In a previous post, I listed the ‘Seven types of people you never want to travel with‘. Among the unpleasant characters cited, I called out The Scrooge, The Drunk and The Control Freak. Now, one must understand that these are extremes. There are also a group of people – friends – who fall under a grey area. I appreciate their company as friends, but if I had a choice, I wouldn’t want to travel with them. They could be nice people (whom I’m ready to meet for an hour or two, once a month), but for a week-long holiday, it’s a really different story.
Here are the 13 types of friends who are travel liabilities, in my opinion.
1. The Bore
If I have already run out of topics to share with you during gatherings, chances are, we are going to have even more awkward moments overseas. There’s only so much you can talk to The Bore about his/her job, family and relationships (or the lack thereof). Usually, these topics would be sufficient to cover 12 x 2hr gatherings in a year, but definitely not suitable for 7 x 24hr day trips.
2. The Prince/ Princess
Travelling with the Prince/ Princess is not only taxing on the wallet, but emotionally draining as well. Prince and princesses have specific needs and wants, and these have to be delivered within their expectations. Failure to do so may result in a downcast face, or a gloomy attitude throughout the afternoon. Eating at a roadside stall for instance, would be frowned upon. Furthermore, you have to constantly worry if the restaurant you recommended or the wine you have selected has met their high high standards. So tiring.
3. The Neat Freak
I’m a messy person by nature, therefore the Neat Freak is going to feel very uncomfortable with my jacket, bag and camera left carelessly on the dressing room table. It’s not just about the organisation of physical items, but my travel plans are rather disorganised – I live by the principle – we will know when we get there. The Neat Freak would deem me a liability as well, as I scramble to stuff my newly bought purchases into my backpack at the last-minute to catch a flight.
4. The Unfit
If you’re the type that feels tired after walking for 10 minutes in good, cool weather, you are a major liability. To me, walking is an essential part of travelling. You get to learn more about a city at a slower pace, and view people and events you’ll never see if you had hurried through the city in a cab. If you cannot meet the basic standards.. Out!
5. The Weak
Like the unfit, if you’ve a track record of falling sick multiple times in a month, I’m going to be super fearful of travelling with you. It’s fine if you happen to nurse a cold during the trip, or twist your ankle by accident. These are unfortunate events which we can’t plan for. But if you’re always sick back at home, why not stay where you are and recuperate?
6. The Hyper-lntense
I love taking my trips slow and steady, and if you’re going all out for a packed travelling schedule which includes bar-top dancing and club-hopping, I’m going to feel super exhausted. Likewise, if you’re going to be doing 10hr shopping trips each day, please leave me out of your plans..
7. The Early to Bed
In general, I would prefer not to have travelling companions who go to bed too early (unless they are really good friends). I would love to check out a city’s nightlife, or watch late night local movies over some wine… Where’s the fun in heading to bed at 10.30pm? That being said, if I know that my travelling companions had hellish days at work before going on the trip, I’ll close an eye.
8. The Late Riser
If you think that I would be open to Late Risers since I dislike those who sleep early, that’s wrong. My travelling modus operandi is about heading to bed late and waking up early, in order to make the most of the time in a foreign country. I am unable to tolerate people who wake up at 11am during a trip. That’s a major no no.
9. The Scary Cat
I absolutely cannot stand friends who are scared of things. Telling me things like ‘it looks like it’s going to rain, better stay in the hotel’, or ‘aiya, don’t know if this paragliding is going to be safe’ is likely to elicit the rolling of eyes.
10. The Sticky/ The Needy
I think having some form of alone time is fine during trips. If you are keen to see something at an adjacent store, go for it. We could meet back in 30 minutes. Telling me, “Phebe, that shop got this cute little keychain. Let’s go see together” while I’m in the middle of looking at something interesting, is so going to get my blood boiling.
I’m also not by nature a very helpful person, and if you’re the type that Needs Help to a) pack your luggage b) fill up your immigration form c) buy food, you’re out! Hello Miss, I’m not here to be your travelling servant and even more so, I’m not your Boyfriend. So wake up your idea, I’m never going to travel with you.
11. The Sensitive Soul
Okay, I have many friends who have high EQs and are quite sensitive, so I’ve got to tread around this carefully. But my point is, tempers can flare and conflicts can happen during trips. You may be annoyed by your travelling companion from time to time. Therefore, if the person is going to feel easily hurt by a random comment you made in the fit of the moment, it’s going to be really tiring having to placate the person and apologise all the time. Even worse if the person bears grudges.
12. The extreme Passive Aggressor
A little bit of passive aggression during a trip is fine, as it helps to spice things up. But I’m not a super sensitive person to begin with, and up to a certain point, I’m going to feel so tired having to second guess what you want. Just be direct with what you want and I’ll see if I can accommodate.
If you’re angry with me for stealing your fries, insulting your favourite Korean popstar, being late or walking too fast, tell me and we can thrash it out. Don’t bottle it up inside until you Explodeeee..
13. The Judge
This is possibly the worst attribute that one can have. If you’re thinking of using the trip to share advice on how you think I can improve my life, please forget it. You probably have my best interests at heart, but I’m on a trip and the last thing I want is to have an irritating mosquito nagging by the side of my ear. Therefore, if you have such intentions, I suggest you declare it upfront and not travel with me. Otherwise, be prepared to get left behind.
As the golfer Amy Alcott once put it, ‘Don’t give advice unless you’re asked’.
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To add a balanced view, I’ve travelled with friends who exhibit one or more of these traits, but they were so awesome that I ended up having great fun as well. To sum it all up, it all depends.
What I have learnt from travelling with friends is this.
It’s not the easiest thing to do, especially when both of you have differing interests and places you’ll like to visit. When conflicts happen and mean comments are exchanged in the heat of the moment, compromise is important, and even more so, a forgiving heart.
I realised, at the end of the day, it’s not about how much liabilities a friend would bring on the trip, but it’s about the value of their company. That added dimension they could bring to you while looking at a contemporary art piece together, suffering from a stomach ache from eating super spicy Korean Army Stew, or the bout of laughter they spark off in you with their silly ways.
Well I guess if you’re found to be a super big liability, then you better have some assets to make up for it.
And what would I consider to be travelling assets? Well, that’s for another post. 🙂