The Importance Of Picking The Right Travel Companions

TL;DR: People who don’t have permanent travel companions (spouses, significant other, friends, family, etc.), at some point in their life faced this problem where they didn’t get along well with the companions they traveled with. This is why picking your travel companions with the same interests as you do is as important as planning your trip. 

The Painstaking Process of Planning

You’re planning a trip to your dream destination, a place that had been on your wishlist for a very long time. Since its your dream destination, you start planning for it months (probably a year) in advance as you want to make your dream trip as perfect as possible. You usually start by taking inspiration from your family or friends who’ve already visited your dream destination or browse hundreds of social media pages and blogs to finally settle down with an itinerary that truly pleases you. Sounds simple but it definitely isn’t. There are so many factors that need to be accounted for while generating your itinerary, the most important ones being, an itinerary must fit with your travel dates, the activities you want to do and the places you want to visit.

Like in every project in a corporate world, this is the most important step that to make sure your trip turns out be a success.

Things Will Go Wrong – That’s OK!

Making the perfect plan is something that I have followed very strictly over the years, yet there have been times when I wasn’t satisfied with my trip. Some of the most common reasons that have spoiled my hardwork of planning a trip are flight delays, bad weather, unsual amount of traffic, huge crowds, rental car troubles, wrong travel companions and the most recent one ofcourse – COVID-19. No matter how perfect your plan is, things go wrong for so many unforeseen reasons.

These problems can be categorized into two – Out of your control and In your control. Quite simple, isn’t it?

As you may have already guessed, flight delays, traffic, crowds, COVID-19 are all out of your control and there’s absolutely no point in being bummed out due to these problems. That’s OK! What you should try and focus instead, is how you can adapt to these sudden changes and still make your trip enjoyable – which, to be honest, I’m still learning.

The last one though, Wrong Travel Companions, is totally in your hands to control. People undermine this so much during their planning phase and end up regretting it during their trip.

Some Worst Experiences

While planning for a trip I used to have this dilemma of “Who do I travel with?”. And due to my desperation for traveling, I would pick any of my friends who were willing to go. This is why those trips I took went all wrong. Here are my two experiences from the trips that I took in the past to help you understand better. I promise to keep it short.

Back in October 2018 during Thanksgiving weekend, we went to the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee (United States). Since it was a 4-day weekend I felt we would have enough time to explore the National Park, go on Hiking Trails, and roam around in the town of Gatlinburg. At least that’s what I had planned for. But since our travel dates coincided with Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day sales, some of the friends I traveled with wanted to shop the sales. Which meant spending a full day at a shopping mall when instead we could’ve explored this new place we all traveled to. Not only this, but not everyone was a morning person like me. So every single day, we would be ready to leave our Airbnb only in the afternoon. Thus losing a precious number of daylight hours and leaving us with fewer hours to explore so many places and do so many activities on the itinerary.

Another example of when it didn’t go well with me and my travel companions was when we went to Yosemite National Park, California (United States). For me, going to Yosemite had been on my wishlist for a very long time. All I wanted to do there was spend as much time as possible in the park and do as many hikes as possible. I was so determined to do the hikes that I even started training my body months ago. Again, that was my initial plan. On the contrary, one of my friends whom I traveled with had no intention of hiking. A quarter way into our first hike on the very first day, the one who had no interest in hiking started showing signs of how unfit she was. In turn, slowing us down. After somehow we completed our hike, looking at the tired and sore bodies, we had to exclude all of our remaining hikes from the rest of our plan. 

Two trips, when we didn’t have a single uncontrollable problem were spoilt because of something that I could’ve controlled. 

Picking The Right Companions – “Don’t” Overlook

After those two trips, I understood how important it is to pick the right travel companions, and the reason is quite simple too. 

Choices and Interests of each person matters. 

Even though you’re traveling as a group, if there’s even one person who does not share the same interests as the rest in the group, then there are going to be conflicts. A conflict, arising from just one person can tend to spoil the experience for everyone in the group.

From the first experience above, I was that person – The Conflict Creator. I had no interest in shopping while on a vacation. All I wanted to do was to spend quality time exploring a new place. From the second experience, however, the person who had no interest in hiking was The Conflict Creator. Imagine a scenario where we remove these two people from these two trips, they would’ve been much better.

Conclusion

After these two experiences, and learning a valuable lesson from them, I always started giving more importance – probably as much as the planning phase – to picking the right travel companions. 

My initial dilemma of “Who do I travel with?” is now changed to “Who are the right people who would love to do the same activities as I have planned for?”

I hope you liked my post, please let me know in the comments if you did.

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