Why I Love Travelling with My Low-Maintenance Travel Partner

What I Appreciate Most About My Low-Maintenance Travel Partner

Spoiler: real talk, no fuss, and respect for each other’s space.

I’ve never been the type to hang around with a great number of friends, much less travel with them. Small, intimate groups always appealed to me much more than huge, intimidating hordes. A co-worker of mine shared the exact same sentiments. 

low-maintenance travel partner

Both travel addicts yet slightly crowd-phobic, Dianne and I banded together. Just the two of us, we journeyed together around the various islands of the Philippines. Through our mutual love for exploration, our friendship rapidly flourished into a profound and indissoluble one. Over time, I grew to appreciate her, not just as a friend, but as my travel soulmate.

Here are some of the reasons why I value Dianne as my go-to low-maintenance travel partner.

She isn’t picky about where we sleep

low-maintenance travel partner

Organising a trip is never a daunting task for me and Dianne. Sometimes, we book our accommodations mere days before we’re expected to fly out! After all, both of us are carefree, spontaneous travellers. Although we value scanning reviews, we only go through a few before settling on a decent Airbnb.

Also read: 10 Airbnbs in the Philippines That Will Make You Fall in Love

Thankfully, I found a friend whose standards aren’t very high and whose pockets are just as empty as mine. So long as the place offers the basic amenities, we’re good to go. Of course, this happy-go-lucky, cheapskate attitude definitely has its drawbacks — we’ve had multiple experiences wherein we unknowingly slept among creepy creatures in our room (we weren’t informed our accommodations came with free rats and cockroaches).

…or what we eat

It’s also rare to travel with someone who isn’t picky about food or restaurants. Dianne and I always have pitiful budgets, so we happily settle for any low-key food stalls we spot along the road.

low-maintenance travel partner

Once on a trip to Siargao, we were so strapped for cash that we spent most nights chowing down on canned corned tuna and home-cooked rice (we sprinkled a bit of calamansi juice to add some extra flavour). You gotta do what you gotta do! Only a certified low-maintenance travel partner would go through such lengths with you.

Also read: 10 Things Picky Travellers are Guilty Of

There’s hardly anyone else I know that’s more comfortable with silence than she is

I’m naturally a garrulous person — people often rely on me to initiate and sustain a conversation so as to avoid awkward silences. It can be tiring; as much as I love socialising, I also highly value quiet time.

Once when we were trekking through lush forest greenery, Dianne and I hardly spoke a word to each other. Sometimes she would walk ahead while I would quietly trail behind — we were so focused on our surroundings, there was hardly ever a peep from either of us.

solo travel

When you’re in the company of a close, self-assured friend, the urge to fill the air with needless noise is contained. Many more trips followed and they all shared a similar theme — conscious respect for each other’s desire to keep our mouths shut. As a teacher who’s required to keep blabbing away all day, I think this is a welcome respite.

She’s a chill and independent companion who lets me explore on my own

solo travel

Before I began travelling with Dianne, I was under a faulty impression — friends who went on trips together were required to travel as one unbreakable unit, despite differing preferences. Thankfully, Dianne — my ever-reliable adventure soulmate and low-maintenance travel partner — would never tolerate this kind of unnecessary clinginess.

I’m clearly a morning person. I love to rise the moment I blink my eyes to the first few streaks of soft, gentle sunshine. Never willing to waste a moment to explore new surroundings out in the early morning sun, I would leave behind a fully unconscious Dianne. I would wander around freely, relishing the distinct provincial charm laid-back towns always seem to exude. By the time I would return to our Airbnb, Dianne would usually already be up, eating breakfast or nonchalantly lighting a cigarette.

travel partner

When I travelled with a different set of friends, I found it exceedingly difficult to find the time and space to do my own thing. Whatever one person did, the whole group had to follow. This kind of unhealthy herd mentality weighed me down and inhibited me from making the most out of my trip. 

I suppose this is one of the major disadvantages of travelling with lots of people. It’s easy to feel as if you’re being pulled on a tight leash, forced to pursue a single, dreary direction. Travelling with an easygoing, trustworthy friend grants you the freedom to take you wherever the wind blows. Isn’t that what true exploration is all about anyway?

She believes in travelling for experience, not for photos

travel partner

You remember that friend — the annoying one who incessantly demands the most breathtakingly flawless shot that would make heavenly angels pale in comparison? We all have that friend. I’m unashamed to admit I have been that friend on many occasions.

Also read: An Open Letter — To Travellers Who “Do It For The Gram”

Having beautiful travel photos is always a bonus — who wouldn’t want timeless mementos that spark memories of genuine joy? Yet, it’s tempting to fall prey to the booming picture culture that plagues many young travellers today — “Picture or it didn’t happen.” With no Instagram and a Facebook account dedicated solely for work matters, Dianne couldn’t be more out of the social media loop than a bear hibernating in the winter. What a relief.

There’s always insufferable pressure to look attractive, especially on beach trips — I can’t count how many crash diets I’ve gone on the past to make sure my body looked socially acceptable in a bikini. Would I care if I didn’t have so many camera phones flashed in my direction? Or so many Instagram stories posted for the public eye to mercilessly scrutinise? 

Absent from the toxic social media craze, Dianne mindfully savours every glorious moment of travel — and inadvertently encourages me to do the same. Loosened from the binds of pressure to produce glamorous content, travelling becomes a sweeter, more authentic experience.

Finding a go-to low-maintenance travel partner is something I’ll always be grateful for. What are some of the things you appreciate about your super chill getaway pals? Make sure to let them know (and book your next trip together!).

About Author

Raya Esteban
Raya Esteban

Raya Esteban is a lifetime education advocate who currently works as a Montessori primary school teacher. With every chance she gets, Raya loves stringing words together to create compelling travel pieces for everyone to enjoy. A nature-lover and a curious wanderer, she enjoys hiking, diving, and exploring the phenomenal world around her. If she isn’t in the classroom, you’ll probably spot her at a beach or on top of a mountain soaking up the sun.


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