When we travel, more often than not we consult a variety of sources to find out as much information as we can about a place. There is the our trusted Lonely Planet, the various ‘top ten things to do’ articles, sample itineraries detailing the well-trodden path and a plethora of travel forums, all designed to find out as much as we can to ensure that we have the best travel experiences possible.

Over the course of the last three months I’ve realised just how futile all of that research and planning is, because in my opinion the key ingredient to what makes the perfect travel moment can’t be found inside the pages of a guidebook or on a website, in fact the key ingredient won’t be detailed in any of the places you might think to look when planning to maximise your travel experiences.

When someone said to me the other day “where has been your favourite destination so far and why?” after giving it some thought for a minute or two I realized that what was running through my head were not memories of sights I had seen but rather memories of the time I had spent with the people who I’ve met.

Realising that what makes or breaks a travel experience for me is the people who I’m with and the conversations, stories and jokes that we share has seen me consult my travel guide far less and meant that I’m far more likely to spend time sat in a café with someone who inspires or stimulates me than I am running around trying to tick sights off some travel checklist.