7 Ways to Stay Friends While Traveling Together
Vacationing with a friend (or 2) can either be great fun or the end of a beautiful friendship. The best way to be sure it’s the former is to have a heart-to-heart chat beforehand and be honest about your preferences and expectations. Then you can negotiate if necessary and avoid conflict when it’s too late to do anything about it.
1. Pick a destination you’ll both enjoy. If you love the beach and your friend is a culture vulture who hates the sun, you can still find a place with something to satisfy both of you—so long as you plan in advance and agree that you’ll each be free to go off on your own for at least part of each day. This can actually be a great thing, because, when you get together at the end of the day, you’ll be able to share your separate adventures over cocktails and dinner. But if you love solo exploration and your friend simply can’t be alone, it isn’t going to work. So do get it all out in the open in advance.
2. Agree on your travel style and budget. If your friend loves nothing but the best and you’re pinching pennies, there could be trouble in paradise. Decide in advance on an accommodation that will be comfortable enough for your travel companion and not too pricey for you, and agree to one or two “splurge” meals or events. If you can’t do that, you probably shouldn’t be traveling together at all.
3. Be honest about your travel lifestyle. Does one of you want to get up and go at the crack of dawn while the other enjoys sleeping late and having a leisurely room service breakfast? Do you love to dance the night away while your friend is always in bed by ten? Again, you can agree to disagree if—and only if—you’re respectful of each other and don’t mind venturing off on your own. 4. Be a bit open and flexible. Part of the reason we travel is to experience new and different things. So keep an open mind. If you’ve never been to the opera and your traveling companion is an opera buff, now’s your chance to indulge his or her passion and discover something new. And, of course, your friend should be willing to do the same for you. Who knows, you each might be pleasantly surprised, and at the very least you’ll have had a new experience.
5. Determine your individual energy levels. If one of you needs to be on the go morning to night and the other enjoys a more leisurely pace, you’ll need to make accommodations. One of you can take a break (or a nap) while the other goes off to do something the less energetic one didn’t want to do in the first place. That way you’ll both have some “alone time,” and get to do what you want. And you’ll avoid the unnecessary crankiness that comes with one of you is being dragged to see “just one more” sight when she’s really too hungry and tired to go another step.
6. Decide who’ll be the planner. Some people love to be in charge while others are perfectly happy to just go along for the ride. Or perhaps you both want to be involved in the scheduling. If neither one of you likes to make plans, you’ll have to divvy up the tasks or risk missing out on things you’d like to do. Who will find out when the tour bus leaves or make the dinner reservations? Which one of you will be in charge of buying theater tickets or scheduling a day trip to a nearby attraction? Someone’s got to do those things and it usually winds up being the one who cares most about getting it done.
7. Be considerate. I know, all of the above is really about being considerate. Especially if you are sharing a hotel room, there are a million little ways to get on each other’s nerves. So, be neat, even if you’re not neat at home. Don’t hog the bathroom, or the space on the bathroom counter. Don’t use your friend’s things without asking. If you get up at the crack of dawn for your morning run, or come in late at night when your friend is sleeping, try to be quiet about it. If one of you has been particularly accommodating about something, a simple “thank you” will go a long way. Consideration is always appreciated, but particularly when you’re thrust together in a situation that’s different from the norm. Now, find a friend (that you will travel well with) and go have some fun!