Travelling with friends can either be an amazing experience or leave you with regrets wishing you had traveled solo. As Mark Twain put it, “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
These 8 tips will serve as a guide and help you avoid the negative side effects that can arise from travel with friends – misunderstandings, disappointments, and frustration.
1. Pick your travel companion (or companions) wisely
It’s not enough to travel with a classmate, your best friend at work or your favourite relative. You should consider the following questions:
Do you know this person well enough? Do you enjoy their company? Do they have the same values as you do? Do you share similar interests and tastes or is there room for compromise? Are they trustworthy?
To avoid conflicts, consider these questions when selecting your travel companion.
2. Secure commitments
Once you’re ready to book, everyone needs to be financially committed to the trip. I know life can get in the way sometimes, but your travel companion should understand that there are penalties and consequences for late cancellations. Make this clear to them.
3. Consider everyone’s interest
Agree on the basics: where you plan to travel, how much time you would spend at this destination, and the planned activities. It may be helpful to have people write down their goals for the trip to set clear expectations.
4. Agree on budgets when travelling with friends
The ideal situation would be where everyone has the same financial capacity and preferences, but this may not be the reality. If one person wants to enjoy all five-star properties, while the other prefers to travel modestly, have that conversation at the planning stage to determine where you can make a compromise. It never hurts to be kind to a friend who cannot afford the little extra – of course, if you too can afford to pay the upgrade for them.
Also, ensure you’re on the same wavelength when it comes to getting around and dining out. One member of your group may prefer a car hire service, while another may prefer to walk. Someone may want to eat at casual restaurants while another may have their heart set on luxury dining. Learn to make compromises.
A trip fund has worked well for some groups. This is a situation where everyone contributes equally to the group fund, for shared expenses such as lodging and transportation. When the funds run low, everyone chips in an equal amount again.
5. Work with a Travel Advisor
One person may resent the burden of taking on the large task of planning the trip. As well, coordinating a trip for two or more people with different preferences can be complex.
These issues are resolved when working with a Travel Advisor. Also, a host of other issues you may not have anticipated would be addressed when you engage an expert.
6. Take a break from each other
One of the easiest ways to travel with friends amicably is to take a break from each other for awhile, and reconnect after. Sticking together for too long can put a strain on your trip.
Do not feel guilty about parting ways and going solo for a day or 2, but ensure you reconnect as soon as you are ready. You may split up for part of the day, then reunite for dinner. You’ll get to do your personal exploration and have great stories to tell each other over dinner.
This however works only when people are comfortable venturing on their own. If you are not completely at ease with this, use the time apart to relax in the hotel room, enjoy a beverage (and people-watching) at a café or take a guided tour.
7. Be present
Travelling with friends is a great gift only a few get. A wonderful trip offers shared experiences and memories that can bring you closer. Make the most of being together by limiting your time on social media, phone calls, emails, or sexting.
8. Communicate openly
Nip issues in the bud as soon as they arise. Bring them up respectfully and openly. Otherwise, they may fester and erupt, creating a toxic situation. Tempers are more likely to flare when you are intensely together. One way to prevent issues is to be considerate and understand each other’s perspectives.
Be a good roommate. Show interest in something that makes them come alive, even if it’s not your thing. Think about their needs as well as your own. Pay attention to your friend’s mood, and ask how they are if they seem unhappy. Be truly compassionate.
I hope you find these tips on travelling with friends useful.
Feel free to share your experience in the comments section.