#5 – The Princess
Nothing is good enough for the princess (or prince). That almost invisible patch of mold in the shower at your hotel is an assault on their delicate senses and the leather faced beggar in the street may as well be Charles Manson. Simply put: the real world is a dirty, dirty place and the prince (or princess) wants no part of it.
Much like the coward, the princess is not really prepared for the world as it exists outside of glossy National Geographic pictures or Discovery Channel documentaries. The first whiff of an uncovered South Korean sewer line or their first sight of a pretty Chinese girl hawking a big wad of spit into the street and their stomach is fit to heave up the last day’s worth of food.
The princess is a tolerable companion if you’re staying in five-star resorts and soaking in the luxury of it all, but heaven forbid you try to get them into a hostel or a public bus. You’ll have more luck getting an entire country clean enough for her high standards than you will convincing her to lower them.
Give the poor lad a powder, leave them in the hotel, and make sure you have a chemical shower before you return from the big, bad world.
#4 – The Drama Queen
“This is the worst day of my life!”
she’ll announce as she slumps down onto the deck chair melodramatically,
“Just kill me now”.
The drama queen (or king) brings every last bit of baggage they have along for the trip. When I was being this particular bastard, it was a South African girl by the name of Ivana. I’d linger around my mobile phone waiting for texts that never came and ran up a massive 500RMB ($85) phone bill over two days of late night calls.
I’d moan to my friends about how she was breaking my heart and on more than one occasion I left the beautiful beaches of Hainan to rush up to our hotel and log in to Facebook to see if she’d replied to my message.
The drama queen (or king) isn’t really on holiday with you. Oh, they’re physically present, but their minds are a thousand miles away dwelling on some perceived slight or invented crisis. This trip isn’t about a fascinating culture or a beautiful location to them – it’s just a change of set in the ongoing soap opera that is their life.
Do yourself a favour. Accidentally drop their phone off of the side of the boat. They’ll thank you for it once they’ve failed at duck-diving the twenty metres needed to retrieve it.
#3 – The Tyrant
Woe betide those who have the misfortune of falling under the spell of a tyrant. They seem so lovely when you first start chatting about your trip. Their sheer level of organisation and enthusiasm is magnificent. Under their watch, you’re going to have the greatest trip ever. They’ve found the cheap flights, booked the cheapest rental cars, and found the cutest boutique B&Bs for you to stay in. Nothing can go wrong!
And then you express an opinion that doesn’t fall into line with their carefully laid plans.
“The budget is already set,” they’ll say with a condescending smile, “You should have told me earlier”.
“I did,” you may reply.
“Did you submit the trip change request form in triplicate?”
And that smile? It’s your last warning. Just nod and go along with it.
If you’re an easy-going guy like me, you can probably handle a tyrannical travel companion for a certain period of time. After all, who enjoys the humdrum of budgeting out your meal plans or deciding which form of transportation is the most time efficient?
The tyrant can be a fantastic travel companion if you’re happy to simply tag along for the ride. But if you have a place along the way that you’d really like to visit, you’re pretty much fucked. You’ve been warned.
#2 – The Cheapskate
I still have nightmares about my first encounter with the cheap-skate. My friends and I are settling in for a meal on a floating restaurant in Hainan, China. There are four of us and we eagerly pick out items from the menu: lobster, crab, shrimp, and… chicken. That last one came from our notoriously cheap friend, but we figured it was her choice and it wouldn’t impact on us.
But as the dishes are wheeled out we all vote to share our meals and soon we’re eagerly picking over delicious crab and juicy shrimp while throwing back a few ice cold beers. We’re all in high spirits and reach for our wallets as the bill is brought out. Three of us eagerly place a quarter of the total on the table, but our last companion looks at us in confusion.
“I only ordered the chicken,” she says with a perfectly straight face.
“But you ate everything…” one of us ventures rationally. Our friend enters full on conniption fit mode and, to this day, still feels that she was in the right.
And, to this day, I refuse to split a bill with her.
Don’t get the cheapskate confused with the budget conscious traveller. We all need somebody who is willing to scour sites for discounts and deals for flights and hotels, after all.
We’ve all met (and potentially even been) the cheapskate at some point in our lives. But when you’re enjoying a trip together and you’re haggling over every single expense right down to the last RMB, you’re just being a jerk. Give yourself an uppercut.
#1 – The C*nt
I’m sorry to use such a colourful word on a public forum, but there really is no better word to sum up these loathsome creatures. These loud-mouthed, ignorant, usually racist, and just downright disgusting human beings are out there right now giving your country (and skin colour) a bad name.
Whether it’s too drunk Aussie bogans in Bali, obnoxious American teens in Mexico, or drug-addled Brits in Ibiza – the c*nt is the worst of the worst. A completely self involved and ignorant black hole hell bent on consuming all nearby happiness.
They’re usually drunk (or drugged) beyond mortal comprehension and travel in clusters. They’ll be the ones loudly singing on your bus or laughing at the one legged beggar in the street. They’ll be shouting obscenities at the top of their lungs and playing the ‘Fuck them, I’m from ….’ card when asked to be more respectful of locals.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably smart enough not to intentionally travel with these people – but you’ve probably met more than you care to count. They come from all countries and walks of life, and it’s all you can do to grit your teeth and think happy thoughts until they stagger out of your life.
Insert Cliche Here
I’ve given you my ten people you should never travel with. Tell me yours!
So, what are your travel companion horror stories? Don’t lie and pretend you don’t already have a thousand. I want to hear them!
Have you met any of the above monsters? Are there other vile creatures out there that I’ve yet to meet? Enlighten me!