What to look out for in a travel companion

Travelling the globe is more accessible than ever before, but if you're going with another person you'd do well to avoid these common pitfalls...

 You've carefully co-ordinated your destination, intrinsically pre-planned the sites and digitally mapped out a schedule. Great stuff Tiger, but what about your companion? What may seem a diamond at first may well turn out to be disaster...

Nothing can prepare you for a proper holiday nightmare involving a travel companion (whether they're ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend/ex-best-friend).
Love and friendship are not necessarily good reasons to jet away...

Paul Newnes, from Newcastle recalls one such incident.

"When I went to Australia it was very humid and hot when we got to Brisbane. It made my travel companion very uncomfortable and for some strange reason arguments started to break out between us!"

We are all susceptible to weather-sensitivity and don't always know how to cope with this new 'shock' when thrown in adverse conditions.

According to the Australian travel author Manfred Kaiser, it seems our bodies have become dependent on artificial weather conditions like central heating and air conditioning but when we can't stand that heat, we try to get out of the kitchen thus causing irritability, aggressiveness, listlessness, fatigue, moodiness and lack of concentration.

So what should we look for in a travel companion?

You may have crawled with your hands and knees over broken glass to take someone away with you, but how will they cope when they discover there is no TV?

How might they react to 40°c heat when their skin is sensitive, and how do you tell your partner that jet-lag does not last for six days after a short-haul flight from London to Greece?

Single travellers pay almost double for the 'privilege' of going it alone, so gritting your teeth and grouping up is not only a social, but also a financial incentive.

Here's how to find compatible companions...

Easy-going

Jeff Ford, of the University of Central Florida, says: "I don't want someone who only wants to party or only wants to go to museums. A healthy mix would be best. Moderation is the key to everything".

So, when picking a companion, a good way to make an enjoyable holiday a memorable holiday is with someone who is up for anything, not fussy about one particular style or substance, and easy-going on all that the local delicatessen has to offer. Test them beforehand. After all, you didn't fly 3,000 miles just to watch the FA cup and eat beef burgers.

Independence and wisdom

Greg Crowngold, from Cape Town, says: "Travel is about learning while having fun, and most particularly learning about yourself. So try not to cling to people from an identical culture or upbringing to you".

Well we aren't all that similar. Some of us are giddy, some of us are moody, some prefer meditating and some prefer to run. But essentially, a good companion is someone you listen to and someone who listens to you. It must be a two way relationship, don't travel with someone who is childish, ignorant, clingy, demanding and attention-seeking. Don't get stuck in a rut!

Agreeability

'Let's just agree to disagree' says man to woman. Woman says 'Whatever'. Man slams door shut. Night ends in tatters. Holiday ruined. (Mosquitoes attack).

So, what kind of person is it you are travelling with? Don't assume that the sun, snow or sangria will change that person's personality once you step out off the plane! Weather-sensitivity comes into play here, and if you know the person you travel with fusses with everything back home, then they'll do the same on holiday, if not worse. Allow yourself some disagreements, say 3-5, this is normal, but try and test them out at home before you're stuck on a 12-hour flight (return and in economy) with them.

Compromise

Ok, every holiday can't always be with the perfect person. You may be forced to go away with a family member, or someone much older than you or even an associate you wouldn't normally hang out with. Enter the art of compromise.

Sabrina, from Las Vegas, remarked on a recent trip with two other ladies to New York that: "We agreed to let each person plan one thing they wanted to do and the others went along. That worked out well."

Try and do one thing each that you like. Take it in turns, thus respecting each others wants and needs. You'll come home feeling better for it and maybe even being closer afterwards. Don't be controlled but don't act like you're Moses leading the Israelites through the desert either.

Fiscal Viability

You don't have to be rich to enjoy a good holiday, but a tight-wad will certainly ruin it.

You may prefer the slicker side of teak and brass whilst your companion may enjoy 1* delicacies all the way.

Sam Canders from Ohio said: "I travelled once to Italy for 14 days with someone who was so cheap he insisted on sharing a room. I thought: 'Oh, it couldn't be that bad' but it was a nightmare. He snored EVERY night, ALL NIGHT. It was so loud and disgusting the walls shook. I didn't sleep for 14 days".

So before you decide to head off on your trip, don't rely on last minute planning. Make sure you both have a similar sense of what you're looking to spend (or not), sort your money out beforehand, share the costs evenly and, please girls, do not assume that just because he's an older man, he's chivalrous with his wallet. The modern tight-wad has spread faster than the Cha-Cha.

Equal Input

It's all very well teaching someone the pearl wisdoms of the local culture, but even Martin Luther King got bored of hearing his own voice.

John from Oaktown, Indiana said: "Travel companions must participate in some small way in the planning process. The person should have at least a few 'must do's' that they are bringing to the table".

Make sure you both read up on the destination a bit, and find out what to expect when you get there, even if its just knowing which local currency you'll use, otherwise they'll moan more than your mother-in-law if things go wrong, and they'll probably never forgive you for insisting they took that unnecessary vacation.

Communication

Be clear and concise about what you want to do such as what time you like to sleep, what the purpose of your trip is and so forth. If someone claims to speak another language, test them. The number of people who can supposedly 'speak' another language (Saying 'Konichiwa!' does not mean you speak Japanese) and freeze in situations where human communication is needed is shocking!