I believe that traveling is always a good experience (even a terrible vacation will give you stories to tell for years to come), but who you choose to travel with will make a big difference in what kind of experience you have. A cross-country road trip with your three best friends will be very different than a cross-country road trip with your dad, for example. And that dream trip to the Great Wall of China? Should you go it alone or take your boyfriend along?
Click through to find out the pros and cons of different travel partners, and please share your own travel partner preferences in the comments!
Pros: Guarantee of zany antics, copious amounts of colorful cocktails, a thousand new inside jokes, and talking about life late into the night. BFF vacations are special because really, is there anyone else you have more fun with?
Cons: Traveling with a best friend can be a lot like living with a best friend: it’s a test of intimacy that can make or break your friendship. Did you know your bestie likes to stick to a detailed itinerary and refuses to wash her toothpaste spit down the sink? Are you OK with that?
Take the trip if… having fun is your top priority and you talk beforehand about your preferred traveling styles.
Pros: Traveling with your man (or woman) gives you the chance to relax and enjoy your relationship outside the stress and complications of everyday life. Going to Europe with my boyfriend took our relationship out of our comfort zone and made it so much stronger. Traveling as a couple allows you to focus on each other and make memories that will last a lifetime. Also, two words: Hotel. Sex.
Cons: There’s nothing worse than taking a trip to escape your troubles, and then bickering the whole time. Also, if you’re not totally comfortable with each other, tiny hotel bathrooms plus questionable tap water is not the best combo.
Take the trip if… you’re secure in your relationship and not using a vacation as a band-aid for your problems.
Pros: Why travel with one BFF when you can get the whole gang in on the action? A group vacation can be double or triple or quadruple the fun, and is a great way to strengthen old friendships. Plus, with more people, if two of you want to check out the art museum while three of you would rather hit the beach, you can split off and reunite for dinner.
Cons: More people means more personalities which means more potential for arguments and complications. And that whole “splitting off into small groups” thing is great, unless you’re the odd man out.
Take the trip if… social time is your first priority and you don’t mind compromising on day-to-day plans.
Pros: A mother-daughter trip is a great way to cement your bond and/or get to know each other as adults. Whether you’re being pampered at a spa or conquering Machu Picchu together, you’ll have conversations you never thought you’d have with your mom, and gain a new appreciation for the amazing woman who gave birth to you.
Cons: Unfortunately for every mother-daughter trip that goes well, there’s one that ends with a screaming fight and crying in the hotel shower.
Take the trip if… you’re in a good place with your mother-daughter relationship and are ready for a boost of intimacy.
Pros: A trip with Dad is a great way to strengthen your bond outside of the normal family dynamic, and dads tend to bring their own brand of old-fashioned weirdness to the travel experience. Going to Florida with my dad was one of the most memorable (read: crazy) vacations of my life, in part because he insisted on ordering a chef salad at every single restaurant we visited.
Cons: Like any relationship, if your connection with your dad is distant or strained, there’s no guarantee that traveling together will fix it. In fact, there’s a good chance it will make things worse. Navigating the father-daughter dynamic as adults can be awkward, and dads can be–how do I put this lightly?–grumpy old curmudgeons, which is no fun.
Take the trip if… you’re yearning for father-daughter time and are prepared for a trip that’s not perfect, but definitely memorable.
Pros: Ah, the family reunion vacation. It’s crazy, loud, unpredictable, hilarious, and totally awesome. Plus, who knew your cousin “Tattletale Tara” would grow up to be BFF material?
Cons: Ah, the family reunion vacation. It’s also awkward, overwhelming, and passive aggressive. Plus, who knew a group of people could have absolutely no sense of personal boundaries?
Take the trip if… you budget for therapy afterward.
Pros: Traveling on your own gives you total freedom: you can do exactly what you want to do, see exactly what you want to see, eat exactly what you want to eat, sleep exactly when you want to sleep, and so on and so on. You’re sure to meet amazing new people on your journey, but learning to be content with your own company is a powerful lesson in itself.
Cons: Being alone can be, well, lonely, and some experiences feel hollow when they’re not being shared. Also taking pictures with the self-timer on your camera is a pain in the ass.
Take the trip if… you need to do some solo soul-searching, or even if you’ve just never traveled alone before: everyone should take a trip on their own at least once in their lives.
Original by Winona Dimeo-Ediger