10 People You Should Never Travel With

By Aussie on the Road on  49 Comments
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10 People You Should Never Travel With

We’ve all experienced it. You and a good friend decide to go away on a trip together and it doesn’t pan out exactly as planned. That Dr. Jekyl you got along with so well with at work or at school is suddenly a Mr. (or Mrs.) Hyde and your entire trip is a nightmare as a result.

Whether they’re arguing with you over their share of dinner, bitching about the locals, or just refusing to do anything more adventurous than walking down to the beach – we’ve all travelled with one (or more) of the following unsavory characters. Hell, I’ve even been one of them on at least one occasion.

So, here are the ten people you should never travel with. But heck, if you do, it’ll at least make for some funny anecdotes once the dust has settled over the inevitable break-down of the friendship…

#10 – The Self Taught ‘Expert’

With a copy of Lonely Planet in one hand and Wikipedia set as the homepage on their iPhone, the self taught expert isn’t a bad person – they’re just annoying. They mean well and may even come in handy when you’re trying in vain to make yourself understood to your taxi driver, but their rigid adherence to the Gospel according to Frommer may make it hard to get them out of the shiny tourist district and into a hole in the wall restaurant.

“Lonely Planet says…”

may be their favorite way to start a sentence, and you’ll have a hard time convincing them that a world exists beyond the Insadong’s of the world. Insadong is Seoul’s tourist district, by the way.

They’re going to be a lot of help in plotting out your trip and in making it happen, but have a word with them before you leave about your desire to see something that doesn’t have a mile long queue. The world is bigger than even the weightiest Lonely Planet tome can illustrate.

#9 – The Homebody

You’re halfway around the world and they’re in the darkened hotel room watching movies on HBO and leafing through a book they picked up downstairs.

“I’ll be down in a little while,” they promise you, “You guys go ahead with me”.

But as the sun is setting on another wonderful day exploring some exotic new land, you’ve seen no sign of them. And maybe later that night you’ll stagger back into your room just a little tipsy and they’ll still be there.

The homebody is a close relative of the coward, except they don’t even make the effort to look like they’re game to try. They’ve come all this way to basically do the things they would have been doing at home. They’ll have excuses like “Oh, it’s too humid” or “I’m feeling a little under the weather”, but basically – they’re terrible human beings. Perfect candidates for post birth abortion.

You have my blessing.

#8 – The Patriot

“This shit would not happen in America, I’ll tell you that”.

"FREEDOM!" Wait. Wrong movie.
“FREEDOM!” Wait. Wrong movie.

Your reservation at a Fijian resort has been lost and you’re understandably frustrated. But then some loud mouthed Yank or ocker Aussie is shouting about their outrage and all you want to do is find the nearest blunt object and redecorate the reception desk in brain matter grey.

The patriot loves their country – and that’s admirable, but their blind love prevents them from finding fault in their own country and – worst of all – it forces them to project their own country’s values onto whichever place you’re visiting.

They’re the ones who flinch away from the local food, complain about the people who spit in the street, and are horrified to learn that the bar you’re in doesn’t have Budweiser on tap.

“How dare this country with its own culture and history not better emulate the country I left behind?”

It’s normal to find things you dislike when travelling and it’s not uncommon to draw comparison from time to time. But when the entire trip is basically seen as one giant slight against one person’s delicate sensibilities, it gets old and it gets old fast.

Ditch them in a dark alley in down-town Vladivostok. I hear they’ve got uses for people you should never travel with.

#7 – The Whore (or Man-Whore)

My good friend (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) had a less than enjoyable experience when a friend of his visited and basically enlisted him as the sexless innkeeper as she proceeded to go out and hook up with a different drunken local every single night of her visit.

You know the kind I’m talking about. After a few drinks they’re into the lap of the nearest muscle bound figure of dubious intelligence, only returning to ask for money for a drink or to confirm that they’ve got the right directions to tell a cab driver after tomorrow morning’s walk of shame.

And of course, it’s not just girls either. The man-whore is much worse. At least the female equivalent doesn’t boast about her conquests the following morning.

It’s not that you begrudge them finding a little ‘summin’ summin” on the road. It’s that they’re doing it every night and basically ignoring you while they do it. And it gets so much worse if their one night stand turns into a constant travel companion – an annoying ‘local’ with an inflated sense of self importance who seems intent on basically steering you and your friend towards the nearest bar as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Get them a shot of penicillin, wish them well, and go about your business. That pretty girl at the bar looks like she could use a vodka cranberry.

They all drink vodka cranberry.

#6 – The Coward

The coward is an unfortunate beast. They may not be doing it intentionally, but that doesn’t really make it any less annoying when they girlishly squeal and back away from the ticket booth.

The coward just isn’t built for travel any more dangerous than a guided trolley tour or a presentation given in an air conditioned auditorium. Put them out in the real world and it’s all just too scary for them. The streets are too dirty, the carnival rides too poorly maintained, and the food too poorly prepared.

The world is basically one terrifying labyrinth of rusty nails, diseased water, and crumbling buildings. They’re fine travel companions while you’re exploring museums or visiting well run tourist traps, but take them out of their comfort zone and they’re jumping at shadows.

Best to leave them at the hotel if you’re planning to venture off of the beaten track.

Read on to uncover five more terrible travel companions.

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  • this is one reason I preferred and still love travelling solo. I can’t be on the road with these villains of travel haha. 

    • I generally prefer solo or pair travel. Fewer opportunities for conflict IMO

  • I think I have met each of these on the road 😉 

    • I obviously have, haha. Some flashbacks were experienced while writing it 🙁

  • The “Compass” – the person who has no sense of direction (or map) who suggests that you walk for miles in a random direction to find somewhere when really you just end up ambling about a suburb. They also tend to refuse to ask for direction, can’t take clues like a lack of civilisation in the distance, and refuse to listen to you (i.e. reason)

    • Ooh! I like that one. It’s almost like a sub-sect of the Self Proclaimed Expert. Lucky enough not to have travelled with one of these yet.

  • Hahaha.. Great post, Chris! The cheapskate is by far the worse for me. I can’t stand a penny pincher on vacation. #1 sucks too. Lol

    • It is probably my #1 pet peeve to travel with, but the c**ts are the worst I’ve had the displeasure of encountering on the road.

  • Can’t think of a snazzy name to describe her but I once travelled with someone who said “Anything’s fine” to everything. Where do you want to eat? “Anything’s fine”. Which hostel? “Anything’s fine”. There was one night when she was “too tired” to join us for dinner. She asked us to pack something and as usual, added “Anything’s fine”. When we came back with whatever it was we got (I don’t remember what), she shrieked, “What’s this??” First and last time I travelled with her.

    • Argh! The passive aggressive martyr! I legitimately mean it when I say ‘anything is fine’, but I can see how it would get annoying – especially when they kick up a stink after you do exactly as they asked. So rude!

  • Brilliant  post… 

    • Ah yeah, a creature of habit is a dangerous beast indeed. How did I forget that? I’m a little guilty of slipping into comfortable habits too.

      Glad you enjoyed the read. I was pretty sure others would find familiar characters there. I think you’re right about some people just not being built for it. I dated girls who thought they were but five years on they’re settled down and I’m still at it. Winning.

  • How about ‘the coke head’? The bring far too much trouble and sketchiness to the table. Although maybe you shouldn’t hang out with them at home OR traveling due to this. 

  • I have a little bit of the tyrant in me, but I try to keep it under control!

    • I seem to habitually date girls who rock a wee bit of the tyrant. I guess I’m just a guy who likes being given some direction, haha

  • Truly awesome post!!

    • CWBush

      Truly belated thanks, mate!

  • I would like to submit the “It’s not as good as…” category. Either with you, or someone you meet. They’ll ask you what you saw, or they’ll be experiencing it with you, and somehow, whatever it is that you are enjoying isn’t quite as good as one they already saw somewhere else. Be it a temple, a waterfall or a mountain.. there will have been a better temple, waterfall or mountain somewhere else. And that’s where the c*nts should have stayed.

    • Ah yes, the ceaseless comparisons can certainly get a bit frustrating. I’ve been guilty of this one myself. It’s half boasting about my worldly ways, and part just innocently making comparisons haha

      • I second the arrogant travel expert. Complete with a backpack that should have been washed years ago, but no…it adds ‘character.’ They compare everything, since they have been everywhere. Havent you seen the flags sowed on their backpacks yet? Sit a while, they have a story for each one, whether you want to hear it or not.
        Anyways, just had to comment because this was one brilliant post Chris. I’m not even British, so I don’t toss ‘brilliant’ lightly.

        • CWBush

          Oh man, don’t even get me started on the people who insist on defining “backpacker” by a certain check-list and frown on those who travel in any other way.

          “You stayed in a private room? Oh, I guess you’re not a real backpacker”.

          Vomit.

          Thanks for the comment and kind words!

  • Bec

    Hilarious – you have absolutely nailed it! I’ve had the inimitable joy of encountering a few number 1s, number 9s and even some number 8s! If I’m guilty of anything, it’s what Anis mentioned – though when I say ‘I don’t mind’, mooost of the time I mean it, ha! Great post, you never cease to entertain! It’s obvious you’ve drawn on real experience so I sincerely hope these Disney villians didn’t spoil your travels!

    • I’m praying my five week tour of the US involves as few of them as possible, haha

  • This post is wonderful. And I’m ashamed to say that there are a fair few C U Next Tuesdays originating from my home country (the UK) and acting like twats all around Europe. Now I was going to side with The Cheapskate, until I read that she tried EVERYONE ELSE’S dishes yet expected to pay just for her own?!? Fine if she only ate the chicken, but nuh-uh if she’s eating other people’s stuff, too. Seriously.

    The Patriot pisses me off, too. I was in Busan at the weekend and one guy was complaining about Korea not celebrating July 4th as Independence Day. I had to explain to him that countries don’t celebrate each other’s independence days as that’s, well, weird, and he just couldn’t get it. AGH.

    • Ugh! That’s the worst! The number of Americans who asked if we celebrate Thanksgiving and/or Independence Day in Australia just baffles me. That said, I would *love* if there was an Australian equivalent to Thanksgiving. There’s a serious lack of holidays in the back end of the year.

  • Marion

    The split personality? I once travelled with a girl who was completely gung-ho until one day in the middle of our 5-day trek on Abel Tasman. She decided that, even though the other 4 people in our group wanted to stick around for a late breakfast to avoid waiting for 2 hours at the tidal flat crossing, she’d head off on her own. We met her at the tidal flats with 15 minutes to spare…she’d been there for an hour and a half. Her angry march put a lot of ice into our relationship and we split up very soon after. I’m sure that my lackadaisical planning on the hike wasn’t appreciated, but when your travel style doesn’t match your travel buddy’s it makes for some serious clashes. 

    • Ha! What a weird character. I have travelled with one or two of those myself. They certainly do know how to spoil a good time.

  • carlos poco

    i think the cheapskate was right tho. if she ordered the cheapest dish thats probably because of financial difficulties, she may have struggled to afford the trip so wanted to keep expenses as low as possible on the journey. just because you offer your dish for someone to try it doesn’t mean you can turn around and say “now you owe me for the meal!”.. we have a guy in our group of friends who has less cash and we aren’t dickheads to him about it. 

    • All it would have taken is an ‘I really can’t afford this meal, guys’ or any indication whatsoever that she was struggling and it would have been freely offered.
      As it was, she bought a small fortune worth of jewellery and tea before we flew out the following day.

  • Well Said! Couldn’t agree with you more! 

  • haha this is right on!  i shared a taxi once to go out one night with some people from my hostel in bolivia – once we got all the way across town to our destination, they decided they wanted to go somewhere else instead…and started refusing to pay the taxi driver for the trip we’d just taken.  i couldn’t believe it was even an issue – he wasn’t ripping us off, and the bill was like $4.  it was so embarrassing, and i ended up paying for the whole thing in the end!

    • That’s so annoying! I hate that kind of behavior. I inevitably end up paying in those situations too, haha.

  • Pemma Ellis

    The adoptee. Someone who ‘takes’ you to ‘their’ city or country. Condescending, arrogant and pathetic person. Made my whole holiday hell. The said person also falls into the Self Taught ‘Expert’ except they loath anyone with a guidebook.

    • Ah yes, I know quite a few of them. They’re generally the ones who the ‘real world’ has chewed up and spit out, so they’ve adopted another country and culture in place of their own. Worked with one in Korea and have met a handful already here in China.

  • Couldnt agree with you more. I’m a solo traveller through and through although travelling with a girlfriend [only] has its perks too 🙂

  • Great article. I’ve have met all of the people you describe so perfectly. But truth be told, we’ve all been those characters ourselves at one point or another. As long if it’s not consistently it’s ok in my opinion. Although it’s hard to turn of the man-whore in myself 🙂

    • CWBush

      Ha! I imagine the man whore part goes hand in hand with the “Around the World in 80 Girls” side of things.

      I’ve definitely been more than one of the above before. Never the man whore though, sadly 🙁

  • Glamourous Traveller

    Wonderful post! I have to include the one’s Ive bumped into (thank god never travelled with). I guess you can call them the ‘One-up travellers’ the one’s who try to keep one-upping you at everything. Me: Oh, it was a lot of fun trying out the flying fox in Laos. Them: Yeah, but this is nothing like the time I tied myself by the ankle strapped myself to a tree and bungee jumped in New Zealand! Me: Omg, this is some weird thing we’re eating tonight. Them: Meh, this tastes just like chicken, it’s nothing like the time I went into the wilderness of Canada, hunted down a moose with my bare hands and ate the meat raw!

    • CWBush

      Ha! That’s a good one!

      I don’t think I’ve come across one in my travels (thankfully), but a person who constantly feels the need to one up your experiences definitely sounds like a drag.

  • traveljerzgirl

    I’m currently with #1 on my trip.

    • CWBush

      Oh no! Do you need me to take them out for you? >_>

  • I’d add the “Passive Aggressive Nitpicker.” On one unnamed trip with an unnamed person, I was enlisted as translator/tour guide because of my previously living in the place we visited. Every time I’d mentioned a place to eat and rave about how good it was, I’d get rejected. After getting fed up and just leading our group to a place, I’d hear comments about how it just didn’t fit the bill in more ways than one. I loved reading your list though. Really good stuff. Sharing.

    • CWBush

      Yuck!

      Definitely sounds like a worthy addition to the Hall of Shame.

  • hahaha….oh my this is so true! And I lost 2 “friendships” because I decided it was a good idea to travel with them! I didn’t choose to travel with her, but recently on my Vietnam trip I had to share with a 73 year old woman, so I’d have to add “the Granny” to this list!
    I quickly learnt the value of single supplement!

    • CWBush

      I can’t say I’ve ever traveled with somebody in their twilight years. That must have been quite the experience! Were there any perks to her advanced years? Or was it all “slow down” and “In my day”?

      I’ve not lost any friendships over bad travel experiences, but I’ve definitely had some that were severely dampened by the clashes.

  • nicole

    I had Spain ruined for me when I stayed with a girl I had pretty much just met sf her family. The whole thing was planned to a T. Yes, plans have their time and place, but for no reason, I don’t believe in them. Is it really necessary to put a timeframe on everything? And if were five minutes off is it mandatory to stress out the whole situation? Lunch at 12pm, finish at 12:15, drive home at 12:20. For what?
    So ya I need to redo Spain.

    • CWBush

      Oh no! That does *not* sound good! I’ve traveled with the Tyrant before, but thankfully I’m pretty chill and my desire to not have to do any planning outweighed my desire to do whatever I wanted, haha.

      That said, your example sounds extreme! Condolences 🙁

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