How to choose the perfect travel companion.

Having now travelled to 30 countries, many of which were on my own, I’m a big advocate of solo travel. I believe everyone should try travelling alone at least once (even if it’s just to a new city in their home country). But there are a few downsides to travelling alone: hefty single person supplements on package holidays, all your photos being squinty selfies and not having someone special to share that beautiful sunset with.

Of course, having a travel buddy eliminates all these problems. But the person you choose to venture with could either make or break your trip – therefore it’s important to think about where you’re planning to go and what you want to do once you’re there, then consider who’d be the best person to accompany you.

I was recently chatting with one of my best friends, TJ, about where else we’d both like to visit, and when. Her and I have been friends for nearly eight years now, and have been away together a few times, including an all-inclusive holiday in Turkey and a couple of long weekends in Amsterdam and Barcelona. We also lived together for a year, so I know we’d get along fine if we travelled together somewhere.

But as TJ works in a school, she can only travel during school holidays. And as I’d rather not travel during school holidays (because it’s more expensive, there are kids everywhere and, when working a 9-5 job, I’d rather let others in my office with kids take the time off), she’s not really a possible travel partner at the moment, unfortunately.

But it got me thinking, who would make the perfect travel buddy? I’ve outlined a few tips below to help ensure that you pick the right person to take on your next trip.

1. Always discuss want you want to get out of the trip.

Everyone travels differently. While some prefer leisurely afternoons spent wandering around museums with pit stops at local cafes, others might rather a trip bursting with non-stop action and adventure (ziplining in Puerto Rico anyone?). Then there are those that like to travel as part of a large, chauffeur-driven tour group, and the travellers that want to just lounge by a pool for a week, drinking cocktails. None of these “travel styles” are right or wrong, they’re just different.

So before you book anything, talk to your potential travel buddy (or buddies) about each of your styles and your priorities for the trip. This should allow you to create an itinerary that suits everyone (and avoids any arguments while away). I’ve found it helpful to chat with my travel companions about “must-dos” and “must-sees” – activities that encompass the day-to-day of a trip. It may be that the person you wanted to come on the trip with you isn’t that interested in the things you want to do; in which case, you may be better off taking the trip on your own (or finding another friend to go with).

Take my friend Laura, for example: she travels just as much as me, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. If with friends, she has a two sets of friends she travels with: there’s her friend Nat, who (like Laura) likes to plan and book excursions ahead of the trip, and then there is her group of school friends, who prefer to pick a destination and let the itinerary just fall into place once there. Laura has had some amazing trips with both sets of friends, from Icelandic pony trekking in Iceland to safariing in South Africa. She accepts their different travel styles, and makes sure they choose an appropriate destination.

But would Laura make a good travel buddy for me? In some respects yes, I think we’d get along – we both like outdoorsy activities and we both like sightseeing. But she doesn’t blog (or even use social media) so I think she’d tire very quickly of me having to take a million pictures of a statue or my food to put on Instagram. She also has fair skin and red hair, so isn’t a massive fan of hot tropical climates – whereas I’m a sun junkie and will take trips far and wide to find the most beautiful beach.

Should we travel together? Probably not. Instead we’ll stick to catch-ups in the city over cocktails.


2. Always discuss your budget.

Some people like to bum their way from hostel to hostel and have picnics instead of eating at restaurants. Others prefer to splurge on hotels with at least fours stars and room service. Again, there’s no right or wrong way for travelling – it all comes down to individual budgets and preferences. Whether you’re doing hostels or hotels, budget airlines or business class, comprehensive or standard travel insurance, your budget will really affect your trip, and ultimately who you should go with. It’s hard to travel with someone when you’re arguing about money and can’t agree on where to stay, what activities you want to do and where to eat.

I was once away with a friend and half way through the trip she suddenly realised she’d unwittingly spent all her travel money, so had to resort to withdrawing money from an ATM (with the fees to do so rubbing further salt into the wound). Similarly, I’ve been the one that’s run out of cash because of an “unbudgeted for” activity (it wasn’t my fault – I just had to have that Michael Kors handbag from Macy’s in Puerto Rico).

I suggest agreeing a daily budget before booking anything, which you should try your hardest to stick to during the trip. By making sure you’re both on the same page money-wise before you go, your daily spending should not come as a surprise to either of you (and neither of you will spend beyond your means). I know it’s not always easy talking about financial matters, but trust me: having the conversation before you book a trip will save you a lot of grief – and dosh – on your getaway.


3. Always take things at a comfortable speed.

Agreeing a suitable pace is particularly important for holidays where you haven’t made any concrete plans.

If you’re traveling with someone who wants to stay in one area and explore it in depth, but you want to travel to several different cities (or even countries) in half that time, it can be a bit of a sticking point. Some people prefer to sleep in, take each day slowly and visit every corner of a place before leaving, while others might choose to be up at the crack of dawn because they have a shorter time frame or simply prefer being busy all the time.


Have a conversation about how much you want to accomplish each day, how quickly you plan to travel through each location, and how often you plan to relax. An overzealous itinerary could result in discontent for both of you, so build in some downtime to recover from a travel day, and be mindful of how each item on the itinerary could effect the next.

Maybe rethink your plans for a sunrise hike after a boozy night out – unless you’re like me and can function on only a few hours sleep? When in Brussels a few years back I managed a mammoth four-hour walk from the hotel in the city centre to the Atomium, after drinking beer solidly all of the previous day. My travel buddy Solo was flagging though, so in hindsight we probably should have done something a little gentler that day.

4. Always think about your personality types and circumstances.

Imagine, your single friend wants to check out a new club to see what the local talent is like, but you (who’s happily married) want to get a full eight-hours of beauty sleep so you’re fresh and ready for exploring the next day. You decide to part ways, and your friend goes clubbing into the wee hours in search of a holiday romance, while you snore your head off in your hotel room. Come the morning, your friend is still snoozing (potentially with a Pedro in the room), while you’re up and ready to go. And so your whole day seems ruined, your trip is ruined, you’re bitter and annoyed and spend the rest of the holiday not talking to your former friend.

Sounds extreme, but trust me, it can happen. Therefore, to fully enjoy your trip, make sure you pick a travel buddy who’s on the same schedule and same personal situation as you.

Similarly, consider your personalities. Are you an energetic, go-go-go type or do you prefer to take things easy, ambling along at a snail’s pace? Type A personalities are all about the action, while Type B people prefer to “be in the moment” and savour every step of the trip. It’s quite possible that someone can be both types, too. For example, when I’m on a short city break I like to cram in as much as I can, but if I’m in an all-inclusive resort I’m happy to just hang by the pool do nothing. It all depends on the type of trip and the country I’m going to.

Keep in mind yours and your friend’s personality types and personal situations when you’re deciding whether they’d make a good travel companion. Test it out on day trips and weekends away in your home country first, like my friend Bambi and I have done. We did day trips to Brighton and the Mayfield Lavender farm in Surrey, then went on holiday together (where we got to know each other a whole lot more).


Writer Mark Twain once said: “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” I guess like most things in life, it’s hard to know who will you’re perfect travel companion until you’ve actually ventured somewhere together. But these tips should help you determine how compatible you and your potential travel pal are.

One thing’s for certain, whoever you end up travelling with, and wherever you go together, the best part is that you’re seeing the world, having new and life-changing experiences, and learning things (about your destination, your friend and yourself) along the way.


137 thoughts on “How to choose the perfect travel companion.

  1. In theory the idea of travelling alone seems fab, however my brain would go into complete meltdown. I love the process you’ve taken to find out your perfect travel buddy. I think it doesn’t really work if you and that person don’t want to do the same things.

    1. Travelling solo isn’t for everyone, I know that – but sometimes travelling with someone can make things difficult too. You don’t get to do what you want to do, you sacrifice things to make others happy. I’ve learnt a lot over the last couple of years since upping my travel game lol x

  2. Some great advice. It’s always tough travelling with other people. I’ve done the being honest and talking about it but never thought to go as far as thinking about personality types.

    1. It’s definitely worth considering, as personality types can clash, and then you could end up stuck on holiday with someone who wants something completely different from the experience! x

  3. I went to India when i was younger and it was set up by a company that organised volunteer work. I met the girl that I would be travelling at the airport and a month after us being there she went home, it wasn’t for her which left me working and then travelling on my own. The experience was good but it wasn’t the same on my own, I was always on guard if that makes sense x

    1. Makes total sense Jenni – especially in a country like India, where westerners on their own can get hassled A LOT. I hope it hasn’t put you off travelling alone entirely though x

  4. Great tips! I’ve been on holiday before which each of our budgets were completely different, and it kind of ruined it for one person, as they’d run out of money come day 2 or 3 and feel like they can’t enjoy the rest!

    Kayleigh x

    1. Sadly it’s more common than you think – a similar situation happened to me. I asked where all the money had gone, as we’d been doing exactly the same activities and eating roughly the same priced food, and I found out they’d been tipping the cleaning lady the equivalent of £20 a day. Obviously it’s nice to tip (especially so generously), but at that amount for 7 days, of course you’re going to run out of money fast, which made me feel bad for wanting to do other activities and them not having the cash for it 🙁 x

  5. All these points are so true, especially the one about budget. I made the mistake of not discussing this with a friend before our trip together because we’d known each others for years and since we’d agreed on the restaurants and activities so it should be ok… Boy was I wrong! Halfway through the trip, she’d bought so many clothes that she’s ran out of money AND space in her luggage. I had to pay for both of us and carry her stuff around for another couple of weeks. Needless to say, I’m off to Korea next week and will be staying there for a few months. Alone. Haha!

  6. I never had the chance to travel alone properly save for visits to see family and friends in other countries but I love the idea. Now I’m married with kids so my main travel buddy is hubby and kids. However these tips will be useful to most people- even on family holidays I choose to skip activities I’m not interested in and vice versa.

  7. I absolutely love this post because I agree with each and every point. Not every close friend or person necessarily makes for a good travel partner. I like how you mention about your friend who has two sets of travel buddies with completely different travel styles and she enjoys with both, picking her destination accordingly. Finding a good travel partner can definitely make or break the experience or at least affect it in a big way.

    1. Yes, I think it’s great that she has two different sets of travel companions, and can plan adventures with each, depending on where they want to go and what they want to do 🙂 x

  8. I think this is so important! My friend and I planned our dream trip this summer then two other people asked to join and we had to turn both down because we just knew that they were looking for something different to us. It was incredibly awkward and we don’t talk much anymore but we knew it was right for us and we didn’t want to go on an expensive holiday with people we weren’t sure about going with.

    1. Thanks for the comment Laura – I’m glad to hear you stood your ground and didn’t allow them to join the trip. It sounds harsh turning someone down, especially a friend, but if you just know that they’re going to travelling differently to you, you don’t want to potentially ruin your trip by allowing them to come along x

  9. I would love to be able to travel someday with a friend, as much as I love my partner sometimes travelling with a really good friend is different and nice in a way. These are some really good tips about finding the best travel companion though. When I go to different countries I always want to be very active and see a lot, so finding someone with similar interests is important!

    1. Thanks Kaz! Maybe when the kids are all grown up and you’re “free” again, you’ll be able to put some of these tips into use when looking for a travel pal 🙂 x

  10. I definitely would love to travel alone but I just wouldn’t be able to cope, mainly because I have an awful sense of direction and would probably get lost. By the sounds of things, my perfect travel buddy would be my mum! I’m sure she’d love it if she travelled the world with me.

    1. It’s funny that you say that, but my perfect travel buddy is usually my mum too (in fact she’s even in one of the pics above!). And we’re going on another trip in 5 weeks to Dominican Republic x

  11. Having the same travel style is super important. My mummy remembers going away with friends and all they wanted to do was lazy by the pool and she wanted adventure! It was a long and boring holiday!!

    1. I like to travel alone as well. Sometimes on group holidays you can be let down at the last minute or it be a holiday from hell. At least if you are alone you can spend as much time in places as you would like!

    1. Travelling alone is easier, as you don’t have to compromise anything and you only have to please yourself – but I agree, it’s nice to share some things with people x

  12. I love the idea of just taking off and travelling, once upon a time I would have definitely done it had I been in the right head space, these day my mobility lets me down but maybe one day I will and I’ll have to remember these tips for picking someone to travel with.

  13. They say that travel makes it more worthwhile and enjoyable when shares with correct people as your companion can make or break your travel too. Also, for me it is really advisable to go on a trip alone once in a while.

  14. Ach – picking the right travel partner is an absolute minefield and SO important – your best friends in life can be the worst travel companions and there’s really no way to find out until you’re thrown into the deep end with them, is there? To be honest, I travel on my own most of the time too, to avoid the hassle! x

  15. You’re totally right about thinking what you want from a holiday. I do like to prepare and plan as much as I can especially for shorter trips and this doesn’t work for everyone x

    1. It’s great to have plans, I agree – but do you ever just go somewhere and have no plans whatsoever? I’m going to Dominican Republic in a few weeks, and haven’t researched anything!! x

  16. It’s so hard to find someone that loves to travel the same way as you. My husband is the perfect travel companion for me, and now so is our daughter 🙂

  17. Such a great post 🙂 .. When I started dating my boyfriend , before taking things forward I also wanted to test if we r good travel couple and we took one month trip to South America .. He passed 🙂

  18. What great advice a very well thought out list of what to look for when travelling with someone!! I love going away with my husband hes a great travel partner for me!

  19. Very interesting. It’s quite logical actually, but I guess most people (me the first) never ask these kind of questions! It’s good to discover what everyone expects and see if there is a match (or a mismatch) ! I love solo travel as well, but I started to also enjoy travelling with my 2 best friends; maybe more people to come 😉

    1. Glad you found the article interesting – hope you ask a few questions next time you welcome someone into your travelling circle, just to be on the safe side 😉 x

  20. Always think about your personality types and circumstances. – Such an important point – Like you, I prefer to travel solo but there are times it’d good to have a friend traveling with you. I have one friend who is basically me, he will call me sometimes and ask where in the world I am and just come and join me, it works because we like the same things, want to do the same and go at the same speed. I’ve traveled with other people (even an ex-girlfriend) and clashed at times because we’ve wanted different things. P.S not sure if you’ve been nominated before but gonna nominate you for blogger recognition award (will get round to it next week sometime haha)

  21. I think you raise some really good points about evaluating whether someone else is a suitable travelling companion. Some people assume that because you like someone’s company that you can travel with them easily. I have many friends that I would never travel with because they would drive me insane! And I have been stuck with travelling companions on the road who really got on my nerves, and I was so grateful when I could finally shake them off. Solo travel is definitely my favourite mode by far.

  22. aaw, i loved this post. I actually agree with you on all your points. I wish I had had this insight years ago when I had planned a vacation with a friend who was definitely NOT compatible. We had changed too much over the year and now I no longer talk too from a sour vacation. I agree, personality is important and it is key to plan out where to go beforehand. cool post.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience with an old friend when travelling – though sadly I don’t think you’re the only one to have this kind of experience 🙁 x

  23. I have never actually traveled on my own. I think it’s a bit risky. On another side, it can be tricky to travel with someone even if you know them and get on really well.

  24. These are all great points everyone should think of before they book a trip. At the moment I travel with my teenage daughter who loves exploring countries as much as me. I’m not sure what I’ll do when she’s a bit older and is off travelling without me though.

  25. This article made me think and you are right. It is important who you go with! I travel with my fiance but to be honest there are places I want to go but cant because he isnt as adventurous as me and I would be better travelling to these places alone or my trip (and his) wouldnt be enjoyable (other than the company of course!)

  26. I used to be more picky about who I traveled with then I went into a ‘I’m down to travel with anyone’ phase. But one trip showed me that I should be a bit more picky with who I travel with. This one particular person was okay to hang out with back home but when it came to traveling, everything about us was so different: what we liked to eat, where to sleep, how to get around. It just did not work. Wish I saw this article before that haha

    1. I know exactly what you mean Jojo – someone might be ok to hang out with at home, to watch a movie with or go for a few drinks with after work, but travelling with them is a completely different kettle of fish! I hope these tips help you choose your next travel companion more carefully (as I know I will be a lot more picky about mine) 😉 x

  27. I was planning a dream trip to England and Scotland that I’d been yearning for for ten years. I invited a friend to go, and we carefully and meticulously covered all of the points in this article. We spent almost two months preparing and agreeing on the itinerary, accomodations, costs, pace of the trip, whether we preferred to drive slower and more carefully or faster, how long we each thought we’d need in the bathroom each morning – you name it. All systems were GO! About ten days before departure she asked if her sister could join us. It put me in an extremely awkward position, as we were going to be spending one week of the three week trip with my relatives in England. My brain was screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”, but part of me thought that since they were sisters they wouldn’t be that different and it would all be good. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The sister was bossy, impatient and rude and though she had not spent one single minute on the itinerary she quickly intervened and took over. She was a reckless driver and burst a tire, scraped up a fender and smoked constantly in the rental car. It was all totally preventable had she slowed down and thought about what she was doing instead of cowboying her way through the UK. It immediately turned into a two’s company, three’s a crowd scenario and I was blatantly left out of discussions and even the fun stuff. I was physically there, but they acted as if I didn’t exist. Blood is thicker than water was the order of the day. I ended up separating from them after one week and had to come home rather than continue alone; reason being a handicap that makes it OK when I’m with others but not OK when I’m alone. It cost me about $2,500 extra to get home; I’d purchased non-refundable tickets because I bought them when I thought it would just be two of us. I could (and people have told me I should) write a screenplay on the trip from hell that would trump Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon by a longshot. One friendship is shattered (I never was and never will be friends with the sister) and I ended up apologizing daily and profusely to my relatives and friends in the UK for the constant rude and inappropriate behaviors of two people that obviously couldn’t have cared less that I was even there. Lesson learned the hard way. Please, if you are ever put in a similar situation don’t be chicken about turning someone down if it doesn’t feel right in your gut. My trip was ruined and it will be years before I can afford to do it again. I will wait five years until my husband retires and has the time to go for three or four weeks. Never, ever again will I travel with a last minute travel companion.

    1. Oh wow Carole, what a story – thank you so much for sharing your experience with me, and sorry that you had to go through all of that! It sounds like a total nightmare, definitely a contender to trump the Griswald family holiday to Europe, sadly 😔 sometimes learning the hard way is the only way unfortunately – i have my fingers and toes crossed for you for the trip with the husband!!

  28. This is a brilliant post, and I can totally relate to everything you wrote. It’s so great you also used real friends here as it adds more depth to the piece. After travelling with one best friend to Mallorca, I had the worse time, and as much as I love her, we weren’t in sync on anything! Budget, activities, even going out! It was a nightmare, and I’ve since dodged travelling together since!

  29. I love this article! Having the right travel companion is key! I mostly travel solo but once I tested a hardcore trip to India with one of my closest friends and we had the best of time no matter the many difficulties on the road!

  30. I think when you find your travel buddy you’re the luckiest person in the world! It’s really hard. There are so many excuses and always is something – no money, no time, they don’t like the destination and the excuse and the question that I hate the most – why now? Ohh, I hate when it happens!

  31. Very good advice all around. I loved my time travelling solo but I do appreciate having Darcee with me as we venture into the world. She offers different views and perspectives and lucky for me she matches my personality with travel ideas and crazy experiences.
    However I think your #4 Always think about your personality types and circumstances should be a big part of deciding who to travel with. People are different…even people you live with or are related to. So you have to really take the time to consider their differences and whether or not you are willing to accomadate them!

  32. I’ve got some trips with friends coming up, and I can say these tips are really useful! It’s helpful to know what each person wants out of the trip, so that you don’t end up getting frustrated at one another!

  33. This is a very inspiring post – in the sense that after reading, you ask yourself – hm, what about me? With whom could I travel? I like it very much because it’s good storytelling – I like reading it and get to know you a bit; that’s a good – and unfortunately rare – quality in blogs.
    By the way: I’m travelling by myself….😉

  34. This would have been a helpful summary for me back in my “traveling with buddies” days. I think I have had experiences (mostly good and a few bad) with each of the suggestions you bring up! It’s really important to be clear upfront about expectations…makes a huge difference how smoothly your trip goes.

  35. Mark Twain: “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Isn’t this so true? I have got my travel companion since 2016 December when we met over Tinder and planned our first trip to Myanmar and life has changed even since then.

  36. interesting and well-thought article for all those who have a choice of companion 😉 I travel with my family which includes two kids besides a husband. We have been traveling extensively for last thirteen years and over the years those junior travelers have evolved so much in terms of their preferences, drama-scale, etc etc. Nevertheless it is always fun… I guess I am learning to be patient 😉

  37. In adventures that Sheila and I organize, we always make sure that our companions have the same caliber of experience as us. In mountaineering, caving, rock climbing, canyoning, etc., lives are really at stake. We don’t want to be responsible of watching over them all the time. Same with “normal” traveling. We are budget travelers, and we make sure our companions are not ones who are always looking on the luxurious side of things.

  38. You raise a lot of great points here. Being upfront with your travel partner is paramount. If you are both comfortable just going with the flow that is great. Otherwise you need to outline budget, timeframe, and what you are hoping to get out of the trip the most. A bad trip could easily end a friendship.

  39. Great tips for picking a travel buddy! I like travelling with my husband. We have very similar travel styles, can get the time off work together and budgeting is ok because we are on the same page. Right now I don’t have any friends who would be on the same page for travel… so its a good thing I have my hubby!

  40. Wow, such an original article!
    I usually travel with my boyfriend and he is kinda used to my traveling-style. Sometimes he points out that my itineraries are insane, but generally speaking he agrees with almost anything I plan. Traveling with someone else seems an extra hassle ahaha but your article made me reconsider that ^_^

  41. So true that you don’t really get to know someone until you travel with them. You see a different side to people when they’re tired and grumpy as I well remember on a trip to France with a girlfriend. Complete nightmare.

  42. I’d love to travel solo as I always have the family in tow so end up running around after everyone! In fact, I have never travelled with a friend before but would love to

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.