Whether you’re headed off to scope out some of the world’s most colorful places, take an Instagram-inspired outdoor adventure, or finally cash in on the unbelievable flight deal you found earlier this year, traveling with some of your BFFs is a surefire way to make memories you’ll love forever. For the best group trip ever, invite true friends who will each bring something unique to the group and help create an inspiring dynamic. Scroll on for 12 personality types that can work especially well, as shared by seasoned travelers.
1. The Independent: “Now that I’m in my 30s, I really appreciate independent traveling companions; that is, one that I don’t feel the need to constantly entertain and who is happy to spend a few hours apart every once in awhile,” Kelly Soderland from Hipmunk tells us. “People have different interests and activity levels, and the last thing I ever want to feel guilty about while traveling is doing something that I want to do — or feel afraid that I might be hurting someone’s feelings by not including them.”
2. The Free Spirit: Whether it’s trying out new foods, strolling through unfamiliar areas, or taking part in a cultural tradition, traveling with someone who’s happy to go with the flow can seriously add to a free-spirited vibe on your trip. “Some of my best days traveling have been unplanned and seeing where the day takes me; having an equally open-minded sidekick makes it all the better,” Meg from Makers Travelers says.
3. The Bilingual Friend: Even though smartphones have made it substantially easier to communicate in a foreign country, having a friend that speaks the language is like being in the FastPass line at Disneyland — it’s just more efficient. “You’ll be able to get insider tips from the locals and have the ability to know exactly what you’re ordering on the menu,” Meg promises.
4. The Insta-Traveler: “Though this friend believes that failing to post pics to social media makes it seem like the trip never happened and will spend hours trying to score the money shot (and then some more hours finding the right filter), you’re glad to have traveled with them because you’ll have a killer album to capture all the memories,” Monika from mymonpie admits.
5. The Culture Buff: Ever travel with someone who loved galleries, museums, monuments, and guided tours? The culture buff makes each trip a little bit more educational, helping you learn about the culture and history of your destination. “Traveling with a culture buff friend is a great choice when it comes to cities with rich history,” Monica says.
6. The Social Butterfly: “The Social Butterfly attracts new friends like moths to a flame,” Lia from Practical Wanderlust explains. “She’ll round up a group of fellow travelers to go out on the town with for the kind of crazy fun night you can only have while traveling. She’ll strike up a conversation with a local and get a restaurant recommendation that you never would have found on your own. Don’t be surprised if her friendly charm lands you both freebies and extra-special treatment!”
7. The Navigator: Having a friend who makes it easy to hop around while traveling is always a super solid add to the group. “There are, and were, plenty of times when we got lost and needed to figure out how to get back to our hostel or hotel,” Paula from Curly Hair Adventures notes. “With limited WiFi and low cell phone battery, this friend is *really* important because they can usually memorize landmarks, subway maps, etc. to help find the best ways around throughout the entire trip.”
8. The Time Manager: Planning and showing up on time are two totally different travel skills, and the latter is ultra-important in making sure everything goes off without a hitch. “This amazing friend will make sure that everyone wakes up in time to get to the walking tour, or arrives to the airport in time for a flight,” Paula tells us. Amen.
9. The Problem Solver: “While the time manager will make sure everything goes as close to planned as possible, the problem solver is the one who’s quick on their toes and figures out how to get from point A to Z,” Paula says. “Flights delayed or cancelled? This friend will figure out how to get a new flight booked without having to spend a fortune. Running late for a tour? This friend will try to find a quicker route so the tour everyone’s been waiting for doesn’t get missed.”
10. The Calmer: Explained to us as the “yin to the planner’s yang,” the calmer is your friend who takes the reins when something doesn’t go as planned. “She’s the one who hands you a glass of wine when you’re stressed, takes charge of directions when you’re lost, and talks you off the ledge when you’ve lost your train tickets,” Alicia from NYC in a Day says.
11. The Foodie: Let’s face it: Everyone would be drinking Starbucks and snacking on plane pretzels if it weren’t for this magical friend. “She’s the one who knows where to find the best street food in Thailand, the trendiest food craze in NYC, and that secret supper club in London that you heard about on the Food Network,” Alicia swears.
12. The Realist: “This friend reminds everyone when it’s time to go back home,” Alicia shares. “She’ll gently keep everyone grounded when they’re ready to call their bosses and throw away their nine-to-five lifestyle for just one more week in Paris.” Always appreciated in the moment? No. Seriously needed? Yes.
(Photos via Getty)