When I was a younger man, I loved travelling on the cheap. I loved dumpster diving and couchsurfing and hitchhiking and hostels – in fact, I once lived in a hostel in Osaka for eight months. But now, as an old man (read: someone over 25), things are different. I’ve done my time. Give me a stay at a fancy hotel over a shared bunk with a snoring British backpacker any day of the week.
But whether you’re roughing it, or living your dream travel experience, some things never change. Gather round young ones, let me impart my wisdom, let me tell you about every single person you’ll ever travel with (and whether you should leave them at home or bring ‘em along for the ride).
The constant pooper
“One sec just gotta do a quick poo!”
It’s never quick.
Verdict: Ditch ‘em, you don’t need to deal with that crap.
The amazing race
You know the type — everything is a competition. Hurry up, wake up, it’s 4am, but you gotta GO. You gotta beat the crowds.
Verdict: Ditch them. Too stressful. This is a holiday, not a boot camp!!
Where would we be without the group mum? The group mum is not a gendered term. The group mum could be a huge tattooed bikie named Bruce, but if he has the essence of the group mum, then he’s the group mum. It’s a state of mind.
Thank you to all group mums worldwide who take care of all the logistics and bookings and tickets — without you, we’d all be lost little sheep.
Verdict: ‘Tis a fool who leaves the group mum at home.
The one who’s seen too much
Quickly identified by their easily startled and shaky demeanour and thousand-yard stare at breakfast. Where did they go last night? Who knows. What did they see? Best not to ask.
Verdict: Bring them. Support the troops.
Please. Please tell me you got travel insurance.
Verdict: Tough call. Could go either way. If you bring them, please get travel insurance.
The lone wolf
You wake up in the morning, first of your group — or so you think. As you pour your bowl of Coco Pops, the lone wolf walks in. They’ll say something like “Did you know The Louvre opens at 6am?” or “Oh the surf is just wild today” or “I met this nice couple down at those lovely morning markets across town, just popping in to grab my stuff, gonna head to their cabin in Bucharest for a few days!”
Verdict: Bring them, you’ll never get sick of them cos you’ll never see them.
Group mum: Everyone ready to go?
The sloth: Yep, one sec!
French SpongeBob narrator:
Verdict: Lol, no way.
The wild one
“OMG guys let’s go skydiving.”
The ángel de la muerte
“OMG guys let’s go skydiving using this coupon I found in the toilets in that weird club last night. It’s only $15! I can’t find them on Google but they let you bring your own parachute — how cool!”
Verdict: Screw it, hell yes.
Where did they go?
“Guys, shut up, I’m trying to sleep!”
Verdict: Send them a postcard, but for the love of god and all things fun, don’t bring them.
Lil miss sunshine
The type to say: “Hey, the main thing is we’re together, and at least we’ll have a fun story!” — After you missed the last bus out and you’re all stranded in a cold remote town with no place to stay, and no hope in sight, in this life or the next. Also, you just lost your wallet and passport and you only just got reception a minute ago and now it’s dropped out again but that sweet minute-long window of cellular connection allowed a text from your partner back home to come through informing you that they don’t feel like it’s working between the two of you. Also you have a painful hangnail that’s been annoying you for days and it’s probably infected.
And oh my word is that rain??? You don’t have an umbrella. Lil miss sunshine just smiles to the sky. “The farmers will love this.”
Verdict: Bring them. They’re a nice counterbalance to the dark soulless void where your heart used to beat.
There you have it folks, now scuttle off into the sunset. And don’t stress too much! Yes, deciding who to travel with is hard, but thankfully, actually booking your dream trip is a piece of chocolate lava cake thanks to Marriott Bonvoy’s gorgeous app. Go on, treat yourself.