Travel Buddies Beware

Me in Caye Caulker, Belize. My travel buddy is in the background, at the table. December 2012.

Me in Caye Caulker, Belize. My travel buddy is in the background, at the table. December 2012.

Not long ago, I took a trip with assorted family members. Of the entire group, no one shared any of my habits. Fortunately, they indulged me—as have a handful of other travel buddies I’ve had over the years.

But I’m not the ideal travel companion for just anyone. Or even, likely, for most people.

  • No foodie. If vacation means indulging in unhealthy or decadently gourmet food, I’ll disappoint. I won’t appreciate the gourmet and won’t enjoy the unhealthy. Going to dinner doesn’t interest me. Even on vacation, I want my food clean. I don’t mind cooking it—and would probably prefer it if I did.

  • Exercise required. Time away doesn’t mean less exercise; rather, it provides free time for more. I run on vacation. Sometimes I hit the gym. Sure, in Belize I didn’t run, but we did yoga, spent entire days caving and hiking and climbing through ruins, and swam vigorously. Every day. Travel buddies don’t have to join me, but they have to allow me the leeway to get it done.

  • Alcohol-free. On vacation, many people enjoy wine or beer tours, get tipsy at the end of the day, and hang out at the ritzy (or local) bar. Well, I don’t drink. At all. I don’t mind when others do—but they typically don’t enjoy drinking alone.

  • Up when? Most people stay up past 9 p.m.—especially when a night on the town in a hotspot destination awaits. Alas, I’m a morning person. I fade long before the nightlife begins.

  • Television = yuck. Many people switch on the television when they walk into the room, whether for background noise or to decompress. I find it highly irritating. After all, I haven’t had a television since 1998.

  • Rough it? Pass. My days of roughing it on travel ended a few years after graduate school. Today, I’ll endure discomfort for a rare and fantastic reason—perhaps for something desirable that I can’t experience any other way—but the vast majority of my vacations require good beds, quiet rooms, quality showers, and my own space.

At least I’m laid back—as long as you let me do what I need to do, I’ll happily let you do the same.

And at least I don’t mind traveling solo.

Do you have any quirks about which you’d warn potential travel buddies?