Travel with companions
Travel Tips

Who to travel with, Ling?

Have you got good travel companions to go on holidays with? Or gone on trips where you felt miserable as your interests and budget were not considered? Or having to give in to someone else’s whims all the time?

I’m sure we all have our fair share of good and not so good travel companions.

I’ve travelled solo, with family and with friends. I know how important going on the trip with the right people can make or break the trip or even the relationship. Having spent so much money and time planning for the trip, you want to enjoy the trip and end it on a high.


Who to choose, Ling?

Travelling with someone needs a bit more consideration of the activities and budget to keep everyone occupied and happy. Hopefully, maintaining the relationship even after the trip.

If you’re travelling with immediate family, you don’t have much of a choice but to put up with whatever idiosyncrasy they throw at you during a trip. Of course, if you’re the pay master or the one doing the planning, you get a lot more say on how you want the trip to be. 😉

Travel with friendsTravelling with extended families is another cup of tea that requires careful brewing. You’re now putting at least 2 different families together for an extended period, doing same activities most of the time. When you throw in young children and grandparents, it gets even more complicated, as you have to ensure there’s activities to keep the children occupied and yet have enough rest stops for the grandparents.

Travelling with friends is a test of the friendship. If there’s too many differences, you may end up becoming enemies even before the trip ends. I have heard a couple of horror travel stories where friendships ended.


What to consider, Ling?

Free & Easy or Package Tour

Travelling Free & Easy isn’t for everyone. There’s often lots of planning to be done before the trip starts. Being unfamiliar with a place opens up opportunities for both nice and not so nice encounters. Handling unexpected incidents can sometimes increase stress and change one’s behaviour.

It’s best to have an idea what makes your potential travel companion tick. Will they help with the planning or just wait for you to do everything? When things go wrong, will they will pitch in to solve the issue or start throwing tantrums?

If you want less hassle, consider going on a package tour where everything is planned and fixed. Everyone just have to show up at the airport with their luggage, money and passports. If there’s any issue with the trip, your travel companions can direct it at the travel agency and not you. This may be a good option to try out the first trip together and to discover if future or Free & Easy trips should be attempted.



If you’re on a budget, don’t pick a travel companion who needs high living and only stays in 5 star hotels. It’ll blow your budget and you’ll end up being miserable. Especially at the end of the trip when you check your credit card bills and bank account.

Likewise, if you need 5 star everything, don’t ask someone who has a tight budget. That person may feel miserable and stressed out with having to spend above their budget and trying to keep up with you. You may feel upset at not being able to enjoy yourself fully. An option you can consider is treating your travel companion to the expensive activity to help them manage their budget, but of course if it’s within your means.

Have a chat with your potential travel companion about budget and see if there’s possibility to reach a balance. Getting an understanding beforehand is useful in managing both parties’ expectations and makes for a better trip.

I’m pretty lucky to have a few travel companions who share the same view about spending money on a holiday. We didn’t want to deprive ourselves during our trip but didn’t want to end up with a big hole in our pockets either. We balance the spending by combining budget and premium lodgings, cheap food and fancy restaurants during the trip. As for shopping, it’s personal so everyone decides how much they want to buy and spend. That’s how we kept ourselves and our pockets happy and have an enjoyable trip.

I had also gone on a trip with a friend who was on a tighter budget. We kept it low cost by staying at hostels, dormitories and budget hotels. We did a lot of supermarket meals and looked for discounts. I was able to arrange with her for me to go for an expensive meal while she bought food back to the hostel. Going to places of interest with free entry also helped manage the budget. We had a good trip as it kept us and our pockets happy.

If you choose to go with someone who isn’t in your budget range, you’ll need to make an effort to adjust and accept the choice made. Otherwise, it will be a wasted trip if no one gets to enjoy it.



If you’re a meat eater like me, best to find a travel companion who eats meat too. It makes meal choices easier and you can just pop into any interesting looking restaurants. If you love trying new food and your friend only wants to eat ham sandwiches and nothing else, that would make mealtimes very difficult.

Search for meal options where both of you have choices or some opportunities where both of you get to eat what you want separately.

Or Tofu?

I travelled with a friend who is a vegetarian because of religion. It required some research and planning to locate places where she could eat. Luckily, she wasn’t a strict vegetarian and made a decision to eat seafood during the trip. We were travelling in Japan and being able to eat seafood made things easier as they use a lot of fish dashi. I was able to have my meats as we picked places where we both could choose what we want to eat. That made mealtimes a lot easier and I didn’t have to keep eating vegetarian food too.

Another friend of mine doesn’t like raw squid. She gives them to me if there’s no option for her to cook the squid. We’re currently training her up to eat raw squid in preparation for our next trip. *LOL*

If you have food allergies and restrictions, do let your friends know and you may have to do your own research on where to eat. Check with the restaurant/shop before you order, to ensure it will not become a medical emergency.



It is difficult to find someone with totally the same interests as you. Suppose you’re someone outdoorsy and your travel companion only loves shopping and hates the outdoors. Going on a trip together will be tough if a common ground with activities cannot be found.

Again, finding a balance is important to have an enjoyable trip.

Travel with FriendsHave an agreement with your travel companion for both to do activities that the other person likes. Have activities of both kinds throughout the trip so that one doesn’t dominate the other.

Or consider some separate activities. If your friend wants to go shopping and you just want to sightsee, arrange a time to meet back so both of you can do your own thing for a while. Such an alone time may be useful to keep all parties sane and trip enjoyable. However, don’t make it a daily affair to split up during the trip. Otherwise may as well go on a solo trip.


Compromise and Keep Communications Open

Pick someone on the same wavelength and share somewhat similar views and interests as you since you will be in each other’s face almost 24 hours during the trip. The only time you have away from each other is probably during toilet breaks and bath time.

Give and take a little too to make the trip work since no one is totally alike. Keep communications open and bring up your concerns if absolutely required, but don’t nick pit on small things. Going on a trip together also gives you insight into how strong the relationship is and whether you should attempt another trip together in the future. 😉

At the end of the day, everyone just wants to enjoy the trip with the money they are spending. Therefore, a little compromising is required.


Take a Chance, be Open to New Experiences

Sometimes we just need to take a chance. Everything starts with the first step. How do we know if this person will be a good travel companion unless we go on a trip with them, right?


Worst Case Scenario

If after you’ve done all the above and you still end up on a holiday trip where you felt side-lined, try to enjoy yourself as much as possible on the trip since you’ve already paid for it. When you get back home, keep the relationship/friendship if you want to, just don’t go on a trip with them again.

Solo Traveller


Go on a solo trip.

The only person you’ll have to content with is yourself. You get to do whatever you want on the trip within the budget that you’re happy with. Bear in mind that lodging may be slightly more expensive for a single person and some restaurants may require a minimum of 2 persons for specific meals/dishes. Those are the drawbacks I’ve found for travelling solo.




Or just take your teddy bear with you!
Happy Travelling!


Check out Ling’s Japan Travel Tips!

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