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10 Do's and Don't's of Picking a Travel Buddy

Recently a friend of mine asked me a question that got me thinking: “Do you and Damon piss each other off when traveling?”  Despite the bubbly, fun, love-fest that we play on-camera, the answer to this question is this: hell to the yes; we piss each other off all the time.

It’s not that we’re faking our “organic chemistry” when we film, but it’s impossible to not piss someone off that lives with you, works with you, struggles with you, and is out of their comfort zone with you. The truth comes out when you travel for long periods of time with the same person, whether that’s catching onto their gross habit of clipping their toenails while in bed, or realizing that you can’t stand seeing their dirty floss strips throughout your puny apartment (one of Damon’s dirty deeds). FYI, these are real (nasty) things we’ve both had to deal with.

From these experiences, I’ve learned a crucial lesson: hitting the road with a friend can make or break your adventure.To avoid anyone else messing with your time, money, travel plans, and healthy chi-levels, I’ve decided to create the top ten Do’s and Don’t’s of picking your perfect travel buddy. Ya welcome.

1.  Do bring a friend whose I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T; do you know what I mean?

Do you have friends who will only venture to the bathroom in groups of two or more? Yeah, ya can’t bring ’em. You paid too much money (even if it’s a super cheap trip) to deal with a stage-five clinger. You should bring along a friend who is okay to be alone in certain uncomfortable situations, such as sitting with strangers on a packed bus or sleeping in a different room in a hostel if there’s no availability for you to be together. Trust me, these things happen and you need to have someone that’s able to tough it out alone from time to time. Just because they want to go spend a day at the museum doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your bronzing day at the beach. I love you Damon but BYEEEEE, I’ll catch ya on the flip side.

2.  Don’t bring a friend whose makeup bag is bigger than your carry-on.

Avoid girls (and guys) who can’t leave their house without 30-minute showers, pin-straight hair, or pounds of makeup on their face. The truth is, when you’re traveling, you might not have hot showers, or even a mirror (now do you understand why I look like Diana Ross when I’m traveling?). While their materialistic habits may keep them lookin’ fresh, you’ll be pulling out your hair from the thought of wasting precious time waiting for them to get dolled up. Embrace the natural look people.

3.  Do bring a friend who speaks, or is open to speaking, foreign languages.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you should cross anyone that doesn’t speak a second language off your list, but at least choose someone who is down with google translating or learning a few words in a foreign language so that you won’t be the only one communicating with the locals. What’s the point of traveling if you’re not making yourself look like an a$$ by attempting to speak the native language? Come on, live a little. Americans get a bad rap for not trying to speak other languages; prove them wrong and charm the locals with your cute accent.

4.  Don’t bring a friend who runs every time the check comes.

We all have that friend that disappears to the bathroom or pretends they forgot their wallet at home when the dinner bill comes to the table. When you’re talking about Euros, Pounds, or any other expensive currency compared to the US dollar, financials ain’t no joke. Be sure you have a travel buddy that’s not afraid to talk money, and then establish your boundaries when it comes to sharing or splitting things. Those exchange rates might have you exchanging your friends for new ones.

5.  Do bring a friend that will let you flirt with cute foreigners without breathing down your back.

If you’re trying to whisper sweet nothings to that sexy Spaniard named Fabio and your “wing woman” is holding your arm out of fear that you’ll get taken, you have to let her know that “that’s not a good look boo boo.” Just because you’re abroad, doesn’t automatically mean that every person you talk to is dangerous. Not only will your macking skills plummet to the ground, but you’ll start resenting her from losing the possibility of meeting, dating, or who knows, even boom-boom-powing awesome, exotic people. Bring this person along and you can kiss your bow-chicka-wow-wow bye-bye.

6.  Don’t bring a friend that will be on Skype the entire trip.

You left the States to find an adventure of a lifetime and let me tell you something; neither you nor your travel buddy will find it in front of a Skype screen. It’s tough to let go of your loved ones while abroad, but it’s also tough to live in the moment when you’re living on a screen. The perfect travel buddy is one that will encourage you to unplug and open your senses to your new surroundings. Odds are you won’t even have a working phone, take advantage of that serenity and start learning how to have face-to-face conversations once again.

7.  Do bring a friend who enjoys walking long distances.

The best way to see a city is on foot. When you’re weaving in-and-out of city streets and knocking sights off your to-see list, you tend to get lost in the wanderlust; in other words, you walk your a$$ off. It’s not that you need to be marathon-ready in order to be a good travel buddy, but take an extra look at your friends who love to exercise; they may be the ones who can have the endurance for extra-long days.

8.  Don’t bring a friend that can’t live without wearing Rolex watches and other forms of bling-bling.

Depending on the country, nothing screams, “please come rob me” more than wearing bling-bling in public while abroad. Why do you think most veteran backpackers are decked out with colorful friendship bracelets (basically, we wear rags on our wrists)? They cost basically nothing so it won’t attract robbers while still giving you a small piece of your journey, not to mention boosting your vagabond style. If your friend has to look like Jenny from the block every time she walks out the door, then she might as well stay bling-blingin’ in the suburban malls. Just no girl, no.

9.  Do bring a friend that likes to try new things.

There’s no reason you should ever travel
with anyone that says things like “Why should we go further than we have to when we already have a restaurant in our hotel?” or “Why would I ever want to climb a volcano? That’s dangerous.” Hanging out with these people is like committing travel suicide. For that crappy attitude, stay yo ass home.

10.  Absolutely, positively DON’T bring that obsessive TV-watching, McDonald’s-eating, all-day-sleeping, iMessage-texting, constant Facebook-updating friend that would sacrifice you having the time of your life on a trip you’ve worked your a$$ off for!

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