Traveling is can be one of the most stressful things undertaken. It’s expensive, usually requires extensive planning and there are an infinite number of things that can go wrong. Adding additional travelers into the mix can more than double those unexpected moments and anxiety-inducing experiences.
While traveling with friends can be a fun bonding experience, it’s just as likely to end a friendship...particularly if your travel habits are incompatible. Before you dive into trip planning with your BFF, ask each other these questions:
1. What are your daily habits?
Do they like to sleep in or get up early, do they have to eat three square meals a day or are they cool nibbling through the day (and do they like to splurge on meals or eat cheap), etc. By working through some of these things prior to the trip, you can avoid some nasty surprises while you’re away.
2. How much are you willing to spend?
For example, do you expect to eat steak with a couple bottles of wine every night, or are we going to steal extra food from the continental breakfast every morning? Additionally, if you hear about something awesome that’s a little spendy—maybe your favorite band is in town, or you decide to go zip lining—are they cool with coming along, or is it going to cause a stress fracture in the relationship?
3. Can you be separated?
Spoken as someone who needs some time away (on a book, a walk, a workout, anything), I relish the chance to be alone for a while. Does your travel companion expect the opposite, wanting to do everything together? If you want to go to a museum and they want to take in a different sight, is it going to be okay to split up for a while?
4. How much patience do you have?
Don’t blow each other off if one wants to do something and the other doesn’t. Fake some interest, and maybe eventually you’ll wind up interested in it as well.
5. Be considerate.
It’s not a question, just a reminder. Don’t hog the bathroom or complain left and right about things that can’t be changed, like the weather. HAVE FUN and don’t let little things ruin a good trip.
Personally, I love traveling alone (not that I’m averse to traveling with people, but it pushes you out of your comfort zone to meet new people and make connections).
Frequent solo traveler Kate has compiled a list of tips for people traveling alone and includes ways to make new friends while doing so. Topping the list are recommendations to stay in hostels and hostel bars—even if you’re not looking for crazy nights, hostels are typically inexpensive and attract likeminded folks looking to make friends—and use a guidebook (physical or virtual) to help decide where to stay.
Kate also recommends engaging with people by going on organized trips and excursions, and using travel time to chat and meet new people. It really comes down to your personality type: traveling solo doesn’t have to mean being alone all the time because there’s always someone looking to have a conversation.
When you travel with friends, what are some things you do beforehand to ensure a great trip?