We’ve all been there before. You wake up half-naked in Lima handcuffed to an angry guinea pig in what an overzealous real estate agent would loosely describe as a “charming fixer upper” but your mother would call a “death trap”. And while unexplained bruises might suggest your physical well being is at stake, your now fully awake friend is complaining loudly about the lack of Wi-Fi and how he’s been unable to share a pic of the only remaining evidence of what really went down last night—a fresh tattoo of your grinning taxi driver triumphantly sitting astride a tortoise.
We all know that the unexpected happens once you pull on a backpack and walk through the departure gates at the airport —and for the seasoned traveller the unknown is part of the appeal. However, while those on the road can always expect curveballs, these challenges are nothing compared to taking on the road less travelled with an annoying travel partner. To help, here are six travel traits that should be avoided at all costs:
1. The Inveterate Adventurer
The Inveterate Adventurer can be a mesmerizing encyclopaedia of amusing anecdotes and near-death experiences best retold over a few cold drinks; however, book a trip with them at your own peril. They’re the ones who will convince everyone to jump the barbed wire of a former secret headquarters just to see what happens—or lead everyone down a dark alley on the wrong side of the tracks because they’ve heard that’s where “all the good bars are”.
These are the types of travellers guaranteed to raise your blood pressure and test the finer points of your travel insurance policies: Slightly self-centred with a clear disregard for personal safety. Thankfully, they’re easily identified—their conversations often begin or end with: “Here. Hold my beer”. Ironically, they believe these antics are the glue that holds their friends together.
2. The Self-Styled Foodie
While most travellers will try and walk the fine line between embracing local food cultures and ensuring they don’t become best friends with a porcelain bowl for the next 48 hours, navigating a meal with a Self-Styled Foodie is a far trickier prospect.
When you’re in a foreign country and faced with a plate of food that looks like something you’d season with bug-spray, the last thing you need is someone who spent a whole ten minutes on the web looking up local food customs, lecturing you about the health benefits of endemic insects. If you’re going to take the plunge try something new then it should be on your own terms!
3. The Gullible Tourist
Gullible tourists are a liability. They’re the ones you always have to look over your shoulder for and make sure they’re not handing over wads of cash for a rug that was apparently hand-woven by ancient monks from a far off mystical mountain range — but looks eerily similar to every rug in every other shop you’d visited that day.
While travellers who take most things at face value do have their charms, keep in mind that these are also the people that are likely to strike up a friendship with someone in a nightclub toilet at 5am and strap a few suspect packages to their body before their next plane ride, because “it seemed like a compelling business opportunity”
4. The Chronic Updater
A danger to themselves and anyone within five feet when brandishing a selfie stick, the Chronic Updater will ensure that every two minutes of your trip is documented online and in a variety of filters. The Chronic Updater overanalyzes every travel experience and how it may play out online. Even relaxing with a book in the park is fraught with challenges — imagine the damage to their carefully cultivated online persona if they were tagged in a photo with a cheap rom-com.
So if you’re ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in a similar situation, suggest that the Chronic Updater leaf through a well-worn leather bound opus written by the most interesting person they know – themselves. After all it was Oscar Wilde who said “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
5. The Activity Director
Like a devotee who just won’t stop trying to convince people to go ‘Paleo’, the Activity Director is certain theirs is the only way. Whether they’re explaining the benefits of getting up at 5am for a 24-hour bus ride to witness the sun rise over a hill that looks like a pregnant hippopotamus, or telling you your choice of dress is culturally insensitive when all you’ve done is pull on a pair of swim trunks to hit the beach—the Activity Director always has an opinion and is always willing to share it.
After a week on the road, chances are the only thing you’re going to want to hear from this type of traveller is their protests as you drive off leaving them tied to a tree.
6. The Displaced Hipster
Easily identified by their ironic beards and malnourished, side-parted, glasses-sans-lenses appearance, the Displaced Hipster can often be found in foreign countries trying to source the best organic lentil burger in the city and are often seen arguing over the benefits of vinyl compared with MP3 for faithfully reproducing that band “you’ve probably never heard of”.
While these travellers have an inherent ability to find great coffee and lead you to pop-up bars made from recycled materials, inner city urbanites tend to lose their lustre outside of the city limits. Those extra skinny black jeans may look great leaning up against a warehouse with a book on socialist history tucked safely under an arm, but try going hiking with them on the Lares Trail in Peru for more than a day. That’s #nextlevelchaffing — if you know what we mean.
Choose Your Travel Partners Wisely
Travelling offers up a kaleidoscope of experiences—from the outrageously funny, to the dangerous to the downright stressful. And while that friend who meticulously studies any restaurant bill seems like a sensible choice to accompany any off-the-beaten path adventure, you would be surprised how quickly their obsessive penny-pinching ways will lead you to wanting to hit them over the head with a sock full of coins. Bottom line is that there are some people you just shouldn’t travel with—so choose wisely!