Travel

Things to Consider Before Traveling with Friends

Traveling with your friends?  What could be more fun, right?  Such a trip can actually be a wonderful experience.  One you will remember for years.  On the other hand, it can also be an ugly experience that changes the way you feel about each other or those in the group. 

Disappointments, misunderstandings, and frustrations can easily sour the trip you have planned together for so long.  You can avoid the negative results that can come from traveling with a friend, or a group of friends, by simply considering some of the following travel tips.

Before You Leave

It is not enough just to decide you’re going to travel with an old friend, your family relative, an old roommate or even your favorite co-worker.  There are other important factors you should consider as you evaluate whether this person or group of friends has the proper combination of traits that will contribute to a successful and happy voyage. 

  • How well do you actually know this person?
  • What kind of travel planning personality do they have?  Are they a spontaneous person or are they a planner?  If this trait is opposite of yours, it just may not work for a long-term travel partnership.
  • Do you each have similar traveling energy levels?  Do you both enjoy short, leisurely walks and activities or are you both adventure-seeking, high energy, rugged outdoor types who constantly want to push the daily activity levels?  A mismatch can make for plenty of frustrations and may not work out the best.
  • What about your dietary habits and preferences?  Do you like the same foods?  A vegetarian will want to eat totally different than a meat lover. 
  • Are your body clocks similar?  Are you both morning persons or are you both night owls?  Again a mismatch here can turn out to be frustrating for both of you and others if you are with a group.
  • Do you enjoy constantly being with this friend or this group of friends in a variety of situations?
  • Are your traveling interests similar?  Do you both enjoy similar items?  A confirm art museum connoisseur will definitely have different desires during the trip than an outdoor, thrill-seeking adventurer.
  • What about the level of travel experience you each have?  Experienced travelers may get a bit frustrated if they are constantly needing to mentor novice companions.
  • How long is your trip?  One can handle a variety of different issues during a short trip.  But issues developing over a longer trip can really put a strain on the relationships.

Agree on the Basics

Now that you are planning your trip it is time to make sure you all agree on the basics.  Where are you going?  How long are you staying?  What do you plan on doing while you are there.?  What are the goals of the trip?  It is the time now to make sure that all parties are on the same page—at least with the basic, rough schedule and plans.

One hint:  book your travel with a set itinerary, such as a cruise, or an organized tour.  This will eliminate many of the decisions about where you will spend a good chunk of your time.

Agree on the Budget

Of course, in a perfect situation, all traveling companions will have similar financial situations and preferences—at least as it applies to the trip you are planning.  One person may want to make it a 5-star vacation while another is looking for a modest Airbnb experience.  One may want to walk most places and enjoy the nearby local scenes while another may want to rent a car and get out to other distant locations.  One may want to eat at fancy reservation-only establishments while another may want to eat in the local sidewalk casual dining spots. 

During the Trip

Plan on having some personal time during your journey.  Although it is great to be with friends, too much togetherness can put a strain on the relationship.  Also, each of you likely has some different interests you want to satisfy. 

Don’t be afraid of splitting up for part of a day or even an entire day and then getting back together for dinner.  That way you each will have some time to pursue your own interests and not be pressured to go along with another or with the group.  

This works, of course, as long as you are each comfortable going your own way for short periods.  Otherwise, one may decide to join a guided tour while the other pursues some personal relaxing time by staying at the hotel and getting a rejuvenating, and well-deserved massage. You’ll thank me for the recommendation.

Enjoy Your Friends

Travel is a great experience.  And traveling with friends can strengthen your relationship with shared experiences and memories.  Be sure to enjoy each other and be present.  During your together time it would be wise to limit your time on social media, emails, texts and phone calls.   

Be Flexible

Bring along plenty of patience and flexibility when you are traveling with friends.  You may not get to see and do everything on your list.  But don’t worry.  Your traveling companions may not get to do everything on their list either.  There will be many times you each have to give in to the other and adapt to the variety of conditions that occur during your travels.

Talk About It

Consider your traveling companion choices, plan ahead, communicate clearly and be flexible.  And most important of all, have a great time on your journeys together. 

Summary

Consider your traveling companion choices, plan ahead, communicate clearly and be flexible.  And most important of all, have a great time on your journeys together.