While my self-assigned Jetsetter title hasn’t been mine for very long, I’ve traveled with enough people to know that there are more than a few different kinds of travelers. Since most people don’t start out friendships or relationships in middle and high school knowing to ask what kind of traveler they are–or that this could be a very important bit of knowledge later in life–it was a lucky coincidence that the hubs, the wino, and I fit squarely in the same type. But we, along with everyone else, definitely fall into one of ten distinct travel types.
1. The “I don’t care” traveler — and they really don’t
These are the people that will happily, if not blindly, follow you wherever you want to go. My sister is 150% one of these people. Literally, everything and anything you suggest sounds great to her and she’s not even just saying that. I’ve successfully entered her into a hula hoop contest with a bunch of drunk accountants and, when we were younger, it was no coincidence that I always got the top bunk or the bigger room when on vacation with our family. To say they’re pretty laid back is an understatement.
2. The “I don’t care” traveler — but they totally do
These travelers are the complete opposite of the genuine “I don’t care” travelers. When you ask them what they want to do, they casually reply “oooh, I don’t care! It’s up to you!” But then the second you tell them you found the perfect cafe or have been dying to go to a specific museum, they come back with “oh, I actually would rather go antiquing/stay in/not do whatever it is you just said you want to do.” And that is how they trap you.
3. The “let me just finish this page” traveler
These people packed 3 books, 2 magazines, and 7 guidebooks before you left and they somehow managed to get sucked into all of them on the first day. They don’t want to chat on the plane or the train, and when you’re walking through the Louvre, they’re way too sucked into Rick Steves’ explanation of Napoleon’s Apartment to muse over how uncomfortable the chairs look. They’re full of interesting facts and perfect book recommendations, but they’re not the most talkative of traveling companions.
4. The “wake up and go go go” traveler
These are the travelers that want to start their day IMMEDIATELY because it’s going to be SO PACKED WITH FUN! They wake up at 6 am, are ready by 7 am, and are pulling covers off of everyone else and shoving them out the door by 8 am. They are natural morning people and the travelers that get. shit. done. But then, at the end of the day, just as you’re winding down with your glass of wine and propping your feet up, these people are passed out in bed, dreaming about all the excitement the next day is going to bring them.
5. The “LET’S PLAN EVERY SECOND” traveler
These travelers are similar to, but cannot be confused with, the “wake up and go go go” travelers. They may or may not wake up early, but you can bet they will go go go all day, and you can be positive that every millisecond of their day will be planned. They know all the shortcuts and all the best times to see and do everything and nothing can slow them down.
6. The “I got distracted” traveler
These travelers are difficult to spot unless you’re traveling with them in a group. They’re the people that get so lost in what they’re looking at, they actually get lost. You’ll be walking along with a few friends, they’ll stop to pet a dog, and four hours later you’re wondering where your friend went. They always find their way home, only to get lost again. They’re generally enigmas in all aspects of life, but they’re especially impressive when in a foreign place.
7. The “I’m not getting any service. Do you have service right now? I’m going to step outside real quick and see if I can get service” traveler
These are the self-proclaimed “city people” that just cannot relax. They either did grow up in a city, or, more likely, grew up in a suburb, relocated, and are overcompensating for their farm-focused childhood. They’re not the best to travel with to the middle of nowhere, but you can bet that if they do have service and you need directions, can’t figure out where to eat, or really have a burning need to know the answer to some random bit of trivia, they have an app for that.
8. The “I wanna remember this forever” traveler
And they want you to know that they remember it, too. These are the travelers that have a layover in Amsterdam and still manage to come home with wooden clogs. They don’t go to the Eiffel Tower for the view, they go for their very own miniature light-up version. They buy hundres of postcards and never send them out–they post them on their fridge and at work. They have a t-shirt from every state and a badge on their backpack from every country. These people are the future hoarders of our lives.
9. The “oh, I’ll be fine” traveler
These are the travelers that don’t plan anything, they just hope for the best. And, somewhat obnoxiously, the best always works out for them. They’re the people that leaving at 5 pm for their 6:30 pm flight from New York to Australia, make it there as the last passenger is boarding, and still get bumped up to first class. They’re the people that run into a friend of a friend who just happens to be going to the same hotel as them, and wants to share a cab–but not before they stop at this amazing restaurant and pick up the tab. These travelers are the travelers that just always fall into the best possible scenario, but never, ever plan for it.
10. The “details, details” traveler
These people plan all the big things. They know when their flight leaves, they probably know where they’re staying, they know a few good restaurant options, and they know when their return flight lands. The rest: not a big deal. They’re happy to figure it out when they get there and hope for the best. This doesn’t mean every day will go perfectly, but they’re not the best at planning every second and sticking to it, and they’d rather take things in stride. These are also the people that make it places just in time, sometimes miss out on “important” tourist attractions, and don’t really care what they do as long as there’s a food & wine/beer stop somewhere in the middle. These are totally the kind of people that hubs, wino, and myself prefer to travel with.
We’ve traveled with the best and worst of them, and if nothing else, we’ve come away with some pretty hard-to-believe stories thanks to (or in spite of) the people we were with. The most important thing to remember, no matter which traveler type you are and who you’re traveling with: don’t let anyone else ruin your time.