The 12 most important questions to ask your travel buddy before you travel

February 10, 2023

Planning a trip somewhere is always a thrilling process—especially when you’re going with a best friend or your partner. It is exciting to think about what might unfold during your travels; you could set off on your adventure and have an incredible time... but then again, you might end up getting disappointed if things don't go as planned. That’s why there are a few things that you should always discuss with your future travel buddy before setting off on your trip. Trust us, it's worth the chat!

1. What’s your budget?

Probably one of the most crucial topics to discuss with the the person (or people) you’re travelling with is money. It'll shape the way you handle everything from where you stay to what you eat throughout your adventure. Make sure to ask about their overall budget, but also about the little daily expenses. How much you're each willing to spend can influence whether you opt for a luxurious hotel or if you want something more low-key—like a fun, community-oriented hostel. (We vote for the latter and if that’s your go-to, here are some essential hostel hacks!) Are you planning to eat at Michelin-star restaurants or frequent local markets for cheap eats? It’s important to discuss this with your travel partner beforehand because if your budgets don’t align you’ll end up doing things alone, or you’ll have to compromise on your travel plans.

2. What kinds of activities do you want to do?

The types of things that you each hope to do during your trip is an important topic to discuss. Is your travel partner all about the adrenaline rush and wanna try things like skydiving or bungee jumping? Or are they more the chill type who just wants to lounge on a sandy beach and catch up on their reading? It’s also relevant to ask if they prefer to take their time and use their vacation to slow down for some self-care or if they’re that bucket-list oriented person who wants to see, do, and experience as much as possible before the return flight. Knowing what floats their boat will shape your itinerary and where you'll end up. Plus, it's a good starting point to figure out if you need to book any activities in advance.

3. What type of accommodation do you want to book?

Staying in a dorm in a unique or cozy little hostel is the dream for a lot of travellers—especially if you’re the backpacking kind. Because accommodation styles really run the gamut, it’s so important to check in on each other’s expectations for your home base before you go. Do you both want a private hostel room? A social dorm? A fancy hotel for a night or two? What are your priorities in terms of location? Do you want to experience camping on the beach, try out van-life, or do you absolutely need a comfy mattress in a hotel room? These are the questions to ask.

4. What’s your sleep schedule?

Many travellers use their trip as a way to wind down and de-stress from a busy lifestyle. Others plan to use every waking moment of their travels to squeeze out every opportunity they can. Which camp do you fall in? Are you a night owl or an early bird? If you're all about getting some shut-eye to recharge those batteries, make sure to have a chat with your travel buddy about your sleep style.

5. What do you like to eat?

Our preferences and requirements around food are probably one of our most important lifestyle choices. For some, exploring different cultures through cuisine is a major highlight of the trip, and dinnertime is an opportunity to explore and satisfy our inner foodie. For others, that’s not so easy as there are limitations with allergies, intolerances, or vegetarian or vegan diets. For those in the latter group, finding things to eat in a new country could be quite a challenge, depending on the destination. Think about the conversations you can have in advance to make sure everybody can eat safely and happily—you don’t want anyone to end up hangry and depleted—and the last thing you want is for someone to have an allergic reaction because you forgot to have that crucial conversation about what to avoid!

6. How do you react to unknown situations when things don’t go according to plan?

No matter the trip, there will always be a few things you have no control over. Something almost always comes up that will throw a wrench in your plans. That’s just how it is! Ask your travel pal how they usually react when they’re confronted with an unexpected situation that they cannot control. Are they cool as a cucumber and comfortable going with the flow when there’s a sudden change in plans? Or, do they suffer from a little bit of anxiety and sometimes have a difficult time dealing with these kinds of curveballs? The days and weeks before a trip is a great opportunity to learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses!

7. How much alone time do you need?

Before you set out, open the discussion to how much time you each want to be spending together. Are you happy to do some activities on your own or kick it solo here and there? Do you need a minimum of a few hours alone each day? What about the person who you’re travelling with? This can seem like a childish question but it’ll help you set your boundaries. If you don’t have this talk, you’re bound to run into some friction.

8. Do we need any vaccinations?

With COVID-19, we’ve had vaccination talk many times before. Whether or not you need shots before you travel is an important question to ask the person who you’re going with—some places could require a vaccination. This question can also open the conversation as to how they handle sickness and discomfort while travelling. Are they the kind of person who needs to know where the nearest pharmacy is? What would happen if either of you got sick or injured?

9. Are you hoping to socialize and make new friends?

Sometimes navigating new social situations with your backpacking buddy can be a tricky task. You don’t want to offend your travel mate if you’d like to get out there and meet new people. Start by asking how comfortable they are with socializing, and whether they’re hoping to mingle and make new friends. Or, maybe you'll find out that you both prefer to keep to yourselves and enjoy time on your own, or just with each other. This is also an opportunity to set some ground rules regarding whether or not others will be invited into your space, or if new friends are welcome to jump in on activities or travel plans.

10. Are you into spontaneous adventure or carefully-planned itineraries?

Are you the type to make a complete and carefully-plotted itinerary beforehand? And if so, will you be upset if it isn’t followed to a tee? Or are you more the type to wing it in the moment and see where life takes you? Do you prefer touristy hot-spots or venturing to more secluded places away from the crowds? These are just a few questions to ask your travel friend to make sure you see eye-to-eye.

11. What types of travel activities are you not comfortable with?

You don’t have to go in-depth and spill all of your biggest fears and worst nightmares with your travel companion. That said, you generally do want to get an idea of what your travel friend is comfortable with—and what they aren’t into. Maybe they have a fear of heights you didn’t know about. Perhaps they struggle with social anxiety and get anxious in crowds. Make sure to share what makes you uneasy, and learn about your friend's fears and discomforts as well. This way, you can either work together to overcome your fears or support each other when you decide to forgo the adventures that feel like too much.

12. To party or not to party?

Last but not least: to party or not to party? Some want to party every day, or at least a few times during their vacation, but some prefer to stay in their room and get a good night's sleep to rise early and be ready for next day’s adventures. Both are valid ways to spend your trip, that’s why it's so important to carve out time for an honest talk with your vacay bestie about where you each stand on this (if it’s not already clear).

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