You’d think that traveling with friends is just that easy. You pick a time, book the flights and embark on an adventure together. But in reality traveling can bring out characteristics in people that you’d rather have kept hidden.
Taking a bus or a train to the next city is easy enough, but when flying comes into picture, things get trickier;
Queuing at customs, flights being delayed or cancelled, queuing at the security desk, all things that can break a person surprisingly easily.
And when you get to the destination, you might notice that your travel companion’s idea of a holiday is completely opposite to yours; sightseeing, where and when to eat, evening activities, there are as many approaches to each as there are people traveling.
I’ve traveled with friends a lot, and I must admit, that sometimes it wasn’t the best of ideas. I’m quite chill, don’t like to plan much ahead, and in some cases being lenient, and going with whatever my friend wanted to do, meant that I couldn’t enjoy the trip as I had hoped to do.
On the other hand, it only took me one disaster trip with a friend to learn what is required to successfully travel with friends, without breaking the friendship.
Here are my expert tips on making your next trip with friends the best trip ever.
How To Successfully Travel With Friends
Pick your travel companion wisely
Rule number 1: consider carefully who you would like to travel with. Traveling has a habit of digging out all of our “inner layers” that we’re able to keep hidden from everybody in the scheme of our everyday, routine lives.
But when you’re carrying a heavy handbag, while also dragging a 20-kilogram suitcase behind you in +30 degree heat, it tends to bring the worst out of each of us.
Who do you know, from your group of friends, who can keep their calm and be patient when trouble strikes? That’s who you should book your next trip with!
The ones to avoid traveling with include, but are not limited to:
- people who are prone to complain about even the slightest things
- people who can’t handle a situation turning South
- people who want to stubbornly stick to their travel itinerary, even if it’s a nightmare schedule-wise
- people who care more about getting that ‘mandatory’ Instagram photo than enjoying the actual experience.
For example, I’m a chill person and when I go on a holiday, I prefer to go with the flow and enjoy myself rather than run around like a headless chicken because there is a schedule. I went for a “holiday” like this once, and I won’t be making that mistake again:
Instead of enjoying the Parisian atmosphere and life, sitting in a park or a café with a class of wine and some cheese people watching, I instead
followed ran after a friend around the beautiful city from one sight to the other. There was never time for wine and chill, there was only the next place we had to rush to.
The only place where I put my foot down and said ‘STOP’ was in Notre Dame Cathedral. I wanted to take it all in. And we all know now what a great decision that was!
Agree on budget
We all have different salaries and living costs to deal with, right? So, please don’t expect that since you’re able to travel in business class and stay in a 5-star hotel, your travel company could. Because at the end of the day, it’s not necessary.
Agreeing on a budget is an easy way to show consideration, and to ensure that money doesn’t become an argument issue on the trip. That would be the worst!
Another point on money, when traveling, is to try and not count the pennies. By this I mean that sometimes a restaurant or a café might be unable to give you and your travel companion separate bills. It’s totally fine if you buy breakfast one morning and your friend takes care of the next breakfast or the lunch bill.
Even if you’re traveling on a tight budget, it’s best not to stress about it. After all, you wouldn’t be traveling if it meant breaking your bank completely.
Be patient and flexible
Why do we travel? To get away from our troubles at work, on the home front, or just to escape the boredom of our everyday routines. Travel is said to broaden the mind because we see, hear and smell new things, which increases our awareness of how life is being lived elsewhere.
Sometimes, though, you might be traveling in a country where the cultural norms, or the way people behave towards each other, differs from what you are used to. When you venture outside of your own borders, remember to always be patient.
Even if some cultures seem restrictive, in regards to dress code, or the way men and women are or are not allowed to behave in public, it is not your place to judge or disrespect those customs and ways.
Discuss the cultural norms of your destination with your travel companion(s) before the trip and agree that nobody will lose their cool over possibly slow service, strict dress codes in churches, or lack of sufficient internet connection.
But, since there are always 2 sides to each coin, we should also be careful not to get too laid-back and accept everything. For example, if you and your travel companion can’t decide where you should go for dinner, one of you is going to have to make that decision. Don’t leave all decision-making to others.
Allow some ‘own time’
If you’re away for a week, or even longer, you tend to spend all day every day with whoever you are traveling with. So, there will come a point when both of you need a bit of a break from each other.
Particularly if you notice that you or your travel companion starts to get a bit edgy, you might suggest that you could both take half a day just for yourselves;
Go read a book on the beach on your own, go for a walk around the hotel grounds, or do things that you want to do but which your travel partner isn’t too keen on. Like riding or scuba diving.
And in the evening, when you get together again, you have a load of new things to discuss. What each of you saw, heard, did, tasted. Even few hours apart can be enough to give back the head space you need to be patient and flexible.
Compromise, compromise, compromise
As in all situations in life, communication is the key. As long as you are able to talk and discuss different situations completely honestly with your travel companion, there’s no reason why your trip together wouldn’t be a successful one.
If when sticky situations arise, it’s best that one of you just takes a time-out, you locate the nearest sunny terrace, order a glass of wine each and observe the situation from both accounts.
And if no sticky situations arise, keep on vacationing! We all get tired on those long days when you walk from one sight to another, queue for the best spot for that ultimate selfie, and sweat your butt off in the stifling sun.
But as long as you both remember to respect the other, and cease from endless complaining, you’re going to have a wonderful trip and probably will travel together again.
Have you traveled with your friends? I’d love to hear if there were any tricky points and how you solved them? What is your fail-safe recipe for traveling with friends meanwhile maintaining the friendship? ♥
Photos taken in Portugal.
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