When I started this blog, my original goal was to visit all 50 states before my wedding day. With all the buzz on the internet about solo travel and how women don’t need men, I felt like I needed to “beat the clock.” I knew I wanted to get married one day, and I had this vision of myself getting married and then forgetting about travel because of more pressing “adult” matters.
I’m here to say that while I 1,000% agree that you do NOT need a significant other and it is 1,000% ok to do it on your own, there is something to be said about finding the right travel buddy. My fiancé is my best friend and my #1 supporter, and I never want to travel without him! We do have “adult” matters to attend to from time to time, but travel is still incredibly important to both of us. Just because I’m “settling down” doesn’t mean my traveling goals are going away, and that’s all because I found the right travel buddy.
Find your best friend.
Looking for your significant other needs to be more than a contest of who can support you, who practices the same religion as you, and who wants kids in the same way you do. You need to find your very best friend. Your best friend is the person who will laugh with you when you walk into a hotel room and it is way crappier than promised. Your best friend is the person who listens to your music on 16-hour road trips even though he hates it. Your best friend is the person who carries your luggage up the stairs (even though he knows you could handle it). Your best friend is whatever your definition of “best friend” is, and more.
Traveling alone can certainly boost your independence and can teach you a lot, but traveling with your best friend? SO MUCH MORE FUN!
Find a match for your definition of travel.
People view travel differently. To some, the word “travel” really means “beach vacation,” while to others, it means crazy adventures abroad. You and your travel buddy should share travel-related ideals so that you aren’t constantly debating over where to go and what to do there. At the very least, you have to be able to compromise. For example, I know that I have a tendency to build jam-packed itineraries and attempt to see every corner of every city. My sweet fiancé NEEDS to take breaks (I do, too, I just don’t like to admit it). I’ve learned throughout all of our travels that I need to literally schedule relaxation time into our itinerary. Sometimes that means a few hours back at the hotel room, and sometimes that means an extra few hours at the beach.
Ask each other questions like, “mountains or museums?” and “lay on the beach or ride horses?” to find out if you are compatible travelers.
Find someone who says, “yes!”
Successful traveling is 90% saying “yes.” Your travel buddy needs to be someone who says yes with you. Find someone who says yes to splurging and visiting the city’s number one restaurant. Find someone who says yes to putting their feet in the Atlantic even when it’s ice cold. Find someone who says yes to taking the red-eye so that you can have a full day at your destination. Your travel buddy needs to be just as positive and ready for adventure as you are.
Find your goal-mate.
Your significant other has to believe in your goals, even if his goals aren’t the same as yours. When you say, “I want to visit every country in Europe,” your SO should say, “ok, when?” instead of, “we can’t afford that.” It’s nice to have some practicality with your goals, like thinking about budgeting and timing, but it’s also important for your person to support your goals. It’s natural to disagree, and there’s nothing wrong with a healthy conversation about reality – BUT, you HAVE to support each other.
I’m lucky. I found someone who is my best friend, my goal-mate, and my travel buddy when I was just barely 21. Now I get to travel the world with him, and I wouldn’t have it any other way :).
Did you find your travel buddy? Leave a note in the comments about how awesome they are!