So you really really want to travel with one or more of your best friends. It sounds awesome; it looks perfect in the movies; and you are always having fun together. Stop, heed the caution signs, check your traits, and leave your flapping friendship at the door for a minute. There are things you must know before you make this life changing, friendship testing journey.
Traveling with other humans requires more thought than who's bringing the hair dryer to share or who will do the driving. Unless you already live with this person 24/7 and hang out often, people have many traits left undisclosed. Traveling to foreign places is not only going to heighten emotions, but reveal never seen personality traits. That so called best friend may turn into a hangry, waffling, monster of a traveler without you least suspecting it.
If you don't believe me, go for it. Take your trip. Maybe you'll come back with an even stronger friendship; maybe you'll come back not talking; maybe you'll come back one friend short. Take your chances and see.
If you don't want to chance losing your best friend, it's important to discuss a few things before going. In order to grasp why this guide to picking travel buddies is so important, it's necessary to first look at key traits that any good traveler needs.
The top 5 skills and personality traits that are key when exploring the world are:
1. Quick thinking
2. Calm emotions (esp in stressful situations)
3. Being open to new ideologies
4. Having directional orientation skills
5. Communicating effectively
Some of you are probably saying, "I'm screwed." That's a good thing because it means you are being realistic and honest with yourself. Personally, I know I'm not very strong at some of these, but knowing my weaknesses makes me an aware traveler. It also helps me pick my travel partners. Maybe you are terrible at directions; pick a partner who excels at this. Like relationships, sometimes opposites attract. The list of 5 is going to be your solid base when traveling. If you or a mix of you and your travel buddies can put together a solid skill set of these traits then you are off to a good start.
The idea of this first step is to open your eyes and your friend's eyes to the real side of travel. Yes, you will have fun moments. Yes, you will see cool sites. Yes, you will eat good food. It's the other 16 hours of the day you don't think about before hand that get you in trouble. Life on the road has more decisions, more stress, and more bumps than your everyday routine at home. This is why you must really get to know your travel buddies before casting yourselves into the travel world full of unknowns.
Friendships explode easier than bottle rockets when put to the test. It's common. We are human; we make mistakes; we say things we shouldn't; we don't always communicate effectively. Relationship experts have told us repeatedly what works and what doesn't. None of us really listen. My best friend is crazy, nothing like me, we wouldn't be paired together if people picked us out of a crowd. This is exactly why the experts can't truly nail down who matches best with who. They can theorize all they want, but when it comes down to it there are only two things that matter, expectations and communication.
As you go through this travel buddy personality test with your friends, remember those important factors. This isn't a test to make you not travel with your friends. It's a yellow light to slow you down, to think about the reality of traveling with other human beings, and to prepare for traits unbeknown to you. All of this communication opens up the road for a clear, exciting trip. It will prepare all parties involved for bumps in the road, and eliminate feelings of blame if expectations are clearly stated. I hope that your friends aren't your identical twin because individuality makes the journey better for everyone. Embrace your own individual strengths and weaknesses and welcome your travel buddies with the same openness you want in return.
So Grab some beer or wine and have some fun with this Travel Buddy Test!