So, you’ve done all the hard work planned your route, read the guides, packed your bags. Nothing can go wrong. Can it? How carefully did you consider the most important aspect of your trip? Who you travel with can literally make or break your experience. So if you recognise your mate in the line up below or you manage to pick one up on the way, lose them. Fast!
1. The Lohanista
Self obsessed and spoilt with a sense of entitlement that the world owes them a favour. This travel partner is going to be a nightmare from the get-go. Never happy with the hotels, the food or the weather they will spend the whole time complaining and demanding that you spend a month’s budget on a nights stay in an upmarket resort. Days will be filled with lounging by the pool or shopping trips in the most expensive air-conditioned malls in the country. On the positive side, once they have a drink they really let go and you might find you are the centre of attention in the nightclubs.
2. The OCD Freak
This is the kind of person who colour co-ordinates their towels and actually has a schedule for their bowel movements. How will they ever survive outside their routine? They will try to micro-manage the entire trip right down to toilet breaks and what pants to wear each day. They’ll have lists of places to visit and an itinerary so full that you won’t have to time to fart. Don’t even try to mess with their timetable or you will face their wrath of fury, they are liable to shout and scream and generally lose their shit if things don’t go exactly to plan. This will be embarrassing when it’s a friendly Bolivian bus driver at the end of their ire.
3. The Nervous Wreck
Not only will they panic under pressure but they will also fill each waking moment with pessimism and worry. This person will bring you down on the daily with their sense of impending doom. They will fret about every little detail from getting bitten by mosquitoes to how much chlorine is in the pool. God help you if they actually get sick because it will be straight to the hospital and you’ll never hear the end of it.
4. The Boor
Tact just isn’t this person’s strong point and they put their foot in more often than good old Prince Philip. Some people might think they’re racist but it’s not just race, it’s just that they don’t think before they speak. Still, try explaining that to the muscly Australian they’ve just offended by calling him an ex-con who is still under the control of the British Empire. You’re going to spend a lot of time apologising and trying to avoid getting beaten up if you go away with this jerk.
5. The Couple
Whether they’re together or travelling solo, being with members of a loved up couple is boring! Obviously if you’re playing the third wheel it’s going to get awkward quickly, but even if they are divided by continents and time zones you may feel like a spare part. Your travel buddy will be constantly trying to track down a phone or an internet connection to call home. They will talk about their other half at every opportunity and worry about what they’re doing and who they are seeing all day. Not fun.
6. The Pennypincher
They might seem like they’re being resourceful at first. Always finding the 241 offers online and collecting coupons to get money off deals, but spend any amount of time travelling with them and this crap gets old, quickly. They will quibble with tuk-tuk drivers over a matter of pence and reduce sweet old ladies to tears with their reluctance to pay the going rate for their hand-made wares. Their frugality knows no ends and they will be constantly trying to hunt down the best bargain in town. After a 10-hour bus journey when all you need is a bed, any bed, and they will try to drag you round every hotel in town to find the cheapest and best. Backpacker’s hostels are full of these guys who like nothing more than sitting round comparing prices and competing on who’s been on the road longest on the smallest budget.
7. The Web Addict
Similar to travelling with a couple but this person is obsessed with their gadgets and married to their apps. They’ll be taking selfies at every available opportunity and trying to upload videos to their site. Where you stay will be dictated by internet access and when there’s a power cut your friend will start clucking like an addict jonesing for a fix. Whatever you do, don’t try and take their phone off them, you’d have more chance trying to wrestle the prey from an alligator’s jaw.
8. The Sex Addict
Their main objective for each day will be to pull their fellow backpackers, so forget any cultural trips. If you hang out with this person your days will revolve around going where there are half naked people, to the beach, or the pool and nights in bars and clubs. Sounds like fun, maybe, but they’re going to be much more adept at pulling than you are; just think ‘Russell Brand’. So, while you’re handy to have around as a wingman you’ll soon be forgotten and left on your own while your mate is off gallivanting again.
9. The Vegetarian
I don’t normally have a problem with vegetarians, and if you’re travelling around India there are times when it’s a good idea to convert. But just try backpacking around Latin America and finding suitable foods for your mate to eat. Everywhere you go the locals will eye you up with a mixture of suspicion and pity. There’ll long drawn-out conversations on why meat should be eaten and if you’re lucky an omelette or salad might be rustled up, but don’t bother asking what it’s cooked in, the locals just do not get the concept of no meat products at all.
10. The Travel Guru
Been there, done that and bought the organic, environmentally sustainable, free-trade T-shirt in the 90s (before it was fashionable and everyone else was doing it). It goes without saying that travelling around with a guru can get pretty damn boring. Endless travellers-tales and war stories about raves in Goa before it got commercial and taking peyote with native Americans. Nothing is ever going to compare to this guy’s experiences. You’ve been to Italy? This guy did acid with the pope.