How to not go crazy when traveling with friends
YOU can’t choose your family but you can pick your friends.
Friends are there to support us, challenge us, make us laugh, they’re a person to rely on, to grab food with, and to confide in. Friendships help us to interact and to forgive.
From a young age, friendships taught us to share, to be patient, and encouraged our imaginations. As we got older and responsibilities arose, friends also shared woes and burdens, but mostly good times.
No matter what age we form friendships, there is no denying they are essential for our wellbeing and there’s plenty of research to back it up.
While you might make lots of different friends in your life, drift between circles, and even reinvent yourself to make new friends, the basics of friendship never change.
Being able to speak openly around them and know they care about you enough to pay attention and protect you, is a sign of a true friendship. If they’re there when you need them and still there when you don’t, keep hold of them, they’re your best friends.
These are also the friends you should travel the world with, why? Because they understand you the best. But it won’t always be a barrel of laughs.
Being in new environments, far away from home, surrounded by unfamiliar people and culture is as daunting as it is exciting.
Here are a few top tips collected from “fravelers” (friends who travel together) to ensure you make the most of your time traveling and stay friends long after you get home.
Choose your “fravel” buddy wisely
They say opposites attract but if you end up traveling with someone who doesn’t want to do anything you fancy, you’ll end up repelling each other.
If you’ve been friends for a long time, been on short vacations with each other, and understand what makes each other tick, you’ll probably already have a good sense if traveling together will work.
However, no matter the length of the friendship, consider whether your pals are early risers or night owls, adventurers or relaxers, budgeters or big spenders, easily frightened or go-getters, fussy eaters or local delicacy devourers.
While these characteristics might not make a difference in your everyday friendship, traveling changes dynamics.
Plan a basic itinerary
The best way to avoid conflict is for each member of the traveling party to suggest a few things they want to do at every destination.
There is a good chance that people’s suggestions will overlap and a harmonious itinerary will be hatched. However, be prepared to do things on your own and let everyone know you’re fine with this.
It’s fine to have your own space
Don’t be afraid to venture out on your own.
Sometimes it’s wholly necessary for your own sanity. Equally, there may be other situations when you want to stay in, Skype loved ones, listen to music, or just sleep.
Be sure to let your friends know they don’t need to stay with you. Having time to yourself will leave you feeling refreshed and looking forward to the next day’s adventures with pals.
Know who pays for what and budget
Money is a bone of contention in every walk of life because unfortunately, the world revolves around it.
An easy way to eliminate trivial arguments about money is to establish a clear payment plan, but it doesn’t need to be as formal as it sounds.
Simple things like making sure everyone has the cash to pay their share of a taxi ride or the restaurant bill will keep tensions at bay.
It’s also good to confirm what everyone’s budget is prior to leaving so nobody has to miss out on anything.
Try to travel in even numbers
While this isn’t always possible, it helps when booking transport, accommodation, and ensuring nobody feels left out.
Traipsing around restaurants because there’s nothing you can eat on the menu is frustrating enough when you’re on your own. When you have a trail of your best mates shuffling behind you, stomachs rumbling and eyes rolling, it’s even worse.
If you’re someone who has a dietary requirement, be it a personal choice or a medical condition, traveling and ordering from menus written in a language you don’t speak make it all the more tricky.
Always research places you can eat prior to visiting a destination and print cards with useful sayings in the local language such as “I can’t eat nuts” or “I’m a vegetarian – no meat.”
Control freaks and Laidback Larrys, listen up. Sharing responsibilities is essential for a good trip.
If one person insists on planning everything, try to help as much as possible. Equally, if someone isn’t pulling their weight and letting you get stressed out so they can enjoy themselves, call them out on their behavior.
Transparency and communication are key.
We’re not saying these tips will guarantee you a seamless, stressless traveling experience, but they will make any issues you encounter easier and let you look back and laugh about them.