I have found that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. – Mark Twain
Combine equal parts of compatible personalities, common interests, similar budgets, reasonable expectations, and good communication to create a winning recipe for a good travel companion. Mix well. Bake slowly in the sun for two weeks and enjoy a delicious vacation.
I’m a food-centric traveler. Food is love. Food brings people together. Food makes us happy. But, some foods (and people) may not agree with us. Best to know what kind of people we can tolerate before we travel with them.
Choose wisely from the following five ingredients and cook up a delightful travel experience. You deserve it.
Ingredient #1 – Compatible Personalities
Having a compatible personality with your companion is one of the critical ingredients for happy travels. Life feels easier and effortless when spending time with like-minded people. Which of the following four personalities best describes you?
1. Bold Personality
Key ingredient: Action
Is motivated by: Winning, competition, success
Personality traits: Go-getters, fast-paced, high energy, natural leaders, straight-forward, decision makers, planner, confident, wants control of situations, task oriented
Can be seen by others as: Aggressive, controlling, inflexible, stubborn, insensitive, impatient, or uncaring
Perfect vacation: Prefers an action packed vacation that he or she controls, plans, and executes from start to finish. This traveler carefully researches restaurants and plans ahead with reservations.
2. Spicy Personality
Key ingredient: Flexibility
Is motivated by: Social activities, relationships, recognition
Personality traits: Free Spirit, fast-acting, high energy, competitive, social, fun-loving, supportive, spontaneous, independent, energetic, people oriented
Can be seen by others as: Indirect, conflict-averse, overly enthusiastic, unstructured, overly emotional, impulsive, or overly confident
Perfect Vacation: Enjoys traveling with others to new places, off-the-beaten-path locations, meeting locals, and prefers exploring without a detailed plan. Finds unique places to eat along the way and seldom plans ahead with reservations.
3. Mellow Personality
Key ingredient: Harmony
Is motivated by: Cooperation, opportunities to help others, sincere appreciation
Personality traits: Go with the flow, steady, stable, good listener, patient, consistent, gets things done, helps others, slow-paced, people oriented
Can be seen by others as: Weak, indecisive, overly accommodating, conflict-averse, overly cautious, or too helpful
Perfect Vacation: Enjoys traveling with family and friends, taking care of others, and likes an opportunity for quiet downtime. Tends to go with the flow and accommodates the restaurant choices of fellow travelers. As long as everyone is happy, they are happy.
4. Subtle Personality
Key ingredient: Independence
Is motivated by: Opportunities to gain knowledge, solitary activities, and quiet time
Personality Traits: Quietly explore, detail-oriented, planner, conscientious, well-organized, cooperative, perfectionist, slow-paced, task oriented
Can be seen by others as: Critical, overly analytical, inflexible, cold, strict, stubborn, uncaring, or loners
Perfect Vacation: Likes efficiently planned cost-effective, educational, and quiet vacations either alone or with a few select others. Carefully plans places to eat and may even opt to buy food to eat in their hotel room.
Opposite Personality Types
Opposite personalities are ingredients that need special attention. It’s not impossible to combine them, but they don’t always work well together. The Bold personality can overwhelm the Mellow personality, as does the Spicy with the Subtle personality. When conflicts arise, an opposite personality may view the other in quite an unsavory way. In a stressful situation, the bold go-getter looks aggressive, controlling, and inflexible to the mellow personality. Eye-opening, isn’t it?
Ingredient #2 – Common Interests
An equally important ingredient, common interests, can bring different personalities together for a fun travel adventure. A lack of common interests can deflate your travel experience, like opening the oven too soon when baking a soufflé. Now that’s a real shame.
Outdoor interests such as hiking, biking, skiing, power boating, kayaking, horse-back riding, fishing, zip-lining, hang gliding, and golf make it easier for differing personalities to spend time together. This is also true for cultural experiences such as visiting museums, historical sites, opera, or ballet. However, experiences such as spending time at a spa, beach, or shopping, spending hours dining, and taking leisurely strolls through town are more social and won’t appeal to all personalities, so choose your companion wisely.
A great way to bring a variety of personalities with different interests together is through organized travel such as cruises, resorts, or group tours where many types of activities are available to suit each person’s interests.
Ingredient #3 – Similar Budgets
Once you’ve decided on a possible travel companion with a compatible personality and common interests, it’s time to decide if you have compatible travel budgets. Money can be a sensitive topic of discussion but is another key ingredient of a good trip. Don’t get burnt traveling with a low budget traveler when you were dreaming of dining at the Ritz Carlton.
Remember, what one person considers affordable may not be for the other person, so be specific in your conversations about the travel budget.
Ingredient #4 – Reasonable Expectations
The one thing that can spoil relationships and ruin vacations more than any other is expectations – yours and those of your travel companion. Unmet expectations are like a case of food poisoning, hitting you without warning, making you sick, and leaving you completely wiped out. While you will recover, you will likely never forget the experience.
Expectations are beliefs that are centered on the future and may or may not be realistic. They exist in your mind, often without the knowledge of the other person. If your travel partner doesn’t meet your expectations, you can feel disappointed, frustrated, or angry. On the other hand, they won’t know what hit them and will be dazed and confused as to why you are upset.
It’s important to discuss expectations with your potential travel companion to make sure you are aligned or at least able to cope with each others expectations.
Because expectations center on how we perceive the future, we must remember no one can control the future. We can try our best to plan and steer events in the direction of our vision. But alas, many unforeseen things can happen to derail our picture of the perfect travel companion and vacation.
A better approach is to let go of expectations and be open to possibilities. Possibilities are based in the present moment and can bring unexpected joy and rewards when you discover hidden treasures in your travels. Can you let go of expectations and trust that all will go well?
Ingredient #5 – Good Communication
The final ingredient in the recipe for choosing a travel companion is good communication. Before you travel, conversations about your personality styles, interests, budgets, and expectations will go a long way in helping you choose a compatible travel mate. Once you’ve agreed to travel together, make sure open communication is a priority for your trip.
People are complex. They get ‘hangry’. But as long as you plan carefully and are open to discussing and resolving differences, you have all the right ingredients for happy travels.