One of the best ways to choose traveling partners is to decide on what you can live with on the trip as well as what will be a deal breaker. For instance, most everyone is bound to irritate you in some way, especially if you're tired or just spent hours waiting for a bus in sweltering heat. You'll have to resort yourself to living with a travel companion's small habits that you may find irritating, yet you shouldn't be resigned to overlooking major issues when choosing compatible traveling partners.
For example, if you're a nonsmoker and don't want to share a room with a smoker, that is a reasonable expectation. The key in partner travel is to be able to reach an agreement before the trip about what each traveler wants to get out of it. If one traveler wants to party, while another hopes to cycle and hike, it's not likely to be a good travel companion match. If the goals for the trip are mostly the same, the chances that the traveling partners will get along are much better. The next step should be planning a travel itinerary that everyone can agree on — if this proves impossible, it may be a sign that the trip isn't going to work out.
Travel with friends can work out well since presumably you're already comfortable with their habits and personality quirks as well as the activities they prefer. The one problem is that, unlike choosing traveling partners from another source, if it becomes necessary for one friend to lend money to another for travel expenses and he or she isn't able to or is unwilling to pay it back, the friendship could be at stake. As long as the money side of the trip is worked out though, traveling with friends may work out well. Roommates and family members are other possible good traveling partners as long as money issues are planned for ahead of time and the expectations and desired activities are similar.
If you're considering travel with others who you don't know well, having at least several discussions about the trip before committing to anything is a good idea. This will help give everyone time to mention their expectations as well as any deal breakers that would warrant them not wanting to take the trip. If a commitment is decided on, a shorter trip to start with can be best.