Traveling with friends is not always easy. With different preferences, personalities, and priorities, things can go awry quickly! If you are wondering how to travel with friends, this tips and etiquette guide will set you up for a smooth trip. Let’s go!
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Those of you who have been here for a while know that I am a big fan of solo travel. I believe that it is the best way to facilitate personal growth, find your strength, become more humble, and appreciate the planet. Without a doubt, solo travel has shaped me into the person I am today.
However, not even I travel solo 100% of the time. When I look back at my travels over the years, some of my favorite trips have included friends, significant others, and family. And, while many are a breeze, if I’m being transparent, they have not all gone smoothly.
Anytime you share a trip with another human being, there is a potential for misunderstandings. We all have our own unique perspectives, priorities, and preferences on how to have a great trip.
In order to avoid major clashes – or worse, the loss of a friendship – I thought I would share some insight on how to travel with friends. These tips and suggestions will help you to have a relaxed and problem-free trip from beginning to end.
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How to Travel with Friends: Tips and Etiquette
I’m gonna be transparent here – I’ve had some unforgettable and really special experiences on my friend-trips. But, I have also experienced a few… interesting clashes in the past while traveling with friends.
Mixing expectations, budgets, and personality types is not always an easy feat. In fact, I’ve heard quite a few stories where friendships were permanently ruined after traveling together!
Thankfully that last sentence does not apply to me. Whew! However, I’ve definitely had small clashes along the way with the people I care about. In my opinion, who hasn’t? It’s part of being human and it’s normal. The trick is how you deal with it.
This little guide is going to outline some tips and etiquette to consider before traveling with friends. My goal is to help you and your pals have a (mostly) stress free trip that will leave you with loads of memories and zero resentment.
Traveling with Friends: Pros and Cons
1. You’ll have memories that you’ll talk about for a lifetime.
I still talk about a decade-old trip to Mexico that I took with my bestie. We reminisce arily regularly about all the things that went wrong on that trip!
The “cold tub” (read: the hot tub that didn’t work the entire time that we were there.) Or, when the receptionist told us the wrong time for a pre-booked beautiful dinner cruise… and when the boat left without us, they offered us a spot on the loud party boat instead. Or, the Australians we met out to dinner one night and traipsed around the busy streets with.
The memories are simply golden. With just a half-a-sentence, we can have each other cracking up about something we experienced on that trip.
There is something so special about takin trips with friends. The mishaps, the sunsets, the funny moments and fond memories are truly beautiful – and the reminiscing never gets old.
2. It is cheaper.
There is no denying it – travel with friends is cheaper. By splitting the cost of rooms, of taxis, of Ubers, and even food or attractions when applicable, you can save mega moolah.
Sometimes a hotel room will cost the same whether there are one or two people sleeping there. If you were solo, you would have to foot the bill yourself. When you travel with a friend, you each end up paying only have of the price.
And, if you’re traveling with a larger group, prices can get even cheaper per person, too.
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3. You might see sights you wouldn’t have seen on your own.
You may end up having awesome experiences that you wouldn’t necessarily have had otherwise.
For example, let’s say you prefer to hike, but your friend is all about museums. You might spend one day on the trails and then spend the next day museum hopping. And, you might be pleasantly surprised by trying out each others preferences!
You’ll likely leave your trip with a new insight or a postcard-worthy memory that you would not have even considered if you had gone without them.
This can apply to restaurants, hikes, museums, historical architecture, cathedrals, lakes – the list goes on and on. Two minds means two different sets of interests and potentially double the fun of new activities if you’re willing to try it out!
4. You have the chance to become closer friends.
Spending large quantities of time together can really cement a close friendship.
Yes – there will be loads of fun and goofy experiences. But, its the calm quiet nights when you might find yourselves really opening up to one another about life – whether it’s personal challenges or tough experiences or hope for the future.
When you find someone you travel well with, more time together usually means more bonding.
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1. You don’t have full control of the itinerary.
Yep, that’s right, say it with me – compromise.
You may need to include certain stops on the itinerary that you really don’t care for. Like, if your travel buddy is super into cafes but you can’t stand coffee. You’ll likely need to suck it up and wait in line with them while they buy their drink. (Yes, even in long lines.)
Or, if one of you needs to do a lot of souvenir shopping and the other could not care less. One of you will need to have some patience while the other finds the perfect gift or the perfect dress or the perfect journal. You get the idea.
The point is, when you travel with friends, there are bound to be times where one of you is waiting on the other while you finish your preferred activities.
2 You likely have different timing needs.
I’m personally very quick at getting ready in the morning. I do not need very long at all between waking up and getting out the door.
But, many people are the exact opposite. I can think of a few travel companions I have had who take a very long time to wake up, get ready, do their hair, make a coffee, eat some food, get dressed, blah blah blah. When I travel with someone in this category, I find myself with a lot of extra “sitting” time on my hands.
To avoid feeling antsy or “trapped” I usually try to have a book handy or use that time to check emails or download photos I’ve taken. Basically, I try and use that time productively rather than pester my friends to hurry. But yes, truth be told, if I was solo I’d rather be out the door much faster.
3. You have to consider each other’s budget.
This one can be tough, particularly if you are traveling with someone on a very different budget.
If you have a higher budget, you ether need to be ready to foot the bill for both of you, or you need to be willing to splurge less often than you’d like. Or, option three, do the more expensive activities solo.
If you have the lower budget, you need to be okay with the other(s) going extravagant without you – or come to some other compromise where no one feels like they’ve missed out terribly.
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So, How Should You Handle Things?
It can be tricky to travel with friends. After many experiences over the years, here is my best advice. Hopefully this will lead you and your group to a fulfilling vacation and a closer friendship!
1. Be direct.
I find it is better to be up front about issues if you see them as a real problem. It is much better to have a hard conversation than to have resentment build up during a trip.
Be direct but not rude when you need to talk something through. You are perfectly within your right to bring up concerns about sleep, budget, timing, diet, etc. Name your concern and explain why you’re worried.
And if you are on the receiving end of that directness, listen. Don’t laugh, don’t dismiss it, and don’t get defensive. Facing issues head on will lead to much better results than letting resentment build.
2. Determine the budget ahead of time.
Never have vague discussions like “I need to be frugal” or “I’m gonna go all out!” The definitions of those two statements can be very different from one person to another.
Rather, speak very specifically about what each of you wants to spend on accommodation, transportation and food. Name dollar amounts for each category and talk ahead of time about what activities and events you are willing to pay for and which ones are not a good place for your dollars to go.
Things can get awkward fast if one of you wants to go all-inclusive and the other wants to live on rice and beans, and you never talked about it beforehand.
3. Plan a loose itinerary together.
You don’t need to schedule every hour of the trip (frankly that sounds terrible to me), but you do need to have a conversation about what sights and places are a must-see for each of you.
This will get the conversation rolling about preferences and what you’d each like to spend money on. It’s always interesting to learn what things someone can’t live without experiencing and what they want to skip.
If you are headed to more than one location, this will also help you decide how many days you need to allow for each place.
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4. Determine each other’s travel style.
This is a different aspect than planning the itinerary, although it can be related. I would definite “travel style” as the way in which someone prefers to spend their vacay days.
For example. Some people are more adventurous and want to be hiking and skydiving and climbing mountains! For others that might sound like a nightmare. Perhaps they prefer spa days and relaxing by the pool.
In general, friends who have similar travel styles will have an easier time together, because they have similar preferences on how to spend their time. It’s not impossible to balance two dissimilar travel styles, but it does take itinerary-planning and compromise.
And honestly, that’s what this all comes down to – communication and compromise.
5. Schedule some “me” time.
If you are used to traveling solo, or if you just know that you will need alone time, this one is a biggie. Luckily, it’s quite easy to do.
If you’re with a group, decide in advance which activities you might opt out of to instead spend some time solo. Or, try waking up early for a solo yoga session on the beach. Or, you could simply put in earbuds and zone out poolside, away from the conversation. Still present, but in your own world.
I find all three of these to be great options for solo time even when with a large group. When I’m traveling one-on-one with someone, it’s not uncommon for me to enjoy a sunrise solo or get lost in a book rather than a conversation.
It’s all about balance.
And there you have it! Now you’re ready to grab your friends, book a trip, and come back even closer than when you left. Travel with friends can sometimes be tricky, but overall is a wonderful idea.
If you’re feeling nervous, or have had a bad experience in the past, I promise. These tips have got you covered.
Communicate, compromise, and find a balance between alone time and friend time. Your trip is bound to be unforgettable!
Okay, spill – what was the best and worst friend trips you have ever had? Let me know below!
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