Traveling with Friends? Avoid These Mistakes.
Traveling with friends can strengthen the bond or break the friendship. Whether you plan a trip with a friend, couple, or group, being together for so much of the time is a real test of friendship strength.
Best case scenario? You all return home from your adventure and reminisce for years about the good memories. Worst case? You come back home feeling bitter or never speaking again.
How to Travel With Friends and Stay Friends!
Friendship breakups often happen after traveling, so if you’re planning on taking a vacation with friends, here are a few things to avoid.
Avoid letting your friend(s) make all the travel plans.
Avoid taking the easy route and let your friends make all the travel plans. Sure, it’s pretty awesome if you trust them so much to take care of everything from choosing the destination, booking flights and hotels, and planning the itinerary. It’s definitely like having your own personal travel agent.
Still, you should really take an interest in what you are doing right from the get-go. After all, this is your time, money, and adventure too! Being involved in the planning process will avoid conflict later. Especially if your planning friend makes some questionable choices that aren’t a good fit for your budget, interests, and travel style.
Avoid not discussing what you want to do ahead of time.
Everybody has a different travel style. If you meet a friend with the exact same style as you, it’s a bonus! But even if you think you are on the same page, some things can come up that be surprising if you haven’t talked about it before-hand. Things like your friend wanting to opt-out of an excursion you’ve been so excited about. Or you looking forward to sleeping in til’ noon every day, but your friends are up at the crack of dawn ready to go.
Be upfront about what you want to do on your vacation. For example, some people like to be ‘go-go-go’ when on vacation, packing in as many things as they can from dawn-til-dusk. Others want to go at a slower pace and savor the time away. Most friends can find a balance of adventure and relaxation – but it’s good to be really open about what everyone wants. Have a conversation before you go and state the things that are really important to all who are going. Also, be transparent if you are planning on taking time on your own. The key is to avoid surprises and let-downs.
Avoid letting your friends handle all the maps and directions.
Sometimes getting lost is part of the adventure, but why waste time not knowing where you’re going? There are so many resources at our fingertips, so it’s a good idea to have a little awareness about how you’re getting from point A to point B and beyond.
Avoid putting all the trust with others for knowing the directions. In any foreign country, routes can be really challenging for even the savviest navigator, and getting lost can definitely raise tensions between friends.
Do some detective work on the internet before you leave and figure out where you’re going when you get there. Google Earth and Google Maps are always super helpful as it can give you a snapshot of your planned location. You can even take a peek at the street-views if you really get curious about where you’re going.
If you’re going to be driving or taking local transportation, be sure to plan your route for arrival and be sure the Google Maps App on your device. Get an international roaming plan on your phone, as this will save you until you can get a local SIM card if you choose to do so.
Don’t be ignorant about your destination and its culture.
If you and your friends are traveling to a country you’ve never been to, you will be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t take time and learn more about it before you go. There are so many websites that can help give you an idea about language, culture, rituals, food, tipping, and so on. Also, check out the surroundings of where you’ll be staying – where is a pharmacy, doctor, grocery store, restaurants, and so forth.
Having some ideas about your destination will save you from having culture shock and feeling entirely out of your element. This will help alleviate any stressful feelings that could spill over into the communication between you and your friend(s).
Avoid not putting serious thought into the kind of friend (s) you’re going with and if they will be the right fit for you.
Planning a trip can be so exciting, especially if there is the potential to go somewhere amazing with friends! Don’t get caught up in the excitement of traveling with friends without giving it some really good thought first.
Think about things like – do you genuinely get along with this person (or people)? Are you willing to overlook questionable or annoying behavior? Are you okay with seeing these people at their worst (tired, stressed, culture-shocked)? Can you talk openly and respectfully? Are you able to take breaks from each other without anyone getting hurt? Can you discuss what you will do if there is a disagreement? Here are a few more things to think about when wondering if traveling with friends is a good idea.
So, should you travel with friends?
Absolutely! Traveling with friends – the right friends – is truly a gift filled with memories you’ll hold on to for life. If you take these tips into consideration, the likelihood of your friendship growing stronger through the experience of traveling together will be even higher!