Five types of annoying travel partners and how to deal with them

backpackgirlsSometimes, despite the most careful screening, you may find yourself stuck with a travel partner that you just don’t mesh with. Maybe circumstance threw you together, or perhaps you just didn’t realize how much you differed in your travel styles until you were on the road together. But now, you’re locked into at least a few days of travel with this person. Here’s how to cope.

1) The “whatever you want to do is fine” travel partner.
This person allows you to do all the research and all the planning. He or she then tags along on your trip, but then has no qualms about criticizing your choices. At that point she”ll turn to you and ask for more options or ask you to make a last minute change in plans to accommodate her whims.
How to deal: Ask him or her for input on the travel plan, and if she doesn’t give you any, just plan the trip you want to take. If she later complains that she had no say in the planning, offer to go your separate ways for a few hours or few days so that you can each do what you want to do.

2) The clingy travel partner.
The clingy travel partner wants to spend all day every day together, which can be fine if you get along really well, want to do all the same things, or are traveling for a shorter period of time. But even your best friend can start to grate on your nerves after weeks on end together.
How to deal:Set boundaries ahead of time and make it clear that you expect to spend some time apart. If you need to be sneaky, plan some activities that you enjoy but that you know that person doesn’t like and tell him or her you’ll just take a few hours to yourself to go do the activity without him. Or plan to get up an hour before he does on a few mornings so you can enjoy some quiet time alone.

3) The embarrassing travel partner.
Sometimes it seems like the person you knew at home disappears once you start your trip. Suddenly he becomes intolerant, says embarrassing things, or acts like a drunken buffoon. No one is perfect, but if the behavior becomes a pattern, it’s easy to get annoyed, especially when people begin to judge you by the actions of your friend.
How to deal: Give your friend the benefit of the doubt and try to set a positive example through your own actions. If he or she doesn’t take the hint, it’s time to sit down and have talk. Don’t attack your friend but make it clear that his actions are making you uncomfortable and if they continue, you may not be able to continue traveling with him.

4) The cheapskate travel partner.
The cheapskate travel partner promises to pay his or her way, but then always seems to come up short. She skimps on the tip, shorts you on gas money and always fails on her promises to “get the next round.” You find your own budget stretched to accommodate her.
How to deal: You are being taken advantage of, plain and simple. You don’t necessarily need to have a confrontation though. When she asks you to spot her, just say that you are short yourself and don’t have the extra cash, start requesting separate checks at restaurants, and speak up. When it’s her turn to pay, say so, and don’t keep picking up the budgetary slack until she kicks in her share.

5) The over-planning travel partner.
The over-planner schedules every day down to the minute. He or she will spend the entire trip running from place to place, trying to see as much as possible. If that’s your style too, there’s no problem. But if you prefer to slow down and see less in favor of experiencing more, you’re going to have a conflict when your friend tries to drag you along on his mad-dash through the city.
How to deal: This is another time when going your separate ways for a few days or hours can save the relationship. Offer to spend one day rushing through the sites with your friend and then spend the next slowly wandering through the village or relaxing on the beach. Or divide up your days – mornings sightseeing with your friend, and afternoons on your own.

Photo Credit: Dave Schumaker via Flickr

Posted by | Comments (8)  | January 27, 2010
Category: Vagabonding Advice

8 Responses to “Five types of annoying travel partners and how to deal with them”

  1. Says:

    Great post! Sometimes traveling solo is the best way to go. This way you avoid hurt feelings and pouting!

    Numbers 1 through 3 can cause the most headaches. Travel partners don’t give any input, but get upset when they can’t see the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. They want to spend every waking moment together, even though you’d like a day to yourself sketching people and the city. Finally, their love for America comes out in full force by expecting everyone to speak English. What’s the lesson? Choose your travel partner with care.

  2. Shalabh Says:

    Going Solo? Hmm, I dont know. I have been going solo for the last 6 months and I am still not sure if thats the way to go. It would be great to share the experiences with someone.

  3. David Says:

    Just because of all these complications i prefer to travel alone.In solo trip I’m on my terms, I do whatever i like and i don’t have to compromise for anything.

  4. Randy Says:

    I’m not always out on the road, but I believe all backpackers maintain a sense of the backpacking spirit whether they’re in a waterless village or in a cube back home…

  5. GypsyGirl Says:

    If you choose to take someone with you- they become part of your experience, don’t just ‘deal’ with them- communicate. Often times you can use it as an opportunity to exercise understanding and grow further as a person.
    More often than not, I am much more content wandering my own path of exploration. However, sharing an experience with someone at your side takes on a whole other perspective.

  6. Prime Says:

    I love travelling solo as it allows me gto do and explore whatever whenever I want. But there are times that I wish I have a traveling companion. In my recent travel to Penang, I was suffering from diarrhea and menstrual cramps, and no one was helpinmg me. i thought I’ll just die alone in my hotel room, alone! I was thinking: im too old for this single-traveling-crap!

  7. brian | No Debt World Travel Says:

    The “whatever you want to do is fine” travel partner is annoying in that the planning falls to you and then they criticize everything that happens. That person is either lazy or doesn’t want to make a mistake. Either one of those is bad for a trip.

    Overplanning is bad in the sense of not allowing any spontaneity. Some people feel better knowing exactly what it going on every minute of every day, but sometimes it’s great to have a loose framework and just let things come to you. I’ve had some of the best travel experiences that way.

  8. Jo Says:

    Solo is best. Been doing it on and off for 40 years. My daughter says with a friend is best as you can talk about it later. We did one together and have never talked about it since! Solo means you have to talk to other people and hence find out more about the country and make more friends. Of course you have to be a talker and not be afraid to start up conversations. I love it! I am never afraid of not finding a bed for the night but some people like it all planned. I hate that.