Is it possible to find your “perfect” travel partner? Perfect is a strong word, but I wholly believe you can come close.
A question that intrigues me more: can you have a perfect (or near perfect) traveling experience while traveling with people whose traveling styles don’t fit with yours?
After being on several trips where the group just did NOT mesh for one reason or another, my initial answer would be no.
Different personalities and traveling styles can cause friction that can dampen what is supposed to be a killer experience. This experience factor matters SO much that entities like Destination Canada have made handy quizzes that will tell you exactly what kind of traveler you are (I got the authentic traveler, try it out yourself!). This is supposed to be useful in planning future trips (and also is crazy good consumer data if you work in tourism marketing).
Almost three weeks into my Europe trip with my dear boyfriend by my side, I’m disputing my initial answer of “no” to that question.
The deciding factor of a good traveling experience in my opinion all depends on your willingness to be open minded, and Think Opposite, as coined by kick ass business guru, thought strategist and my friend Alison Donaghey.
Sebastian and I don’t have identical travel styles. I mean, if I’m going to be real, you might have to be twins or on the exact same wavelength for that to happen. Growing up on different continents, with vastly different experiences growing up, it would be weird if we WERE that similar in our tastes.
For example, I grew up with a travel agent mother who is probably the most thorough researcher and planner I know (she would be the virtual assistant of your dreams, biz peeps). When we went on family vacations, they were far from spontaneous… we had itineraries on the daily, and because of that we avoided lots of disappointment (oh, you didn’t know you had to reserve ahead of time for this? That kind of thing would never happen with mama Jones).
Sebastian on the other hand, went on vacations that were laissez-faire. His family often vacationed at the same spots multiple times just to relax, hangout, and see where the day took them. Forget the list of touristic monuments and museums you’re supposed to visit, a vacation is a time to kick back in a familiar getaway (when I took Seb to the National Gallery in Ottawa, I was shocked to find out it was one of his first times being in an art museum!).
These passed down preferences show up all the time when I’m traveling with Sebastian. How we don’t let these differences slowly get on each others nerves is by being open minded and Thinking Opposite. Understanding why each of us values a certain style of travel, and being willing to accept it and try out the others’ preferences makes all the difference. When we went to Munich, he let me take him inside every grand cathedral he normally walked past, and I let him take me on a spontaneous pub crawl (or more like a beer garden frolic).
With this in mind, I still have a lot of traveling ahead of me in the next couple of months, and I CANT WAIT to take on all of the challenges and adventures ahead. One beer garden and cathedral at a time 😉