There is no more important decision or greater commitment in life than choosing the right traveling companion. Having a kid, getting married, rescuing a puppy, moving from Manhattan to Texarkana—these are all small potatoes compared to spending 10 days in Guadeloupe with a friend.
Most people have a lot of friends, maybe even several tiers of friends. The A list, the B list, the ones who can drive, the ones who can find the exact right pair of jeans, the ones who have a lot of specialist doctors, the ones who can set up a tray of hors d’oeuvres in the shape of a pinwheel—but none are who you’d want to take on a trip. That takes a whole different list of criteria and it is all about Travel Compatibility.
I‘ve compiled a simple checklist of scenarios for you and your potential travel mate to consider. If you have fewer than four out of six questions in common, you may want to rethink your choice.
Financial Compatibility: This is not just about having similar incomes, but also about the way you spend money. Here’s the scenario: You’ve been walking around Belize all day and are exhausted and a little bit lost. You see a bus stop that might take you near your hotelandyou see a taxi that will cost big bucks but will certainly take you to your hotel. Are you going to splurge or save?
Fitness: If you’re the kind of person who panics when your gym is closed on Christmas, you’ll want to make sure you’re both on the same page about fitness options. Here’s the scenario: You are at the Statue of Liberty and you have a option of walking up to her nose or taking a helicopter around it. Are you taking the easy way out?
Eating and Drinking: This is one of the most crucial points, in my opinion. I need to eat in a timely fashion, and my personality suffers if I don’t. Because this one is more important than anything else, be honest with your answers to the following true-or-false questions: your trip depends on it.
• I have frequently uttered the sentence, “I forgot to eat lunch!“ True or False.
• When given a choice between a boat ride down the Ganges or a breakfast buffet, I’d choose the buffet. True or False.
• Sometimes I need a glass of wine, and when I say a glass, I mean a bottle. True or False.
• I understand that some people shouldn’t be spoken to before they’ve had coffee. True or False.
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How You View Art:I’ve often impressed people with the speed by which I can get through an exhibit. In fact, I frequently find myself waiting for upwards of an hour at the gift shop at the end of a show—which is not a bad thing. You can tell what pieces were the most important by what’s on the T-shirts and mugs. Okay, there’s not really a scenario here. Just say “Do you like to spend hours looking at one painting?“ and take it from there.