All Travelers Are Not Created Equal

Travel can bring out the best and the worst in people.

My trip planning normally consists of me picking a destination, taking time off work and preparing for a good time with friends or family.  Nowhere in the planning does it include wanting to slap the friend who decided Mexico was the best place to turn into a mean girl, or having to deal with the broke friend while in Florida whose idea of splitting rental car expenses involved a partial payment in food stamps, nor does it include explaining to others in the travel group why my friend was just angry at the world while in Europe.

These are all actual experiences and after over 20 years of traveling which included many trips with my family of nomads including a temperamental parent, I’ve learned how critical it is to recognize my own nuances and quirks but equally important, having certain discussions with potential travel partners.

#1 – The “I’m Cool with Whatever”

The I’m cool with Whatever is usually indecisive and won’t offer an opinion about anything, so you’ll end up doing everything but hold their fork including making all of the travel arrangements, planning excursions or meal options.  He or she is basically tagging along for the trip and while thinking they’re making your life much easier by not offering any input, you may be left guessing if what you decide was the right choice.  Even worse, this might be the person who seems open to any and everything but may end up being the Debbie Downer complaining about everything at the last minute.  This traveler is annoying and is pretty much useless, alike to traveling with a child because you’re left doing it all.

#2 – The High-Maintenance Diva/Divo

Wah, wah wah.  I need, need, need.  More, more, more.

This type of traveler really grates my nerves because they are far too demanding and nothing is ever good enough.  The room is always too small, the water isn’t getting hot enough, the waiter added too much ice to their drink, the guacamole isn’t as good as it is back home, the sky is too bright.

They will find anything to complain about and may also be the know-it-all who has been there and done that and quite honestly, are embarrassing to be around.  Sure there may be some legitimate gripes about one or two things that occurred during your trip, but Mr. /Ms. High-Maintenance will take everything over the top and nothing will make them happy.  Who wants to spend time on vacation worrying about your travel buddy being happy?  Not me.

#3 – The Cheapskate

Sometimes I can’t tell if this person is really struggling financially and somehow scraped up the funds or if they are the modern day Al Bundy, but traveling with a penny pincher is a no go.

The Cheapskate’s are always coming up short on something and “can you cover me” happens more frequently than it should and there’s always the cash of having to make a stop to the ATM.  What annoys me even further is the one who never remembers to convert their cash to the local currency when traveling abroad so again, they’re hitting you up until they get money or make it back to the room.

Again, it may be hard to tell if they’re just moochers or really broke but either way – it’s a turn off.  If you’re a poor planner and like taking risks and relying on that debit or credit card abroad or your finances are that tight, you should have kept your butt at home.

#4 – The Big Spender

The polar opposite of a cheapskate is just as annoying because this is the travel partner with the 5-star budget needing all of the luxurious amenities spending money like it grows on trees, while you’re working off of a 2-star D-List celebrity budget.  You’re probably thinking this one sounds a bit unreasonable since it isn’t The Big Spender’s fault they’ve got money to burn, but I look at it this way – you should travel with like-minded people with similar lifestyles.

This traveler will spend, spend, spend and is always requesting top-notch service and amenities, the most expensive type of excursion and would rather spend more time shopping than sight-seeing to fulfill their frivolous needs.  There is no consideration that others in the group may not have it like that and in the end, may begin feeling resentful as if they’re being held back by those who may be balling on a budget.

#5 – The Busy Body

A vacation is your chance to make sure you have an enjoyable time and are getting the best bang for your buck, so of course it helps to have an idea of a few things you plan on doing while there but The Busy Body type can go a bit overboard.

He/she will make sure the day starts before you’re completely awake with a 4am hike, shower at 6:05am, breakfast at 7:02am, walk to the elevator at 9:15am, excursions all day, then have you back at the hotel by 8:55pm before dinner from 9-930pm. before doing it all over the next day.  I’m tired just having written all of that, so imagine how other travelers feel having their poo poo time on a schedule?

The Over Active traveler figures sleeping in is for the lazy and can be done at home so if you’re more of a laid back type or need some down time, make you sure communicate this with this partner ahead of time.  Trust me, it will make both of your lives a lot better during a trip if you’re on the same page.

If you’re guilty of being this type of person just keep one thing in mind – Rome wasn’t built in a day.  I’m completely onboard with maximizing any vacation but you can’t cover the entire city or country in just a couple of days.  Make yourself a “must see” list along with a “would be nice to see” list and whatever you don’t have time go do you can just save it for next time instead of trying to overload the rest of your party during a trip.

#6 – The Photographer

Raises both hands!!  I’m somewhat guilty of this and both my friends and the 20 gigs of memory in my Android know how much I love snapping photos, so I can totally relate to the annoyances created by The Photographer.

We enjoy sightseeing and make it a point to capture the moments of the different points of interests and our friends in both flattering and unflattering positions during our trips.  We can’t help it and unfortunately, are even more annoying by the types of people who take very little photos or none at all (who are these people??).

As I’m writing this post, I am preparing for what is sure to be the trip of a lifetime to Thailand with one of my friends for the first time.  First time traveling to this country and first time traveling together and thus far, I think we’ve covered the needs, wants and nuances and so far she’s approved my overzealous need to snap tons of photos (thanks Keana!).

Worst Traveler #7 – The Slow Poke

I’m doing the dance like I have the Holy Ghost on this one because this person right here?  Works-my-nerves because there is nothing worse than the person who is as slow as molasses, dragging their feet and always the last to and for everything.

In their mind, being The Slow Poke shouldn’t be a big deal and you’ll hear them saying things like “I’m not on the clock” or “Vacation is for relaxing” to which my reply is how everyone shouldn’t be kept waiting for them, and next time they should vacation alone.  I’ve actually said these very words.

That nightmare trip I mentioned earlier in Florida almost didn’t happen and here’s why – that former friend decided getting to the airport at least 2 hours in advance wasn’t necessary since we chose to fly out of the much smaller location in Long Beach.  When I saw how close to our flight departing was nearing I was ready to leave her ass and just meet in Miami but she was holding our tickets so I was stuck.  Do you know that plane had begun to taxi by the time she arrived and I was at the United Airlines counter crying alligator tears because it was the last flight out on a busy holiday weekend?  Let’s just say it was God, a supervisor with a heart and a pilot with a soul and they stopped the plane, brought us those stairs and allowed us to board!

Stress and hate is what I felt as I buckled myself into my seat, so you can only imagine how the rest of that vacation went.

A bit of advice for the slow poke, lazy and lackadaisical folks – if you know you have challenges with time you need to the FIRST one doing everything.  The first person waking up, showering and getting dressed even if that means you’re ready before everyone else.  You make life more enjoyable for others in your party since you’re normally the one they are almost always waiting for.

Worst Traveler #8 – The Picky Eater

People may be looking for different things when vacationing and don’t have the slightest bit of interest in trying foods that are outside of their fish, salad or carne asada menu and  that’s okay, but you don’t have to be a jerk about it when venturing off to new places.

You could very well be traveling somewhere down south where the healthiest choice is the fried chicken or a foreign country where snake soufflé is the most popular dish, and there’s nothing worse than trying to maintain your annoyance at the picky eater when ordering at a restaurant.

Here’s a tip – research the foods ahead of time and if needed, check out the restaurants before venturing out to avoid this often awkward moment for you and your buddies.

Worst Traveler #9 – The Party Animal and/or Drunk

There’s always that one person in your group who figures vacation means excessive drinking, so The Party Animal and/or Drunk is the one whose loud, sloppy and obnoxious behavior makes for one of the worst types of people to get stuck traveling with.

He/she knows no boundaries and will often complain that you’re cramping their style when making sure they aren’t wondering off somewhere, trying to flirt with everyone or vomiting all over the place and you can certainly expect a knock on your door at 4am by this one who’s still ready to party when everyone else is in bed.  Go ahead and look at this type of annoying traveler you may need to babysit a bit for fear of what they may end up doing or where they’ll end up.  Nobody wants to play babysitter to an adult.

Worst Traveler #10 – The Distrusting Boo

You may be thinking this annoying traveler isn’t all that common, but if you really think about it you’ve likely been around The Distrusting Boo before they’re the ones that are constantly checking in.

Whether it’s the constant checking of messages to see if the significant other has reached out or the calls, either your traveler or their honey back home is in need of validation of their love and loyalty.  Sometimes you’re overhearing those conversations with the “I’m just out here with my friends, so you can relax” having you wish they would just hang up.  It’s particularly awkward when the person you’re with has been acting like Stella getting her groove back since you arrived, but that’s none of your business.

I’ve witnessed several instances where a friend either didn’t receive the “approval” to go on the trip in the first place from the husband or boyfriend or there was some history of someone having cheated or misbehaved during a prior trip.

If you’re this type of travel just know – we understand the need to make sure your honey knows you’re doing well or to communicate about your children, but it can be a bit cumbersome if you’re constantly on the phone or being stressed.  I don’t think there’s an easy answer to the situation where the mate has a need for constant contact while you’re away so perhaps scheduling a morning over evening call may work best.

So there you have it – the 10 worst types of travelers I’ve encountered during my adventures and I’m sure there are plenty more that can be added to this list.

If you can avoid being these types of people as your travel companions, you are guaranteed to have much more of an enjoyable trip and if you’re unable to avoid them (significant other or relative), you should definitely have a few chats about your expectations while away.

Sometimes I think some people travel just to say they went somewhere without having any intentions of actually experiencing anything new.  To me, the best travel companion will be the one who is truly interested in exploring a new city or country.  They are looking to open themselves up to differences in cultures, foods and customs and most importantly, will be open-minded.  I think some people travel just to say they went somewhere without having any expectations or plans to actually experience something new.

What type of traveler are you?




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