Travelling with friends is a very tricky thing: you either come back from the trip as even closer friends, or return as enemies who never want to speak to one another again.
In order to enjoy your holiday AND keep your friendship intact, we gather some of the best travelling tips from seasoned travellers:
1. Pick your travel companions wisely
All of us would definitely love to travel with our best friends, but what if they simply have very different interests and travel styles from you?
Not everyone enjoys outdoor activities and wants to climb every mountain out there, while some people only go on leisurely vacations that involve a lot of shopping. Comparing travel styles also means considering transportation preferences; for instance, would you prefer taking a longer travel route because it’s cheaper?
You can already see that these differences are very difficult to resolve, and the easiest way to get around this is, of course, to find a travel companion who enjoys your trips to the museums and cafe-hopping habits.
Another important consideration: will your friends stay committed and not pull out of your travel plans at the last minute? Your friendship will surely turn sour if you end up having to travel solo – or worse, cancel the trip – after making all the necessary plans.
2. Set expectations
Even for friends with similar travel styles, it is important to set common goals and expectations.
Do you want to take your time to explore just one or two attractions every day, or do you want to have an itinerary that’s jam-packed with everything that’s recommended on TripAdvisor?
Take time to sit down with your friends, discuss, and agree on what your goals are before you decide to embark on your holiday together.
3. Set budgets
Money is one of the most common reasons why people argue and fall out while they are travelling. Ideally, you should be travelling with someone who has a similar budget, as a bulk of your expenses will be from shared transportation and accommodation, which both of you have to agree on.
It is certainly not advisable to go on a trip with someone if you know they’ll want to spend significantly more (or less) than you overall, unless both of you are willing to compromise your budgets on certain areas.
For example, both of you could agree that travelling via budget airlines is fine, but it is worth it to splurge a little on that skydiving activity.
4. Work out how to split costs
For convenience, you will most likely have just one person footing the bill at a restaurant or paying for your shared accommodation. Things get complicated, however, when it comes to splitting the bill afterwards and trying to get your friends to pay you back.
One tip to avoid this is to agree beforehand on how costs will be split. One way you can do this is to have one person pay for all the shared costs, and everyone can pay him or her back at the end of the day.
Another effective method: have everyone contribute a certain amount of money first, and one (trustworthy) friend will be in charge of safekeeping and paying all shared expenditure with this fund.
5. Be considerate
Some people may be slightly less comfortable with always hitting the road all the time, while others may have problems adjusting to the weather and/or cuisine in a foreign land.
A sick and tired travel companion will surely slow things down, and it is easy for you to get annoyed or frustrated that your plans for the day(s) ahead are ruined. However, always remember that this is a time when your friend needs your understanding – after all, he or she is also affected when you cannot travel as planned.
Stay in for a day if necessary, give your friend sufficient time to recover, and change your itinerary so that it’s less physically strenuous for him or her. Your friend will definitely appreciate that you prioritise your friendship!
6. Get some me-time
Let’s face it – as much as we love our friends, doing everything together for a week or more can be really suffocating.
Travelling together with friends doesn’t mean that you have to do every single activity together: you can pick a day for each of you to do something different, or explore a different part of the city that you are in.
You can travel at your own pace and take all the time you want to do anything, but also with the assurance that someone you can rely on is in the same foreign land as you.
7. Plan how to share responsibilities
Planning and executing a whole trip is a lot of work, even for the most seasoned travellers.
From finding the best flights and accommodations, to planning itineraries and travel routes, it’s not possible for just one person to be doing all the work.You may end up getting angry at your friends because of their lack of contribution and call off the trip even before you book your flights.
The best way to do this is to split the workload and responsibilities according to each person’s skills. For example, you may be a good choice for drawing up the itinerary because you are familiar with the destination, while your friend has an eye for finding the best travel deals online.
The key is to play to your strengths, and you will definitely find that everything becomes a breeze.
8. Make sure everyone gets enough sleep
We know how cranky some of us can get when we have to wake up early after a late night out.
Chances are, you will be doing that every single day of your trip if your itinerary is packed with activities from daybreak to midnight.
The lack of sleep and exhaustion from travelling, especially if you suffer from jet lag, are primers for disagreements and arguments.
Avoid this by making sure that your itinerary lets everyone get a decent amount of sleep everyday – if you are staying out late, try not to make your friends wake up at 4am and climb a mountain to catch the sunrise the next day.
9. Talk every conflict out
We like to think that we can ignore all the small things that annoy us, or that things will simply be resolved if we ignore them for long enough. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that you will get angrier, and that cold war between the both of you will never end.
Even if it means having to slow down your travelling, it is recommended that you take the time to talk things out with your friend. Let him or her know what’s troubling you, and agree on a solution together before proceeding with the trip.
10. Help one another out
Maybe a group of you agreed to go on a hike together, but you realize that your friend is struggling to keep up because he or she is not as fit. Do you yell at him or her to hurry up, or offer to help carry any heavy bags so that he or she can have an easier time?
Now, even though it is important for each person to take care of him or herself, remember that you are travelling together, so it is only right that you watch out for one another.
Give your friend a helping hand whenever needed, be it helping to find a lost wallet or carrying his or her luggage.
11. Be prepared to compromise
Last but not least, be prepared to give in to your friends.
That does not mean that you should always say yes to any activity they propose, or that your opinions are not important. You should stay firm on matters which you know are right, but also ask yourself if you are being insistent for other things simply because you only want to have them go your way.
Compromising also does not necessarily mean that you are opting for something you don’t like. Let’s say you want to eat at a certain place, but your friend needs a place that has vegetarian options: you can always come to an agreement to eat somewhere else, or to eat in separate places for one meal.