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Picking The Perfect Travel Partner

Some travelers never leave home without their adventure buddy!

Everyone has something they’d never want to leave home without. Yousry Benayoun, a widely traveled teacher, musician, and artist, is sure to bring his notebook for sketching and writing, and if he can’t pack a stringed instrument, at least his harmonica.

But most importantly, he tries to bring his tried and true travel partner, his sister Deanna. Yousry and his sister have trekked across four continents together, traveling to Namibia and South Africa, Greece, Spain, Peru, and visiting each other on their respective east and west coasts of the United States. 

Throughout these trips, the siblings have learned why they’re great travel partners. And Yousry has shared what to look for in a travel buddy that can elevate your adventures!

“When either of us orders something, it’s considered fair game.” Yousry explains.

Enjoying the same activities

It may seem obvious, but one reason Yousry and his sister are great travel companions is that they enjoy the same stuff. “We’re both passionate about music, food, and staying active,” he says. 

In Greece, on the island of Crete, Yousry brought his mandolin but wasn’t certain how much their travel group wanted to hear. But Deanna often encouraged him to play and it made both of their trips better having a soundtrack. 

And then there’s food. Though Yousry is a pescatarian, he was happy to buy exotic jerky in Namibia for his sister—wildebeest anyone?—because he shares her love of trying new foods. They also hopped street carts in Lima, sampling Peruvian breakfast sandwiches. And later, while hiking in Peru, both passed on the option of riding donkeys up the last steep mile of a  mountain, “hoofing it” instead because both of them appreciated the challenge!

Pick a travel partner that: enjoys doing similar things so you can seek them out together.   

There has been terraced agriculture in Colca Canyon for hundreds of years, even before the Incas.

Deciding on destinations

Another reason they’re so travel-compatible is their exploratory travel styles line up to a T; both stay open minded and go with the flow. “A lot of the travel decisions we make come from chatting with locals,” Yousry explains. “So we’re often planning adventures just days before.” In Peru for example, they were sitting in a hostel in Lima (playing guitar) and deciding where to next—some promising Chilean towns? Up north towards Ecuador? 

The Andean condor has the largest wingspan of any bird in the Americas–10.5 feet!

But word around town was that Colca Canyon was incredible, so they booked a flight south. Days later they were hiking and camping along the breathtaking stepped terraces in one of the deepest canyons in the world, packed with alpaca and the enormous Andean condors that call it home. 

Pick a travel partner that: matches your travel style, whether spontaneous or meticulously planned. 

The “Big Daddy” dune in Namibia is one of the largest in the world.

An appetite for adventure

Some people like to push themselves a little further outside their comfort zones than others when traveling, so it’s good for adrenaline junkies to stick together! In Namibia, Yousry and Deanna wanted to see the famous sand dunes in the desert along the coast. But these remote wonders were a five-hour drive away, only reachable with certain vehicles and traveling partly paved roads into a desolate desert. “There were a few little things to worry about,” he said. 

So what did they do? Rented the last SUV available, blasted tunes, and tore down the highway! They barely made it to their camp before nightfall, but when they were running and jumping down the world’s largest sand dune the next morning, they agreed it was worth it. They later drove hours to a nature preserve and saw giraffes, zebras, impalas, and even a lion; both big time commitments that paid off.

Pick a travel partner that: is down to invest time and effort into adventure as much as you are!