Sometimes, it just happens even on the most well-planned of trips and even in the dreamiest of dream destinations—you’re with the wrong travel buddy, and admitting that might as well just be the end of your trip.
But before you lose all hope, know that there are tell-tale signs you’re vacationing with someone you really just don’t get along with. And the earlier you know, the earlier you’ll be able to handle the situation better. So how can you tell the difference? Without further ado, you’re travelling with the WRONG person if…
1. Your preferences differ
He likes the familiar flavours of fast food, while you live on the wild side and crave local fare no matter how exotic. He likes staying in five-star hotels, and you prefer homey Airbnbs. He’s a night owl, you’re a morning person who’s up before the crack of dawn. From food, to the type of accommodations you book, to your daily call time, you just stand on opposite ends.
Hint: If you can’t even decide on a date and a final destination while planning, chances are you won’t agree on most things for the entirety of your trip.
2. Suddenly all you hear are cricket sounds
There’s a lot to be said about comfortable silences. But BBC has published an article “on the subtle power of uncomfortable silences,” meaning, there are different kinds of silences and the kind of silence that you encounter during interactions may make or break the situation at hand.
Believe me, you will feel tension even if you keep your mouths shut. If the silence between you and your travel buddy is an awkward one, then you’re definitely not right for each other on the road.
3. Your notions of “travel” are nowhere near intersecting
The secret to successfully travelling with other people is making sure that you have similar ideas of travel in the first place. If you’re all okay with the kind of tour that has ten or more stops in a day with barely 30 minutes at each site, then good. But if you’re the type of person who likes to take his or her time in a place and immersing in the local culture, you surely won’t get along with people who just want to take a few photos and go.
4. You don’t treat people/acquaintances the same way
It’s true, the way a person treats other people says a lot about him or her. If you easily make friends while travelling, and the person you’re with is wary of all strangers, you’re bound to get into an argument. If that person is just downright rude, that’s worse.
Let’s say you’re staying in a hostel, and one of your housemates announces that it’s karaoke night, will you say yes? Will your travel buddy leave you hanging? If you’re in a restaurant, is your friend likely to cause a scene when the waiter doesn’t get his order right? One of the perks of having a travel companion is added safety in numbers. It’s not mandatory, but it sure is good to have a travel buddy who won’t bail out on you or put you at risk.
5. It’s my way or the highway
We aren’t kids anymore. This isn’t grade school. No one likes a bully who pressures everyone to join activities only he wants to do, and no one likes a spoiled brat who’ll just suddenly ignore you if she ends up not liking what you’ve got planned for the day. This applies to the logistics of your trip, from managing the budget to streamlining your itinerary. Dealing with temperamental or overly sensitive travel buddies who dampen everyone’s mood when they don’t get what they like can be quite the challenge.
6. She or he is a freeloader who rarely gives back borrowed belongings
Travelling with a friend (or friends) usually means taking turns footing the bill especially when you’re in a hurry or when one of your friends runs out of bills in the needed currency. Suddenly, toiletries and medicine kits become communal as well, and it’s okay because you guys have each other’s backs, right? The problem is if anyone starts taking advantage of this setup and doesn’t return what he or she borrows. If your supplies are getting depleted without you remembering ever using them, you already know what’s going on.
7. You have conflicting lifestyles
We understand that no two people are exactly alike, so when travelling, remember to always leave room for compromise. But it’s a different story when two people partake of conflicting lifestyles. For instance: one’s a health nut and the other a chainsmoker; one’s a vegan who goes gaga for faux fur and the other a total carnivore who enjoys the occasional hunting trip; one’s a couch potato and the other, very much into extreme sports. You get the picture.
8. There’s just no time to breathe
Let me tell you that on any trip, me time is important. Friends who travel together ought to set aside a day or a few hours to let people do what they want to. When this happens, the group will break into subgroups, or some might even do their own thing alone or as a couple — and that’s fine. Giving each other time to breathe makes for a healthy trip. If your travel buddy is against this practice, you might feel suffocated somewhere along the way.
9. He or she has poor hygiene
I don’t even have to tell you why this should be a major warning sign. Poor hygiene ALWAYS means you’re with the wrong person, whether you’re travelling or not.
10. You’d rather be alone
At the end of the day, this is the ultimate sign. If you find your thoughts wandering to the remote possibility of ditching your vacation buddy because of bad behaviour, don’t ever travel with them again.
There you have it. Planning a trip soon? Are the warning bells ringing? A word of advice: If you know you don’t have travel chemistry, don’t force it. You’re better off with a selfie stick and a solo trip.