How to Cope with an Annoying Travel Buddy

This chica needs to cope better

This chica needs to cope better

September 23, 2009

I was asked to write this post by several friends after sharing horror stories of travel companions who decide to smoke crack (figuratively, of course).

Here are a few simple tips to diffuse travel buddies with “too much personality” and situations that have gone awry.


Tip 1: Name your 3 Must-Haves

The best plan is to head off disaster before it hits.  I have a Coming to Jesus talk with my upcoming travel buddy pre-departure and ask the 3 things that they want to do on the trip and I name my top 3. The rule is we’ll strive to meet each of our top 3, but you have to be flexible about all the rest.  ALL THE REST. For instance, I traveled for a month with my friend Clara in Central America. My top 3 choices were: 1) surf camp in Costa Rica, 2) Mayan ruins in Guatemala, 3) hiking a volcano.  Come to think of it, I only did 1 of the 3…Clara – you rascal! Although I do recall a conscious decision to sub-out hiking a volcano for enjoying a volcanic mud wrap at a spa. Ok. We’re good.

Me & Clara -- Having a blast!

Me & Clara — Having a blast!

Tip 2: Agree on a Travel Budget

This isn’t so much the actual amount of money you’ve allocated, but the level of travel y’all are going to do: rough, semi-rough, pedestrian, pampered.  For me, overnight buses are OK. Shared rooms in a hostel are not.

My friend Tammy went on a swanky trip to Italy, complete with a stay at a lush hotel on the Isle of Capri and a 2-day cooking school in Tuscany. (Note: Tammy and I have never traveled together. I’m a little too cheap for her. Apparently, one of her other friends is a little cheap too.) Three friends went on this trip, but 2 stayed at the high-end Capri resort, and the other one stayed at a hostel on the other side of the island. At dinner, the budget friend would only order a salad, but gorged on the appetizers. Half-way through the holiday, the budget traveler became resentful of the luxury meals and digs, and the others were resentful of subsidizing the third. The trip reportedly ended in name-calling and tears. Yikes!

The beautiful Isle of Capri: No place for tears
The beautiful Isle of Capri: No place for tears

Tip 3: Exercise a little extra patience when people are:

  • Hungry
  • Sick
  • About to pee their pants

Tip 4: Plug in that iPod

There’s no denying it, at some point your travel buddy will start to get on your nerves. This is the perfect situation for a time out and some soothing tunes. iPods are good because you can’t always get a physical break, but they afford a mental break from your girlfriend’s endless chatter.

Traveling with friends can be great fun – if you set a few ground rules and are cognizant of extenuating circumstances. 

That heart-to-heart conversation before the trip begins will save plenty of heartache once it starts.

To read more about my Central America adventure with Clara, check out:

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 and is filed under How to Cope.

Join Our Mailing List

Thanks for checking out my global living and giving adventures!

Sign up for my Weekly Update to get a free Charitable Giving Guide and more surprises straight to your inbox. Join the fun!