12 Signs That You've Found Your Perfect Travel Buddy

12 Signs That You’ve Found Your Perfect Travel Buddy

Think you've found the perfect travel buddy? Check out if your best travel buddy fits these criteria.

Travelling with friends has always been a sort of gamble for me – because I am a firm believer that not every good friend can be the best travel companion. Perhaps you might too be familiar with the empty and loss feeling when you realize halfway through your trip (or worse, halfway through planning your trip) that your closest friends are not exactly the best personalities to travel with, and the much-anticipated adventure turns out to leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth.

Well I’ve had my fair share of that, and I was almost on the verge of starting to plan trips alone when my absolute best friend asked me to join her family vacation last December.

To put things into context, we made a pact to travel together in our early twenties and, as much as I have been scarred by the less memorable travel stories, I knew that my best friend could be the best travel buddy I have been looking for. Plus, they were planning to head to Hong Kong, the land of Dim Sum; which makes it an even more compelling offer.

Long story short, a few weeks later I found myself sitting beside my best friend on the lush seats of Singapore Airlines heading towards the bustling .The trip was absolutely fantastic (even with my broken Cantonese but hey, we all learn a little along the way), and better yet – I found the Travel Buddy I have always been looking for in the form of my best friend.

And just like any other young lover who’s gushing about finding the perfect one – here are 12 things that make the best travel buddy:

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1. Your travel buddy is your (almost) twin

In my humble opinion, the best travel buddies are people that you have the same sense of humour, same topics that you are passionate about, same adventure goals (be it to shop, eat, or have a real cultural experience) – and the list goes on. But, the two of you must be different too to complement one another.

I’m the messy traveller who has an itinerary only in her head and gets lost most of the time, and the reason my trip turned out great is because my best friend is simply much more organized than me. She got me to sit down with her and we planned a rough itinerary together, mapping out the street markets we wanted to go and the food we wanted to try. It made the trip a lot smoother and we woke up each day knowing the places that we would be visiting, without an exact timeline that we have to follow – and we both didn’t mind getting lost along the way.

And also because of that, we would not be fighting over petty things like who gets the chicken wing and who gets the drumstick (wing, her; drum, me).

2. Your travel buddy adapts well

The thing is, while we’re looking for the perfect traveling companion, they are doing the exact same thing too. So we should learn to adapt to one another’s behavior.

I’m a morning bird but I sure wouldn’t mind sleeping in a little on some days of the trip, and waking up my best friend bright and sunny on others. A balance of taking and giving in is what makes this relationship works here (and this is more platonic than you think).

3. Your travel buddy actually decides

One of my biggest pet peeves is when the other person’s only answer to every question is ‘anything, you decide’, because let’s face it – it’s a deal breaker.

Find someone who knows what he/she actually want, and like I have mentioned before, is willing to give in to you for what you want. Knowing when to let go and when to pull as though you’re playing with a kite is what that will make this precious relationship fly.

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4. Your travel buddy is a tourist, too!

I don’t know about you but as much as I genuinely enjoy exploring lesser-known places that the locals frequent, I do enjoy a healthy dosage of tourist hot spots as well. Places like Disneyland, Victoria Peak, and maybe someday the London Eye.

I know a lot of travellers these days shun these places because of how expensive and crowded it can get – but trust me, when you visit these places with the right one, you’ll only have even more fun.

5. Your travel buddy is spontaneous

Some people call it strange; I prefer the term ‘Spontaneous’. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing something a little fun to turn the beat up, especially halfway through the trip when you’re tired of just walking and exploring places.

Case in point: we wore onesies to Disneyland and pranced down the streets like superstars.

Yes, we got the weird stares and yes, people stopped us for photos. But we had so much fun along the way. Plus, wearing this fur suit at 12 degrees was the most comfortable decision we’ve made!

6. Your travel buddy is responsible

Let’s put it this way – there is nothing that irritates me more than irresponsible travellers.

Think, you’re out with your friends late one night to explore one of the bars far away from your hotel and then boom, you realize one of them went missing halfway through. Or when you guys decide to split up to do your respective shopping but when it’s time to meet, one of them decides to turn up 30 minutes later and apparently ‘did not have time to pick up the hundred phone calls you’ve made because he/she was busy’ (with what?!).

Both situations throw you into a state of panic because you’re in a foreign land and you fear for the safety of your travelling buddies because automatically, your mind will run wild about the possible situations that made them un-contactable.

So, travel with someone who understands the importance of being responsible for them and their friends’ well-being because let’s face it, I’ll be more than happy to have another 30 minutes to walk around the mall in peace if you called to tell me you’ll be late.

7. Your travel buddy knows his/her spendings

And I don’t mean in the sense that it’s not an issue to spend. What I meant is, the best travel buddy is someone who knows to pay his or her own share, and is not calculative to the last cent. As a Chinese saying goes, ‘Don’t Let Money Ruin Relationships’. It’s hard for you to ask for someone to pay up, and you’re caught in the situation where you don’t know whether to risk the friendship and ask for the money or to spend much lesser than you could during the trip.

Thankfully for me, my best friend is someone who knows to pay her own share, allows me to pay her share at times (never fight for the food bill with me – never), and does not hesitate a second to pamper me at times.

8. Your travel buddy loves food, too!

Alright, this might just be my plain gluttony but come on, when you go to a night market there are just way too many good food for you to try. So the best travelling buddy is someone who automatically feeds you with one of her piping hot curry fish balls as long as she can get a taste of the egg waffle you just ordered.

There’s now space for more food babies in your tummies and you’re both happier than ever – if this isn’t true love, then I don’t know what is.

9. Your travel buddy is an adventurer

I think that (at least for me) when we travel, there should always be an adventurous spirit in us to try new things. I really do not mind getting lost along the way and trying new things, and I certainly hope my travel buddy would be the same too.

So when my best friend and I got lost in the humongous Mong Kok for 3 hours just walking around and trying to find a cheap manicurist we spotted 2 days back, we had so much fun. At one point, we were about to give up but the inner (vainer version of) ‘Mulan’ in me was more than determined to comb every alley to find that manicurist. And eventually, we did. Plus, we stumbled upon Mr Softee. Ice Cream truck along the way, so it’s all good.

10. Your travel buddy loves an unglamorous moment

You know, the best people are often the ones with a great sense of humour. Well at least for me. That’s why when it comes to taking pictures, I would very much prefer taking a comedic approach to it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am always up for one of those artistically angled Instagram-worthy shots but since I have a knack at being photographed during my less charming moments, I have developed a love of having unglamorous and fun pictures taken. If you can’t beat them, join them, right?

That is why having a travel buddy who understands that and is unafraid to join in the fun is important to me – after all, how many people can say they had an Oscar-worthy shot like this?

11. Your travel buddy is not a chicken

Aside from that being a literal statement, travel with someone who is willing to go out of his/her comfort zone to try new things. For me, well, I took things to new heights.

Let’s just say that I have never been a big fan of roller-coasters but given that I was with the right travel buddy, I didn’t mind taking a risk and sitting one. Turns out, the adrenaline rush is very real. That being said, I know that I am still bounded by my fear of heights and so, the best travel buddy for me is someone that I can say no to and would never call me a chicken for it.

12. Your travel buddy is not a judge

travel buddy

Well, not literally. Most important trait for me – travel with someone who will not judge you. Be it whether it’s that you snore and sleep-talk (my best friend now has a recording of me doing both) or your really dry humour (evidently), he/she should never judge you for it.

After all, this person is someone that you are going to spend days at a foreign land with and it’s essential that you can still be yourself and has some fun in your own definitions (as long as you stay responsible, I cannot emphasize this enough).

Well, there we go. These are the top 12 traits that I feel makes a good travel buddy. Feel free to share with us any other things that we should look out for, and in the meantime, remember – you can make a friend out of a travel buddy, but it’s trickier to find a travel buddy in a friend.

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About Author

Nataline Chui

She's not the most well-traveled, but she sure spends a lot of time dreaming about it. One day, she will head to Europe with her luggage in one hand and her best friend in another. The only way to make her blush is when you tell her she has a great sense of humour.