We all have those friends: the ones we know really well and love to hang out with, but that we just know we could never live with or work with. It’s a fact of life — people have different living and working styles. That’s why such careful consideration goes into choosing roommates, choosing business partners, accepting a new job, and deciding when it’s time to move in with a significant other.
Such thought-out decision-making is usually reserved for those biggies, but the fact of the matter is that a smaller issue — deciding to travel with someone new — deserves almost the same level of preparedness. Whether it’s a new bae, a new friend, or just a squad you’ve never traveled with before, there’s a ton to consider when taking the plunge to vacation together. We’re breaking down seven factors you should definitely consider before committing to taking a trip with a new companion.
As obvious as this one may seem, it demands to be put at the top of the list for sheer practicality reasons. Budgeting a trip is of the utmost importance (even if that means your budget rule is to not have a budget — lucky you!), and it’s crucial to be on the same page as your travel buddy. Everyone sets aside different amounts of money for trips, and everyone has important reasoning why. Make sure you discuss these issues firsthand — everything from plane ticket costs to daily meal plans, and make sure you can at least compromise on where to save and where to splurge.
2. Travel Accommodations
Especially when traveling abroad, most people have preferences when it comes to where they lay their head at night. Are you a hostel-hopping adventurer? Maybe you’re a frequent guest at a big hotel chain. Or maybe you honestly just don’t care. Whatever your preferences, make sure you communicate them with your travel bud — it can make or break whether or not you can travel together.
Although time spent in the airport is pretty minimal in the grand scheme of an entire trip together, it’s an important piece of the puzzle. How early do you like to get there before your flight? Are you a member of an airline club? Is it non-negotiable that you sit in first class? Are you going to drink on the plane? Everyone has different airline travel habits, and it can get real awkward real fast if your companion has different expectations.
For me, one of the best parts of a vacation is — wait for it — the napping part. I don’t get to take siestas on normal workdays, so it’s a definite luxury for me to get to do so in my downtime. However, some people would much rather sit with a coffee and a book to unwind, and some may prefer to skip out on the relaxation as a whole. Are you of the mindset that a trip should maximize time spent soaking up the local flavor? Do you need to chill? When traveling and exploring, recharging time is important to your own self-care (and to the health of your relationship with your travel partner!), so make sure you know what you need before you really need it.
You and your bud might both be super pumped for Paris, but what does Paris mean to each of you individually? Does it mean museums and tourist spots? Maybe a winery tour and huge meals? Or maybe it means long walks along the Seine and a nap under the Eiffel Tower. It’s important to consider exactly what you hope to put on the itinerary, so make yourself a list of non-negotiable must-dos — then share it!
Some people love to drown themselves in local cuisine, but some people can’t stand the thought of a day without their pocket snack faves. Some people have no fear when it comes to trying a new meal, and some people would rather stick to old favorites. Be clear about your own dietary needs, and don’t forget that budget factors into this one big-time too.
7. Alone Time
Similar to downtime, your own requirements for some you-time can make or break a trip or vacation. Remember when Rory Gilmore went to Europe with her grandma? Every afternoon, Rory went off to explore on her own while Grandma Emily took a little snooze. While their relationship as a whole was far from perfect, this is an excellent example of making the most of alone time while away. Some need stimulation, some need to chill out, and some don’t need to be alone at all. My own personal nightmare? Finding out my future husband would rather go on runs together instead of taking a nap. The horror!
Here’s the moral of the story: Traveling with someone new can be frustrating, enlightening, or stressful — but hopefully it’s worth it. It’s best to be aware of potential issues, talk them through, and then move past them. Know which issues you’re willing to compromise on and which you’re not. But most of all? Have a blast. Traveling is one of the best parts of living, and it would suck to ruin it with disagreements.