The Art of Travel: Choosing Your Travel Companions

By Melanie Nayer

Choosing Your Travel CompanionsTravel can be tricky, especially the planning part. Airline tickets, hotels, tours, car rentals – there’s a lot to do before you leave, but once you get there, the experience of a new place makes all the planning worthwhile.

I’ve been traveling since I was a young girl. My love of travel stems from my Mom, who put me on a plane when I was in diapers and trained me to travel. As I grew older, I grew more fascinated with flight and I eagerly awaited each next trip. It’s no wonder I became a travel writer.

I plan my trips very carefully, with precision on just about every step.

  • Do we have at least 90 minutes in between flights in case of a delayed plane, or a connecting gate at the other end of the airport?
  • Do all the required travel documents have my name spelled correctly?
  • Is my carry-on luggage under 50 pounds so I don’t get charged extra by the airlines?
  • Are all my tours booked in advance and do I have the confirmation codes for everything?
  • Does the hotel I’m staying at have WiFi access and is there a bar in the lobby? (Some things are obviously more important than others, but you get the point.)

There are specific things to keep in mind when planning travel:

  • How much do you want to spend?
  • How long do you want to stay?
  • What do you want to do?
  • Who are you traveling with?

It’s the latter that makes travel the most interesting…

Now in my mid-30s, traveling is a way of life. I spent a remarkable week in Rome with one of my best girlfriends and in the end, learned more about myself than I did my friend. I recently returned from a three-city tour of Europe — I payed my respects to Anne Frank in Amsterdam, climbed one of the oldest and tallest towers in Bruges and embraced my inner-Carrie Bradshaw in Paris. I’m about to embark on a long weekend in Ireland, where the majority of my time will be spent in Irish pubs with a camera in one hand and a Guinness in the other (shameless plug: all of these adventures can be found in the Escapes section – stay tuned). I realize that each individual has their own wants and needs, and I’m sympathetic to that when planning trips with other people.

IsraelFor almost a decade I’ve been trying to plan a trip to Israel. Each time something gets in my way — sometimes it’s personal, sometimes it’s world events. But I haven’t given up hope – I will make it to the Holy Land and I’m certain it will be a trip I’ll never forget. This particular trip, however, is one that I’ve wanted to take with Mom. There’s something powerful about bonding with your Mom at a temple in Jerusalem. There’s something magical about reaching the top of Masada with Mom by your side. There’s an unspoken bond between mother and daughter in Israel, which I can only imagine makes the bond between mother and daughter tighter.

But let’s be real: mother and daughter relationships are just not that easy.

I’m sure I’ll get to Israel eventually and it will likely be with my Mom. It’s a personal adventure I’m committed to taking. In the meantime, me and Mom have a few things to work out:

(the following conversation took place at Thursday, June 18, 1pm EST)

Me: I’m looking at flights and hotels to Israel – would you like to come with?
Mom: Absolutely. When do we leave?
Me: End of January for 10 days. I found flights for $1100, total trip about $3,000, per person.
Mom: Ok you should look at other groups, too. How about like bla, bla, bla and bla, bla bla. (Names of other groups left out because I’m not going to travel with them, but I don’t want to dissuade others from these options).
Me: No, I just told you what the airfare and hotel was for the trip I priced out, which includes tours.
Mom: Yes, but other groups might have something with other people.
Me: I don’t want to travel with 20-year-olds or senior citizens. I’ll meet up with people once I’m there.
Mom: But then you miss out on the entire bonding experience.
Me: I’ll bond plenty with people in Israel. I don’t need a tour to force me into playing nice with others.
Mom: Ok, but this group has a tour for $3,800 – that’s a good deal.
Me: How is it a good deal when I just told you about one for $3,000?
Mom: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Me: We can’t travel together. Ever.

Moral of the story: It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, choose your travel companion wisely. Despite the fact that I travel for a living, the Israel trip is still not booked. Stay tuned…