We missed our flight on our first overseas trip together. That was our first test of friendship. She passed with flying colors and till date, I consider her my best travel companion. I was fortunate to have found a good travel friend in her.
My friend, however, was recounting her frustrations to me recently about her latest travel with friends. Hearing her stories, it brought back memories of my own travels with other friends.
I will admit that I’m not always the easiest person to travel with but there will certainly be moments when you get frustrated or annoyed with your travel friends when you are constantly in each other’s company.
After travelling with so many different friends, I have my own set of rules that I go by to minimise any stress during my travels due to travel companions.
Rule 1: Manage your expectations in advance
One of the mistakes that I learnt early on is not finding out each others’ expectations. Not everyone will have similar interests. Each person may expect different things from the same trip, be it shopping or adventure or food. So knowing what the other is expecting helps in that you are prepared for detours or some compromise along the way.
For myself, I always make sure I let my friends know that I need to travel by my budget before even making any arrangements. So if they are not comfortable with the budget that I have set, I always tell them to just go ahead without me.
Rule 2: Communication is the key.
Of course, this is an essential part of travelling together. When you are having fun and all is well, you would expect this to be the least of your problems. Unfortunately, when things go wrong on your travels, you will soon realise the importance of listening and respecting each other. Each will have their own opinion but you must also be able to communicate your opinion.
I had a friend who was struggling with the pace that I had set for the trip but she did not mention anything to me until after the trip. I would have definitely gone about things differently now.
Rule 3: Share the Responsibility.
I’m guilty of violating this all the time because I can be pretty stubborn on handling all aspects of planning the trip. However, I have found that this is a good compromise when travelling because it cuts down on the stress of arguing. When one is given responsibility, the load and stress of planning for a trip is shared among us.
My friends can be more capable in a certain language so it is more convenient to leave communication to them while I deal with other aspects such as logistics. If they had arranged for our accommodations, for example, I leave it to them to settle any issues that arise from it.
Rule 4: Be Willing to Compromise.
I believe this is the most important ingredient of surviving a travel with friends. I cannot stress how important it is to compromise when travelling with friends. Travelling with friends is not always perfect. You may get pissed off with your friends, you may argue with them when travelling. Ultimately, you will need to learn to compromise.
In each of my travel partners, I have always had to learn on the go and adjust myself to their needs just as they do with me. I have had to learn to tone down my stubbornness and to listen to others. I have learnt to focus on the bigger picture and compromise rather than nitpick on small things.
Rule 5: Be considerate.
When travelling with friends, it’s not just about you. Since you are constantly in each others’ company, a little consideration goes a long way to surviving the trip with your friends.
If you are an early riser, learn to keep the noise to a minimum until your travel companion is awake. Small things like these can annoy your friends while travelling. I know that I take ages in the shower so I usually ensure I wake up slightly earlier. It allows my friend to sleep in and not waste time waiting for me to finish.
On the other hand, I have also travelled with a friend who is both a late sleeper and takes ages to get ready. I ended up waiting so long for her I got frustrated and annoyed.
Rule 6: Allow some ‘Me’ time.
In my opinion, this goes a long way towards resolving some of the issues with my friends. However, not everyone is open to such an arrangement because not everyone is comfortable with travelling on their own so they may end up compromising a lot on the trip.
I have been travelling for the longest time with a particular friend of mine because we both have no problems going off on a separate itinerary for the day. We would just meet up back at the hostel/ hotel at the end of the day. However, I have also travelled with others who prefer to go together at all times.
Alternatively, one can also arrange for a separate meeting point rather than drag everyone along on a shopping trip if not everyone is willing to do. I have done this a few times as I have no patience for long endless shopping.
I’m pretty sure there are many more tips that others go by but these have played well for me so far. Not that it has always been smooth sailing but I have managed not to spoil any of my holidays because of travelling with friends. So far, so good!! 🙂
Do you have any other tips or stories about your travel companion? Please do share, I would love to hear from you!
23 thoughts on “Survival Tips for Travelling with Friends”
I am just back from travelling to Greece with friends. There were 5 of us, so several different expectations of our trip.
You’re right that communication and compromise is key.
We discussed budget before hand & all took around the same amount if money – I think this prevented alot of potential arguments.
Also I think it helps that when you’re frustrated with others plans on the trip, you keep it to yourself for a little while and consider if it is worthwhile sharing – or if you can just go along with a plan that is not your ideal for one day.
Yeah, a lot of compromise and patience is required when you travel with friends. I try to keep it to max of 3 only though. When you have more than that I find that I end up compromising a lot.
But oh well, you just have to learn to go along with everyone, I suppose, otherwise it’ll just spoil your holiday. I suppose I still prefer solo travel sometimes…haha…
Hope you had a great trip…:)
Ahhhh and thats why I like to travel alone. Now I’m married so some compromise has to be made, but the more people you travel with, the more compromises you make. I have travelled with one other person a few times and had no issues, but after a couple of weeks was glad to be on my own again. I like my own, flexible schedule, I like taking my time if I can, not relying on others and all that jazz. I’ve also travelled in a group of 3 a few times, only for a few days at a time and that worked out okay too surprisingly. I dont think I could ever travel with a big group. Even four sounds like a big group.
Great article Sha!
Haha, yes…sometimes I think that’s the reason why I like travelling on my own so much too. I also don’t like travelling with big groups, the most I have traveled with is 3 people. Thanks!!
These are excellent pieces of advice. One can never communicate too much before and during travel. Sometimes we assume what others think only to discover we are way off. Excellent post!
Oh yes, had plenty of those “You think” “I think” kind of silent conversations on my travels….haha…thanks for reading!! 🙂
Great article! I have always travel with 3 friends. One problem is that one of them has the habit of ‘delaying’ her payment for the travel expenses [e.g.hotel bookings] which I have prepaid. The others paid me before the trip, whereas for her, she’s always ‘ cashless’. So, fine, I have to remind her repeatedly. Only after I made up some ‘excuses’, she will pay, that’s normally after 1 to 2 months after the trip. I am really dread of sending reminders to her again after each trip. Any advice?
Hmm, I’ve got to confess that I’m like that too. I have been blessed to have such wonderful friends who are able to help me out in the planning of the trip including making payments first so I try to be a good friend to them by not ruining our friendship over money issues.
This is what I usually do:
– before confirming the trip, I let my friend know that I will not be able to pay upfront so she will have to make payments first. If she’s ok with that, I will then proceed.
– if she does make payment first, I will let her know when I can make payment. Sometimes I cannot afford to pay it all at once so I tell her that I’ll make installment payments
– I tell her to remind me constantly because I can be pretty absent minded at times.
So maybe it’s better that you work out the repayment details before confirming the trip itself, that way, you do not stress yourself too much over it….would that work?
Thanks for your advice. But the problem is she didn’t do what you did. She is always asking me to remind her and without telling me when she can pay. And we don’t meet that often as she is a friend of my friend. A month after the trip, when there is no news from her despite my reminders, I have no choice but to made up some excuses for her to pay me. Then she will pay and I received it real fast. With so many ‘gentle reminders’, she should tell me if she can’t pay me, but no words from her.
Yeah, in that case, I totally agree that you should use whatever means to get your money back because it’s not really fair to you.
Otherwise, all I can suggest is to highlight this issue to her before you confirm any trip in the future so that she is aware of your frustrations and talk it out with her.
Sometimes, some people need to be reminded not to take advantage all the time…:)
Ok I will. Thanks so much, Sha!
No problem…hope you have a better travel experience with her next time…:)
Very well written !
Sorry for the late reply…but thanks!! 🙂
Most welcome ! 😊
Great tips there, very well thought out
Thank you for thinking so! 🙂
And that is why I fell in love with travelling solo ever since I did it for the first time 🙂 you get to meet new friends and like-minded people all over the world who will keep you company wherever you go without the need of compromising.
Why run the risk of losing an old friend when the alternative option is to have control of your own time and a chance of meeting new life-long companions?
true…i love the freedom of being myself when I travel solo…there are disadvantages sometimes but I think of this as my me time so I still like travelling alone……hehe…thanks for the comment! 🙂
Communication is the key, I agree; If something is going wrong, better to tell it within the first, afterwards, it’s difficult to bring it on the table. Freedom is also important. People can do their own stuff and meet up later 🙂
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Oh yes, this is all relatable for me…dealing with all these during travels can sometimes spoil your holiday. 🙂
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