Travelling with Friends: 7 Dos and Don’ts

27 Aug

The following post was written by Megan from Charade, and I’m reposting it as part of her Archive August. I chose this particular post because travelling is (obviously, clearly) one of my favourite things to do ever, and sharing that with special people makes the experiences all the more exciting and fun. However, being with other people in not-so-comfortable and frustrating situations can be utterly awful, and this post gives some tips about coping with the bad moments and making the most of the wonderful activity that is travelling.

I’ve travelled with family, alone, with my boyfriend, and with friends. All have their particular delights, downsides and things to keep in mind. Whether you’ve experienced travelling with friends or are cautiously considering it, here are my tips for keeping things sweet:

1. Do choose your travelling friends wisely. Just because you took a class together once or love going out for cocktails, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily make great travel buddies. Someone can be the nicest person you’ve ever met, but that doesn’t inherently mean you can spend day and night with them for two weeks or more. Opt for well-travelled, mature friends with whom you share an equal passion for the place/places you’re visiting. That said, travel can often really enhance a friendship so don’t be too picky – just go with your gut.

2. Don’t forget: less is more. It may seem the biggest cliché going, but two truly is company whilst three is very often a crowd. Similarly, when you start stretching beyond four you’ve got a veritable melting pot of conflicting interests and potential fallouts. I’d recommend doing a Noah’s Ark and travelling in twos unless you are very familiar with spending time together as a larger group, otherwise you might experience some nasty surprises.

3. Do be aware that you will have different priorities. Even if you’re the best of friends there are bound to be some conflicts of interest, and you may even be unfortunate enough to face this at every turn, after all it can be hard to really know someone until you start spending solid lots of 24 hours together. If you find this happening then why not take it in turns to plan each day. When it’s not your day try to be as laidback as possible and allow yourself to be open to new experiences. Discuss at the offset what you’d each like to do and split your time as required. If necessary, it’s no big deal to spend an afternoon apart each doing your own thing and meet for dinner, and in fact this can often really refresh your enthusiasm for doing things together.

4. Don’t expect plain sailing. Travelling is tough but often doesn’t get thought of as such, instead there is a constant pressure to be enjoying yourself. However, walking miles upon miles everyday in not the best shoes, in weather conditions you are perhaps not used to, on what is often very little sleep, tackling another language, facing dreaded public transport, and all the while trying to fit someone else’s agenda, well, it’s pretty tough at times! The trick is take the pressure off; be realistic about what you have the time and funds to do and be sure they are things you’re both excited about. If you find you are getting on each others nerves at any point just be honest, make a joke about it, take a deep breath, realise travel is stressful, sit down for a coffee, keep calm and carry on!

5. Do be considerate. Sounds obvious, but make the effort to treat your friend as you would like to be treated: keep your stuff neat in hotel rooms, offer to buy the odd bus ticket or ice cream, happily take photos of them beside the sites etc. These little things can make the trip all the more enjoyable for both of you.

6. Don’t have different budgets. Where you stay, where you eat, which tourist attractions you venture out to… all of these depend on your budget, and are all things you’ll be doing together. Money can be difficult to talk about even with good friends, but if you both start out with the same budget you will each have the same expectations and it will also help to keep things fair. It might help to have a joint ‘kitty’, a shared purse/wallet where you each put in the same amount and spend on entry fees etc.

7. Do share responsibilities. From booking accommodation to mustering up your limited French to ask for a café au lait – each of you should take a leading role in your trip. If not, there could potentially be resentful feelings because one of you is taking the lion’s share. You’ll each have your strengths and weaknesses, so tailor your roles to these.

Post originally written by Megan. Part of ‘Archive August’ on Join in the fun and win!


2 Responses to “Travelling with Friends: 7 Dos and Don’ts”

  1. selma August 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Very true! I’ve had some awful travel experiences because the person I am with has a different budget or expectations of the trip. Some people like to go out an party their whole holiday, whereas others like to actually do sightseeing etc.. Nice post. x

    • clairecommando September 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      Yeah, bad travel experiences suck, especially when it’s not really your fault :( Very frustrating. xx

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