Traveling with someone for the first time can make or break a friendship. Take it from me. Last year, I went on a four-day trip to California with a girl I thought was super cool and haven’t spoken to her since. But, why is that?
Traveling reveals our true nature. It can put us under severe stress and pure bliss, all within a couple of hours. Not everyone can take that kind of emotional flux with a grain of salt, which is exactly why someone you once considered your best friend might turn into a raging beast. So, if you don’t want to risk a life-long friendship for a week of traveling together, here’s my suggestion: Don’t do it.
It might be hard to predict which friends would make bad companions if you’ve never gone anywhere with them before. However, there are a few ways to know. A great start, for example, would be to take an overnight trip together. Perhaps you could go camping to see how they handle the unpredictability of sleeping in a tent.
Another way to determine whether or not to travel together travel with someone is to examine their personality traits. If a friend falls into any of the following categories, avoid exploring the world with them at all costs.
1. The Mooch
Traveling is expensive. But, it’s even worse when your cheapskate of a travel buddy refuses to pay half for the rental car. Even though it got you both around all week, she’ll probably say that it was your idea first—because walking from Los Angeles to San Diego is a doable venture. Not.
You and the person you travel with should be in a similar financial state. This doesn’t mean they have to be loaded, especially if you’re not. (And let’s face it, most of us aren’t.) In fact, this could cause a whole different problem. If your friend is blowing money on unnecessary goods the whole trip, you’ll feel obligated to do the same. You should come back home feeling experienced, not totally broke.
So, make sure your travel buddy is both stable and responsible with their money. You want them to have enough to get them through the trip without mooching off you, but also have the desire to spend their money on things that will enhance the experience.
2. The Drama Queen
These friends are easy to spot. They’re the ones who refuse to tip after the waitress forgets their extra side of dressing, or cause a scene when someone skips ahead of them in line. They’re the ones who cry and threaten to leave the bar when the bartender is rude to them.
These are not the kind of people you want to be stuck with halfway around the world. To be honest, they’re probably not the kind of people you want to be friends with at all, but that’s your decision.
3. The Homebody/Introvert
The only thing worse than traveling with a drama queen is traveling with someone who wants to go home, and feels really bad about it. You can’t change an introvert. And, as much as they apologize, it won’t amend the fact that your trip is not the spontaneous experience you hoped it would be.
You’ll find yourself constantly telling them, “It’s OK.” It’s OK that they don’t want to explore the city’s nightlife. It’s OK that they don’t want to dance. It’s OK that they are too afraid to zipline. And it’s true! It is OK. You can’t force a person to do anything they don’t feel comfortable with.
But, at the end of the day, it’s not OK that you’re stuck traveling with someone who would rather be home watching Netflix.
4. The Sloppy Drunk
Vacation is the time and place to let loose, but that doesn’t mean getting sloppy is suddenly appropriate. You don’t want to be out with someone who gets drunk at 9 o’clock and can’t even walk back to the hotel.
This might be fine back home. We all have our nights and it’s important to look out for your friends. However, the last thing you want to worry about while abroad is your partner’s embarrassing behavior.
5. The Romantically Involved
Just because someone’s in a serious relationship doesn’t mean they won’t be fun to travel with, but let’s be real, most of them aren’t. If you know someone who is always with her boyfriend, stealing her away for a week probably won’t lessen the obsession. Instead, you’ll end up listening to her sappy, hour-long, “I miss you so much” conversations while you’re trying to fall asleep.
They might drift off during the day. They’ll probably fail to live fully in the moment. They won’t see the point in going out with the cute group of guys you met on the beach. They won’t even see the point in meeting them to begin with.
Traveling isn’t about meeting guys; that’s not what I’m saying. But it is about having the freedom to talk to whomever you want. It’s about learning different cultures through the privilege of living them.
This also includes people who are or once were romantically involved with you. Do not travel with an ex. It’s a recipe for disaster. Most likely, one of you still has feelings for the other, so there are expectations that will most likely be shattered by the trip.
Remember that traveling is meant to be fun; it’s meant to be an experience and memorable for the right reasons. So, choose your travel buddies carefully. Feel free to share your tips and suggestions for choosing the right traveling friend.