Some will tell you that traveling with your best friend is fraught with peril. While it can certainly present challenges, seeing the world with your friends can be downright epic! You’ll fondly remember your shared experiences the rest of your lives.
Before your journey begins though, consider some of the potential pitfalls that can come when traveling with friends. We’ve compiled some tips to help you navigate these sometimes tricky waters so you and your bestie have a memorable adventure instead of a stress-filled vacation.
1. Choose your travel companion(s) wisely
There’s a lot to consider when selecting a traveling companion. Are you both night owls? Or is one of you an early riser? Is one of you an adventurous eater and the other is highly selective when it comes to food? Do you prefer to lounge on the beach while your friend wants to spend the day hopping from diving to parasailing to snorkeling excursions? Weigh your preferences against those of any potential traveling companion. You won’t change, and neither will your friend, just because you find yourselves in an exotic destination. If you don’t think your styles will mesh, perhaps it’s best not to travel together.
2. Set a clear budget
Money can be a sticking point when traveling with friends. Make it very clear from the initial planning stages how much you can afford spend on the adventure. Be specific. Everyone’s definition of “traveling on a budget” is different. Identify exact dollar amounts, if not for the trip as a whole, but for its separate components. For example, tell your friend you can only spend $200 per night on accommodations or $50 a day on food. That should help set the expectation for the amount of money you’re comfortable spending on the trip.
3. Manage your own money
Even if you establish a budget on the front end, money matters can still cause stress. To avoid conflicts once you’re on the ground, pay for as much as possible upfront. If you put a charge on your credit card, get reimbursed by your friend (or vice versa) before you leave home. And have a plan for who pays for what once you reach your destination. Going Dutch sounds like a solution, but it’s not always practical. Sometimes it may just be easier to let your friend pay for your cappuccino instead of making two separate purchases. Reciprocate by picking up the tab for the next coffee, or if money is a big concern, even up with your friend at the end of each day.
4. Identify your ‘must-sees’
You’ll determine a destination and the length of your trip very early in the planning process. But you might not discuss every aspect of the trip. You may assume that just because you want to spent the day exploring the Louvre that your friend does, too. When you get to Paris though, you learn your friend had planned to indulge in the city’s fabulous boutiques. One of you will come away disappointed and resentful if you don’t have time to do both activities. So be certain to specifically identify the things you want to see and do on the trip. And if you’re limited on time, booking an escorted tour that features the sights that are important to the both of you is a good way to ensure everyone goes home fulfilled.
5. Work with a travel agent
Use a travel agent so the burden of researching, planning and booking your trip doesn’t fall to one party. Travel agents are skilled at creating itineraries that meet the expectations of diverse groups, and they may be able to get you discounts and special values on the things you want to do. An added bonus: if a problem were to arise, the travel agent would be able to address it quickly, alleviating stress for you and your friend.
6. Spend time apart
Even if you’ve been friends for decades, too much together time can lead to strain during a trip. As long as you’re comfortable venturing out alone, it may be wise to spend a few hours apart along the way. This is especially true if you’re on a weeks-long adventure. For example, spend the afternoon exploring Amsterdam’s canals while your friend takes a cycling excursion. You can meet up for dinner and recount the day’s adventures!
7. Be present
Your trip is about making memories together. Don’t spend all your time texting with friends back home or checking your work email. Make the most of your time together by being present for your friend.
8. Remain flexible
Trips don’t always go according to plan. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter a snafu somewhere along the way. Go with the flow and recognize you (or your friend) cannot control every aspect of your shared experience. You might miss a train or the hotel room may be smaller than you expected. While aggravating, don’t let these inconveniences ruin the trip for you or your companion.
Chances are, your friend isn’t a mind reader. To avoid problems, communicate with your friend clearly and often. If you don’t tell your friend your needs and desires, he or she won’t know.
10. Be considerate
On the other hand, pay attention to your friend’s mood and energy level. If you get the vibe that he or she isn’t up for cocktails and dancing, perhaps you should suggest another activity. Or if you know your friend is simply dying to see the sunset over the water one last time, go along with her, even if you think packing is a better way to spend the evening. In 10 years, you’ll remember that sunset, but you probably won’t remember an evening spent in your hotel room!
Traveling with your best friend can be memorable. It can also be a stressful experience that leads to awkwardness once you return home. Use these tips to plan a fantastic adventure you both remember fondly.
Ready to book your next vacation? Get started with go-today.com.