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Top Traits of an Ideal Travel Buddy

  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 22 February 2024
  • Revised 29 February 2024
Top Traits of an Ideal Travel Buddy
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 22 February 2024
  • Revised 29 February 2024
Top Traits of an Ideal Travel Buddy
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 22 February 2024
  • Revised 29 February 2024

Most popular travel green, beige and red flags revealed

Exploring, organisation and punctuality crowned top green flags in a travel buddy

Going on holiday with others can be a true test, for any relationship. Whether it’s a dream trip to Orlando, Florida staying in a villa for a week or two, or a quick weekend break, spending so much time together is sure to reveal some interesting quirks. 

Of course, some habits are endearing or in line with our own values, meaning many consider them ‘green flags’ (a term coined across social media). But some have the potential to make us tick (known as ‘red flags’), and others can be tolerated despite not doing them ourselves (‘beige flags').

To help understand what makes a holiday experience the best it can be, we surveyed 2,000 UK adults to reveal the nation’s top green, beige and red flags when it comes to travelling with others. 


The results are in…organisation, early mornings and exploring are some of the nation’s top green flags when it comes to their travel companions. 

 Top 7 travel GREEN flags: 

  1. Exploring and going on adventures (66%)
  2. Organising all the airport admin (65%)
  3. Arriving at the airport more than 2 hours before your flight (63%) 
  4. Planning an itinerary (53%) 
  5. Getting up early (44%) 
  6. First in the queue to board the plane (42%) 
  7. Taking part in tours and excursions (41%) 

Interestingly, men are more impressed by effective airport etiquette when going on holiday, with 24% more men than women saying that being the first to board a plane is a green flag. Similarly, more men than women find being at the airport more than two hours early appealing in travel companions. 

When it comes to age groups however, millennials (25-34 year old’s) are the least impressed by arriving early and exploring, and are more interested in waking up early to reserve a sunbed (33.2%) and posing for photos and selfies (38%)… a choice that would make Gen Z cringe as they opt for candid photos (42%) any day of the week. 


When it comes to beige flags, not trying local cuisines, complaining about the weather and  a lack of spontaneity while on holiday came out on top. 

 Top 7 travel BEIGE flags: 

  1. Not trying local cuisines (47%)
  2. Complaining about the weather (46%)
  3. Following the itinerary to a tee (46%) 
  4. Not tipping good service (45%) 
  5. Awkward tan lines (44%) 
  6. Exchanging currency while away and not before (43%) 
  7. Getting up late (41%) 

While opting for non-local cuisines was the most popular beige flag, for some it’s an absolute no-go. One in three (31%) Mancunians couldn’t bear the thought, considering it a red flag, along with over 65’s (27%). 

Top tip for guys looking to impress a female partner on their next trip: Be sure to tip for good service.

While men find not tipping a beige flag (49%) more so than women (42%), women have less tolerance for it overall, with one in three (31%) saying it’s a red flag, compared to only one in four (25%) men. 


In true British form, being rude to staff came out as the biggest travel red flag, followed by being drunk for the majority of the trip and listening to music out loud - no one wants to hear your favourite song on repeat while they’re catching some rays.

Tops 7 RED flags:

  1. Being rude to staff (73%) 
  2. Getting drunk for the majority of the trip (57%) 
  3. Listening to music out loud (50%) 
  4. Always being on the phone (49%) 
  5. Getting your bare feet out on a plane (44%) 
  6. Wearing socks with sandals (39%) 
  7. Clapping when the plane lands (36%)

Travellers who have their bare feet out on a plane should avoid doing so around Gen Z (49%) and over 65s (54%) who are the most offended by this choice. Similarly, fans of clapping when the plane lands are likely to be given a red flag by those 55 or over. 

In true anxious millennial fashion, 25-34 year old’s are the least likely to give you a red flag for being rude to staff… because maybe you didn’t mean it like that. However, they’re the age group most likely to allow watching sports or TV during the trip, with only 18% seeing this as a red flag.

Three strikes and you’re out

Regardless of what makes us tick when on holiday with others, it’s clear we’re limited on how many red flags we’ll tolerate before avoiding taking a trip with a specific person again in the future. 

For those who find red flags a dealbreaker, it only takes three for them to write you off as a travel buddy (17%). Millennials have less patience however, with one in four saying they’ll call it quits after only two red flags. Boomers and Gen X are willing to accept more red flags though, allowing up to five before deciding to not travel with someone again.

After experiencing a red or beige flag while on holiday with others, one in five (21%) said it led to a short-term fall out, or made them want to leave the trip early (20%). For one in six (17%), it’s enough to call it quits and never holiday with that person again. 

How to avoid potential red flags ruining your trip

One of the best things about travelling with others is sharing the experience together, and while we all have different quirks and habits that others may not agree with, it’s important to not let it ruin the experience - for either of you! 

We spoke to BACP Registered Counsellor, Georgina Sturmer, who shares her three top tips for not letting red flags get in the way on your next trip: 

1. If you can, try and share how you are feeling
Georgina comments: “It’s worth remembering that the other person may be totally unaware of the impact of their behaviour. If you are going to consider broaching this with them, then use ‘I feel statements’.  This enables us to share how we feel, without it feeling like an accusation or an act of aggression.”

2. Lead by example 
Georgina advises: “If someone else’s behaviour is bugging you, for example if they’re constantly on their phone, then role model the behaviour that you would like to see.  You can also try telling them how much you’re enjoying putting your phone away and having the opportunity to decompress.”

3. Figure out what’s really bothering you
Georgina says: “Do you genuinely think that they have an annoying habit? Or is there something deeper going on for you? Perhaps their behaviour is somehow triggering a deeper level of anger, frustration or resentment that you feel, perhaps from other circumstances outside of the trip and individuals.”

Planning a trip and not sure how to balance the itinerary to please everyone? See our 50 itineraries for every trip for inspiration.
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