Signs You Do Or Don’t Have Travel Chemistry

January 24, 2019  |  
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traveling together for the first time

Source: Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty

Some people may have chemistry in most areas of life but not when they travel. Traveling is its own beast. The moment you remove someone from her environment where she can control her meals, where she sleeps, her schedule, and pretty much everything, she can change. A friend or partner who you thought was pretty relaxed can become a ball of nerves once it’s time to pack your bags. A friend who you considered to really have it together at home can become a disorganized mess while globetrotting. There’s really no right or wrong way to travel (though some would argue being flexible is critical), the important thing is that you travel with people who have the same philosophies about travel. If you don’t, then your trip has a good chance of being ruined. Here are signs you do—and don’t—have travel chemistry with someone.

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You have the same accommodation standards

You have the same ideas about accommodations. Maybe, for example, you both just want to stay somewhere clean and affordable that’s near the sites. You don’t need a luxury resort, but the sheets can’t be stained. You don’t need to stay upstairs from a museum, but you’d like to be walking distance to one.

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Or, you’re fighting to stay in budget

On the other hand, if you travel with someone who insists on five-star accommodations everywhere with a bell hop and spa on-site, you may have to constantly fight to stay within budget. You’ll wind up upset that you spent so much on the room, and hesitant to spend much on activities. Or you’ll stay within budget, and your companion will complain about the place the entire time.

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You both like to know the plan

You’re either both planners, or you both like to see where the day will take you. You either both contribute to planning an itinerary, and are grateful for each other’s contributions, or you both like the idea of going to your destination with no plan.

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Or, one is too structured for the other

You won’t have a good time if one person panics at the idea of not having an itinerary, and the other panics at the idea of creating one. The latter won’t give firm answers on buying tickets or making reservations. The former will feel like she’s doing all the work on her own.

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You don’t think alarm clocks belong on vacation

Hopefully you both have the same philosophies on sleeping during vacation. Perhaps you think you earned this time off and don’t plan on waking up early—you can do that in your regular life enough.

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Or, one says, “We didn’t come here to sleep!”

You’ll run into an issue if one person is eager to cram as many activities into the day as possible, and wants to get up at the crack of dawn. She’ll grow irritated at the late sleeper or she’ll wake the late sleeper early, who will be mad the rest of the day.

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You both go with the flow

You’ll throw out a few ideas and debate your options, but both seek the path of least resistance. Neither is dead set on any plan and if the other is excited about something, they’ll just go along. You’re both up for an adventure–which is important.

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Or, one pushes for her way

Nobody has a good time when one person always pushes for her idea. Then the other person feels like she’s just on her companion’s trip—but it’s not their trip as a pair.

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You’re not worried about details

Does the room face the ocean or the mountains? Is the restaurant noisy? Does the airline have personal screens at every seat or just a few massive ones to share? If you’re both laid back and wouldn’t even think to ask these questions, you’ll have a great time.

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Or, one fixates over every little thing

Then you have travelers who spend most of their time coming up with possible questions like the ocean-facing-room and noisy restaurant ones. All they do is think of all the ways they might be bothered, all the while seriously bothering their travel mate.

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You’ll eat whatever you come across

Some travelers like the prospect of eating whatever is nearby and authentic once hunger strikes. If you both feel this way, your days will be rather easy. You’ll happily enjoy food carts, sidewalk cafes, and the like.

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Or, the other is a food snob

If one person is a food snob who must intricately research and plan every meal, and the other is…not…there will be fights every day. Pardon—there will be three fights a day for every meal. One is starving and just wants to eat what’s nearby while the other insists on driving thirty minutes to the Michelin star restaurant.

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The airport, train station is no issue

Travel buddies with chemistry get through the whole checking bags, getting tickets, and going through security part of traveling pretty easily. They each have a book or music to listen to. They’ll snack on whatever’s around. They have the same idea of when to arrive at the airport and so on.

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Or, you’re mad by the time you board

If you have one person who demands to arrive at the airport two and a half hours early and must check four bags while the other barely packs anything and likes to check in 50 minutes early…you’ll get on the plane in a fight. One way or another.

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You can’t wait for the trip

When you have travel chemistry with somebody, you’re just excited to go on the trip. The only feelings you have about it are joy and anticipation.

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Or, you’re already worried about the trip

When you don’t have travel chemistry with someone, you find yourself pre-having the fights you know you’ll have. You begin taking a stance on things, in your head, before the trip has even begun.

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