you prefer the safety of a group and you’re not keen on travelling on your own however, if you like to keep yourself to yourself then don’t expect to command this sort of freedom, especially if you end up getting stuck with a total bore.
The jury’s out on this one I’m afraid but let it be said that if you’re still together after you come back from 6 months or more on the road then the chances are that you’re both set for life. Emotional blackmail, luxury over budget and wanting to do different things but being too afraid to say so. These are all perfectly valid reasons why we shouldn’t go away travelling with our partners but and it is a big BUT, when we are away from them we miss them so much that we don’t actually get to enjoy the trip. Phone calls home, poor internet connections and general paranoia all provide ample reasons why we should travel with partners and save ourselves a whole lot of grief but, like I said, it’s 50/50!
And now we come to the answer to the question that I posed at the beginning of this piece – who am I currently travelling with? Well, she’s small, sandy blonde and slightly gnarled around the ears and at this moment she’s laying on her back snoring like a drain. Hmmm, pets make excellent travelling companions although getting them into restaurants and through quarantine does make them something of a hindrance. Make sure you’re prepared for lots of evenings of eating in market squares, on harbour walls and on your hotel balcony. Hey, that doesn’t sound too bad and I’d say if you’ve got to pick a favourite companion then pick a dog because
a. the never question where you’re going
b. they never ask you to be in early and
c. they’ll love you even if you make them sleep on the floor