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Travel companion

Lasse Grunstrup

Travel companion

Who are you going to have the best travel experience with? Here is a list of pros and cons when it comes to different types of travel companions.

On your own

To travel on your own is a great challenge. You have to make all decisions on your own, and if accidents happen you have no one but yourself to lean on. On the other hand, you never have to compromise when it comes to your travel desires, and you get to experience a feeling of absolute freedom. Furthermore, you will meet a lot of other people travelling on their own, a lot of unknown, cool people, who are all "forced" to be more open to other sole strangers than people who travel together. Many sole travelers end up not being alone at all because they're always hanging out with new travel buddies who they spontaneously hook up with during their trip.

Women travelling on their own

Nothing prevents a woman from backpacking her way round the world alone. But if you choose to do so please stay alert and pay attention to the local traditions in the countries you're visiting. In some places women who drink alone in a bar, smoke in public, wear a lot of make-up and are lightly dressed are considered promiscuous. So please make sure you don't stick out too much compared to the local people and try not to offend or provoke them. Though this also applies to men travelling on their own - there really aren't that many places on earth where a man sitting alone in a bar with a cigarette or a drink is something people pay attention to.

Traveling with friends

To travel round the world with your best friend is a unique possibility you should explore before entering a serious relationship, where that may no longer be possible. When you travel with others you have to share responsibilities. If one of you knows how to handle a map, but is a little shy, the other one may be more outgoing and know how to talk to strangers and ask directions. If, however, you and your best friend travel together for a long time you risk your friendship turning claustrophobic and sucks out all your energy during the trip. If you're more than two travelling together it's easier to "put up with each other" but making a unanimous decision may, on the other hand, prove to be somewhat more difficult.  If your friends can't or won't travel with you, you can always look for travel companions yourself by posting "wanted" notes on the bulletin boards at KILROY travels or elsewhere on the internet.

Boyfriends and girlfriends

Couples will love each other one day and fight like cats and dogs the next. That is also the case when you're out in the great wide world. But if you manage to focus on the love that glows between you, you'll have a beautiful shared experience waiting for you.
To ensure more love and less fighting it's always a good idea to talk things through before you leave. Plan your budget (if you have a shared budget, then plan how much "pocket money" each will be able to dispose of), plan your individual responsibilities, plan your route in detail. The less there is to fight about during the actual trip, the better the trip - so remember, it's always better to have a few fights more at home before you leave.

With mum

Round the world with mum - some people are probably doing it but we wouldn't recommend it for everyone. On the other hand it's always pleasant to arrange for your parents or other relatives to visit you somewhere along the route if they're able to. This is particularly nice if you feel slightly home sick, and who knows? Your relatives may even spoil you (who is travelling on a tight budget) with a proper bed and a couple of splendid meals.

Traveling with children

Backpacking with small children is not something to recommend. Backpacking is all about going many different places on a tight budget and being flexible. This doesn't suit small children well. They would just like to hang around the pool, play with toys and spent time with mum and dad - and not much else. If you MUST bring small children along on your grand voyage, make sure to allow for plenty of long breaks at hotels and resorts where you can make it up to your children. A portable device with games and movies are also a good idea for long haul flights, airport chilling and dull periods. Bigger children (from age 12 and up) are more likely to enjoy the true nature of a backpacker trip.

Other companionships on your journey

Not all relationships have to be established beforehand. There are always plenty of opportunities to meet new people while you're on the road. The world is full of kind travelers eager to meet new people. Busses, hostels, travel cafés and other classical hang out spots for backpackers are obvious places to meet new friends from all over the world. Another good way to meet new travel companions is to take part in adventure trips and tours. These trips cover everything from river rafting to safari trips and can last from one day to several months, but on all of them you travel in groups and meet new people. It's a social thing.

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