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What makes a good holiday companion?

Thursday 2 August 2012  
Pam, Sam and Moonface from the Enchanted Wood

Over the years, I’ve developed a pretty fail safe system for choosing holiday buddies. I have three or four friends who I know I'll just have a great time with.
Every year since I was 18, give or take, I’ve gone away with my friend Sam, and often Pam too. Our first trip together was an epic cross country holiday in America, the summer after we finished school. We’d never been away together before, but everything just clicked. Since then, we’ve been to Italy, Spain, France, Sardinia, Cyprus and back to America again.

It’s a tricky little thing, going on holiday with someone. It’s like living with someone. You can get on fabulously day to day, but as soon as you’re in close quarters, everything can fall apart. What’s more difficult is that you often can’t tell before you go away how you’ll get on with someone.

So before you book those flights, think about the following factors…

Do you both eat, and enjoy eating? Or do you get by on one meal a day, and wish it was less? I’m a big foodie, so going away with someone who doesn’t seem to want to eat, ever, makes for a pretty miserable experience.
Banana split in Marrakech
Do you prefer to get up early, or sleep on? Are holidays all about staying up all night, or do you prefer to do stuff during the day?
On the floor of Buxted Park Hotel
When you go away, is your main objective seeing as much as you can in a place, or do you want to flop by the pool?
Ben Youssef in Marrakech
Do you have a list of things you want to see and do, or are you happy to just take each day as it comes?
Nuz consults the guidebooks in Marrakech

You can’t rely on just knowing that you get on great. You can have a brilliant night with someone at home, but when that night happens solidly, every single day for a week, can you hack it? And not in an “Oh God, it’s so amazing I can’t STAND it” way. I mean this in a sense of “Shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP.”

Going away with a boyfriend can be tricky too. It often pops up in summer magazine articles, how going away with a partner is more stressful than being eaten by a shark.

The first trip I took with a boyfriend was to Paris, when he surprised me for my 18th birthday. That makes me sound hideously glamorous, I know. But it didn’t turn out to be the lover’s paradise that I think he’d planned. We went in August, during one of the worst heat waves the city had ever seen. It was something like 45 degrees. Elderly people were dying in the streets, and I was praying that I would join them.

We strolled the city like two pallid, sweaty, melting ice creams. I couldn’t even bear to hold his hand. The extra heat would have finished me off. Each time he reached out to me, I snatched my hand back, and asked if we could just lay in the shade somewhere. Each evening when we came in, I ran us a cold bath, and it was the only time I could bear human contact.

What a wagon I must have been. You take a girl to FREAKING PARIS for her 18th birthday, and she will only touch you when she’s surrounded by freezing cold water. Score.

Some people, of course, choose to holiday all alone. I’m all for solo travel. I think everyone should try it at least once. Sure, it can be lonely sometimes… but it forces you to get out there and meet new people, something you wouldn’t necessarily do when you’re on holiday with someone.

Who do you go on holiday with? Do you have a fail safe partner in crime, or do you prefer to go it alone?

1 comment

  1. Do you know what makes a good holiday companion? Me. Straight up. Every time.


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