Friends You Should Travel With (And Those You Shouldn’t)
One of the finest things in a gentleman’s life is travel. We are huge fans of travel for the eye-opening, mind-expanding, life-enriching opportunities it provides. And like a few of the other great pleasures in life, travel can be even better when shared with others. Like a great meal, a moving film or a fine bottle of whiskey, travel can be enjoyed alone, but it’s also incredible when shared. Just like all enjoyments, however, the right company can make or break the experience. You think it’s annoying when your friend talks through the whole movie? Try surviving their running commentary for an entire vacation. Read on for the good, bad and the ugly of traveling companions.
Those to Take Along
If you’re a little older, going on a trip with your buds from school is a great way to celebrate that you’re not broke students anymore. As friends during such a big time in your life, you’re going to have some great stories to reminisce about and it’s good to find out what your friends have been up to since. And, because your college friends have seen you at your craziest, they’re ready for anything and more likely to agree to any wild opportunities that come up. Just make sure Frank the Tank isn’t invited.
One of the best parts of travel is the food. From trying some of your favorite regional and ethnic foods in the places they were created to drinking your favorite beer right at the brewery, travel takes you right to the food. And to get the most of that opportunity, you need to bring a foodie friend or two. A friend who’s also a food enthusiast can help identify the best places to eat and the local cuisines you have to try, and is more likely to be flexible about where you go to eat; trust us, there’s nothing worse than traveling with a picky eater who isn’t adventurous when it comes to sampling new foods. Bonus points if your friend also knows their beer, wine and spirits; there’s no better way to sample the local beverage culture than to travel with somebody who knows the ins and outs of liquor.
Your well-traveled friend
Something always go wrong traveling, and it’s nice having someone along who’s seen it all before. From lost bags to lost reservations, you want to bring a friend who knows what to do. Your well-traveled friend will know how to get better prices on hotel rooms, ask for upgrades or even cash in some loyalty points if you stay at a hotel chain they frequent often. If you’re taking a more “exotic” vacation, and heading to someplace that’s underdeveloped or even dangerous, a friend who knows how to get around can keep you safe (for instance, reminding you not to drink the water). Bonus points if they speak the language, even a little.
Your adventuresome friend
Bring along the friend with the “Sure, why not?” attitude. From the unexpected chance to do something exciting to trying local food that’s not what you normally eat, you want to bring guys that are flexible and willing to try whatever. This means being served your meal only to find a tentacle in it, and it also covers the chance to go whitewater rafting. If you bring people who’ll try anything, you’re far more likely to try some thrilling stuff. And in the end, that’s how the best memories are made.
Those to Leave Behind
The socially inept
Whether it’s boring conversation or good old-fashioned cultural insensitivity, don’t bring the guy who’s going to shut down every interesting conversation you get into. If you have the chance to meet new people, either from across the state or across the globe, you want to be able to learn about them and the area. Opportunities to have dinner in somebody’s home or to tour their business and see something amazing often come from getting complete strangers to open up to you, and that’s not going to happen if your buddy can’t carry a conversation in a bucket. You saw The Hangover, right? Don’t bring Alan.
People from work
It might seem like a good idea at first, but believe us, you don’t want to bring friends from work with you. Sure, you like them, but vacation is the time to refresh and explore. The last thing you want to do is be reminded of your day-to-day existence, let alone have to have conversations about work. There are a few situations where you’ll be forced to travel with people you work with (conventions), and in those cases you’ll want to be polite and go out for a nice dinner with them, but probably nothing more. These generally aren’t people you want to go out drinking with, and some coworkers’ idea of an exotic meal is going to Olive Garden. Just keep your work life and travel life separate and you’ll be much better off.
The guy who doesn’t know when to stop
Don’t bring the guy who is always going overboard. Traveling is the perfect time to cut loose, but too much of a good thing usually leads to problems. You don’t want to babysit friends who have had too much to drink and even provoked a fight because they forgot what “I have a boyfriend” means. Drinking is fun, but do you want to miss your early morning deep-sea fishing adventure because your friend couldn’t put on the brakes? Again? Didn’t think so.
The guy with the obsessive wife/girlfriend/mom
If you’re on a trip that your significant other couldn’t make or wasn’t invited to, you should definitely be checking in with her. It’s the right thing to do and no matter how cool your girlfriend is, she’s going to wonder if you’re OK, at least occasionally. But you also shouldn’t bring the guy who racks up $200 in international calling charges because he has to call home with the same regularity as they put the numbers in that machine on Lost. Unless, of course, you want to spend most of the trip listening to one half of a phone call, while he checks in for the seventh time today.
Enjoy the company you keep
Of course, these are rules of thumb (they aren’t etched in stone). People are complex, and your friends are going to be a mix of good and bad qualities. When you’re planning your trip, keep this in mind: These people will be your reference point. You’re going into unfamiliar territory and you’ll be away from home, away from the things you know. The people you bring with you will be the constant throughout your trip, the one thing from home you bring with you, and that will flavor your whole vacation. Make sure the people you bring will make the experience even richer for their presence.