How to pick the right travel-buddy

Squating in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan.

Disclaimer: Dear friends whom I've travelled with. Please do not get offended. 

I've travelled alone and I've travelled with different friends, and during this time I've found out that we're not supposed to travel with ALL of our friends. You might have great chemistry when you're just hanging out playing Playstation or whatever, but it's a whole new game when your spending time together almost 24/7, sometimes even in stressful situations.

And if you've had a bad travel experience with a friend, this doesn't mean that you no longer can be friends, it just means that maybe you shouldn't travel together, ever again. Unless something changes.

Once I travelled with a group of 7 girls. I learned that I'm not a group-travel-person, at least not with a group that is so big. Some of them thought that we had to do everything together. I especially remember us arguing about where to eat until I couldn't take it anymore and said "Hey! How about you guys, who want to eat at a burger shop, go there, while those of you who want to eat at a fancy restaurant go there, cause I don't care, I just wanna eat, I'm hangry". After this trip I've only travelled with one person (not the same one), but I'm open to travelling with more than one person. It actually depends more on who they are, and what we want from the trip in question.

'Cause here's the thing, if you don't share some of the same goals, it can be tricky. If one person only wants to chill by the beach, drink piรฑa coladas and then party at a club, and the other person wants adventures like going on a zip-line or joining a two day elephant care program - this might not be a perfect match. Unless this is something you've already talked about - where you've agreed to split up for some days and go solo, before you meet up again to do som activities that you do have in common, together. Which brings me to my next point:

Communication is key.

Eating burgers in Japan.

Last year I travelled with my friend Sverre to Japan. One major issue we had, which is going to sound very stupid now, is his walking pace. He is a fast walker, he thinks he walks normal, or that I walk slowly, but after asking all of our common friends about how he walks, I'm pretty sure that I'm right about this. I tried to walk as fast as he did, just to try it out, and I realised that I only walk as fast as he does, when I'm walking through a dark alley in the middle of the night, scared to death by any random person walking behind me.

Why is this important? We'll If you had tried to walk with a fast-walker you would know. What's the point of taking a stroll with someone if you're not actually walking TOGETHER? Also, you know that feeling when you're seeing something for the first time, and you think "Wow, I'm in  [ insert country your visiting for the first time in your life ]? When I saw Japan, 5 meters in front of me, I would always see the back of a hipster looking dude called Sverre.

We've been friends for about 10 years, so we're not afraid to let each other know if there's something bothering us. So, we had a little discussion about his walking pace, he tried to walk slower, I tried to walk faster, and eureka, we could finally walk together. And then we walked over to a photo booth.

Had a go at the purikura machines in Tokyo, Japan, which are photo booths where you can make photo stickers with your own doodles .

We also talked a lot before travelling about what we wanted to do, what kind of places we wanted to check out, and about how important communication would be on this trip, especially since we're so different on some things. I think I'm more into weird things then him, because I wanted to check out Japans weirdest bars like "Alcatraz ER", where they combine prison and hospital into a "mรฉlange of blood and bizarreness" (Geek.com) and a place called "Office" (which by the way wasn't that weird at all).

Ideally you should travel with someone who you don't have to compromise with, who loves all the weird stuff you love etc. However - I don't regret travelling with Sverre, because we did have many of the same goals for this trip, like eating good food, singing karaoke in Tokyo, visiting grand temples, hanging out in the bamboo forrest in Kyoto and meeting new friends. And even though we didn't go to "Alcatraz ER" (and to be honest I was a little afraid to go there anyway, and that's probably why I didn't fight for it), we did go to "Office", we went to a robot show, and we slept at a capsule hotel. And that's weird and wonderful enough for me.

Embracing Japan to the fullest, not far from Shibuya.

I guess my conclusion is this, and now I feel like I've tricked you with my How to-header, but I really thought I would have a blueprint you could follow, but fuck that, life isn't that easy, it's complex, people are complex, and so: It's not so much about finding the right travel buddy, it's more about finding out what kind of a person YOU are, and what needs you have. If you find a person who you experience magical things with, then stick with them, even if they walk way faster than you.

Want more Japan?

Comments

  1. You're right. Having the right travel buddy can make or break a trip! Good thing it's not something to worry about when you travel solo!

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    1. Hear hear, that's why I also solo travel a lot! :P

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  2. I totally agree. Travelling with the right person makes a trip awesome.The wrong one and yeah...not great!

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    1. Mhm! With the wrong person even communication can be challenging.

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  3. OMG, this is such a dicey post to write! I'm scared to even comment on it with my own experiences, for fear of offending someone. Suffice to say, I spent a lot of years traveling solo, and actually loving it. I think that says more about me than my travel buddies ;)

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    1. Haha, I know! Hoping one of the seven girls don't read this, but that incident was soooo many years ago :P I love travelling solo as well, I was supposed to go to Japan alone, but am glad my friend, Sverre, joined me. Not sure going to the robot show alone would have been the same without him.

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  4. Couldn't agree more with your final assessment. I'm prone to anxiety so I've come to realise that I can be a truly terrible travel buddy... My poor boyfriend. I'm working on it :)

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    1. Aaaaw, I'm sure your boyfriend loves travelling with you!

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  5. This is so true. I had lots of buddies and sometimes it was good and some other times we were just both suffering with each other

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    1. Yeah, and you're not supposed to suffer on vacation. That's why, if I'm travelling with someone I haven't travelled with before, we alway have a serious talk before. It works!

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  6. The right travel buddy is so essential to a successful and stress-free trip! I'm not into travelling in large groups. While growing up, my parents insisted we travel with friends and family and I remember being disappointed the entire trip. I like travelling solo or maybe with another friend who has similar tastes.

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    1. Agreed, that group have to be either very special - or det trip has to be very short, If were going to make it work. I have travelled with my familiy to Pakistan (to visit more family) and I always go a little cray at some point, bit that’s because I’m a person who needs her space!

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  7. Completely agree, having the right travel partner is so important and can make or break a trip. Me and my fiance have travelled together for the last 5 years and thankfully we work ๐Ÿ˜

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    1. So happy to hear that! It would be so sad if you had a fiance who you loved but who you couldn’t stand on vacations ๐Ÿ˜…

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  8. Such a great post! While it's hard to admit, there are some people that you just shouldn't travel with. haha. Some friends are great for lunch, others are great for long weekends. just gotta vibe the right way! I am personally selfish and just enjoy traveling by myself so I can whatever I want. haha

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    1. Haha, true that! It’s great that we have the opportunity to choose anyway!๐Ÿ˜Š

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  9. This is a totally needed post !! Just fabulous! I so Agree on all of it ! I’ve has some compatible travel buddies and some not so much !

    Thx for sharing great tips !

    Valerie

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  10. Yes! Having the right travel buddy is essential to having a good trip. I've found that some people are really busy travelers who like to cover a lot of ground while others are more of the relax and lounge around type. Mixing those two types is a disaster! I tend to do a lot of managing expectations before we go and it helps!

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    1. Yeah, I think so to, that those to types can be an unlucky combination! Managing expections is the way to go:)

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  11. I always travel with my husband! he is the best travel buddy!

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