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Many people overlook the actual travelling part of their vacations and the company one keeps on the road. There are so many moments that you can share on a long drive, cooped up together in a small space, that to ignore them is to do a disservice to the enjoyment of your holiday. For me the best thing about travelling is the very act of getting to your destination and what makes these trips memorable are the people you share them with. The following is a sort of highlights package of travelling companions that can be found around the globe. Which one are you?

The sleeping beauty

This is a no-brainer. They are the most easy-going companions to have on a long trip. They don’t mind if you miss a turn or two and will never interrupt your thoughts as you go through the towns. There is nothing quite as serene as rambling through the Karoo, contemplating all of the beauty before you, backed by the snoring of your best mate. There is also nothing more fun than stopping on the side of the road and waking them in a panic telling them how the car has stopped working and you have no idea where we are.

The compulsive gamer

This guy is either the legend of the car trip or he effectively ousts himself from the group for the rest of the vacation. It wholly depends on the game he invents or suggests. Nothing makes a long journey fly by than a competitive game of “Zitch-dog”, especially if the car is full of willing participants. On the other hand, nothing extends a journey more than another round of “I Spy…”. I know, let’s play a new game! You get in the trunk of the car and we try to guess what you are saying? On a more cautionary note and as a general rule, the driver is exempt from playing most physical games – like lifting you feet when going over railways or closing your eyes through tunnels.

The inquisitive sidekick

If you are prone to falling asleep at the wheel it is definitely advisable that you travel with this chum. There will always be something on the side of the road that will need to be clarified for this person. Of course it gets a little confusing if your compatriot asks if the sheep next to the road are bears. It does however make the next trip more interesting when this same companion points out elephants and you have no idea what to expect. In my case I should have expected elephants.

The mouse bladder

If you really do like the journey part of your vacations you should look no further than this companion. Nothing quite extends your trip more than having to stop every half hour. You would think that banning any liquid consumption would help. Not with this one. They ingest the water vapour from the air-conditioning or so it seems. It is not all bad though, at least you will never run out of fuel.

The nervous Nelly

Don’t even get me started on this com padre! He is often there, usually in the back seat, and always the most vocal. He will often ask the most mundane questions, usually in a shrill voice, “Do you have to drive so fast?”, “I’m pretty sure we had to turn back there?”, “Please slow down?” and my favourite, “Are you  sure we should be giving him a lift?”. There are some positives to having this buddy around though, like not dying in a high-speed car accident or being hijacked by the last hitchhiker you picked up. So keep him around even if it does take you the length of your vacation just to get to there.

The clueless navigator

Probably the reason I love the journey part of my trips so much is because I have had regular contact with this cohort. Either that or I am the clueless one – but whose counting anyways? Nothing quite brings the sense of home to your new vacation spot than knowing where all the surrounding roads lead. Nothing can bring as much excitement to a trip as running low on fuel and being so far off the beaten track that you start planning how to survive for the next couple weeks. Unless of course you just resign to your fate and crack open a bottle of Jack to accept the impending death sentence.

In the end though a great trip isn’t just about the journey as at some point you will arrive at your destination. Your sleeping beauty will have no idea how they arrived there and the mouse bladder will already be out the vehicle hopping from foot to foot. Your nervous Nelly will have scared himself into a stupor and passed out with the compulsive gamer having made a new game involving this. The inquisitive sidekick will be asking where your clueless navigator is and he’ll be right where you left him – at the last petrol station still asking for directions.


Can you think of any other quirky travel types? Tell us in the comment box below.



Image courtesy of Bob Gaffney on Flickr