While abroad, many students take the opportunity to travel as much as possible- country-hopping in Europe, exploring the countryside, or just going on an adventure in their host city. Regardless of where you’re going or how you’re getting there (train, donkey, motorbike), your travel companions are going to have a huge impact on your experience. With the right friends by your side, even the most miserable of trips can be hilarious and enjoyable. Remember: your closest friends may not always be the best of travel companions. You may adore your BFF from school but if she hates getting dirty and you want to go hiking, it’s probably wise to find a new partner for the camping trip you’re planning.
Studying abroad often introduces you to a whole new set of people, which means that you may not know your new friends as well as the people you’ve spent years with at home or at school. Here are a few qualities that you should look for in travel companions before embarking on your adventures…
Sense of Humor – Ask any traveller: a sense of humor is CRUCIAL. It can transform the disappointments and frustrations of your journey into comical elements that add to your experience. If your friend is quick with a smile and a joke when things take a turn for the worse, you’ve found a keeper.
Friendliness- Not everyone is outgoing and bubbly, especially when they find themselves in a new culture. There are some people who are natural socializers and make friends easily wherever you go. Don’t feel bad if you’re shy about meeting locals- bring along one of these social butterflies and you’ll find yourself being introduced to new people and making new friends your whole trip.
Dealing with Setbacks- Let’s be honest: your trip is never going to go perfectly. There will always be things that go wrong, from the minor to the catastrophic. Keeping a positive attitude in the face of these setbacks in going to be critical. Look for friends who stay calm and look on the bright side no matter what gets thrown their way.
Flexibility- With the inevitable setbacks and changes that will happen with your travel plans, it’s incredibly important to stay flexible. Good travellers know to keep moving forward rather than dwelling on the past and always make the most of the experience. So the museum your friend was dying to see is closed… are they going to brush it off and find something else exciting to do instead, or will they complain and mope until you get back to the hostel?
Adaptable- When you travel with other companions, you may be forced to live in close quarters and endure high-pressure situations. Your friends need to know how to adapt to the people around them to keep the conflict to a minimum. For example, if most of the group is on a tight budget and doesn’t want to go out to eat, an ideal companion will try to compromise for the sake of the group even if they’re craving a big restaurant meal.
Traveling while abroad is an incredible opportunity if it’s undertaken by friends who work well together on the road. With travel companions who possess great qualities like flexibility and a sense of humor, your trip can be an incredible journey that leaves everyone feeling more confident to explore the world.