6 top tips for travelling with friends
An incredible £6.4 trillion is spent in the travel and tourism sector every year, and increasingly large numbers of those travellers are now going solo. For many people, travelling solo is a rite of passage, a way to learn self-reliance – a memory of resourcefulness to look back on with pride. Meanwhile, others are unsure about travelling alone (especially when they don’t have much experience) and that’s understandable. So planning a big trip with a friend or group of friends is equally common, and can lead to shared journeys and destinations every bit as rich as those when it’s just you and the trail. But spending so much time together – in sometimes difficult circumstances – brings challenges of its own, so read on for some common-sense tips to travel together in (mostly) perfect harmony.
A good group
The first decision is an obvious one – who to travel with? And the first thing to recognise is that there are some people you might love dearly but who you couldn’t possibly be around all the time. Because out on the road, you might not get breaks from each other (or at least as many as you need).
At the same time, the very best travelling groups will include people with different tastes and motivations – because that’s what will get you out of your comfort zone and push you in directions you wouldn’t have considered if they weren’t there.
That said, to make sure these range of goals don’t cause conflict, it’s incredibly important to make a plan before setting off. Research has shown that millennials, in particular, are travelling more spontaneously – but building a (rough) itinerary together will ensure none of you are stuck on a path you wouldn’t have chosen.
Now, sometimes, this planning might reveal such big differences in aims for the trip that you call off travelling together – but it’s much better to do this at home, rather than on the road.
Factor in time apart
Being realistic, it’s very rare to find someone you want to be around all day, every day, for weeks on end. And so, be ready to respect each other’s preferences – there’s no rule saying you can’t head off to different destinations (or different corners of the same destination) for a few hours (or more) along the way.
Talk over big changes
No matter how careful you are, sometimes plans have to change – may be due to the weather, or because a destination is not what you expected. Whatever the reason, the key to change without conflict is always communication.
Because you’re friends, you should be able to openly express what you want to do instead and why – and then listen to their opinion. Often, one can convince the other. Or, the two of you can work out some compromise. Failing that, there’s also the option of splitting up temporarily.
Another potential source of arguments is who does what, and this one can grow more serious the longer it’s allowed to fester. Luckily, the solution is simple – sharing boring tasks travel sometimes demands between you is an important way to stay in harmony. As is making sure everyone pays a fair amount of shared costs.
Leave arguments where they happened
It’s hugely unlikely you can manage a journey of a decent length without a blow-up or two along the way. But it’s not the end of the world.
Spend some time apart to cool down, then remember – your friendship is more important than the details of this holiday. So find a compromise, have a hug and move on (literally). You’ll be able to laugh about the silly argument you had in the middle of nowhere when you’re back home.
Watch out for the bubble
One of the lesser perils of travelling in a pack is that it can isolate you from other travellers or locals. Indeed, this may be your preference, but most journeys are as memorable for who we met along the way as where we ended up. And so, it’s gently suggested that – despite having company – you still make an effort to speak to strangers. It’s always best to return home with more friends than you started off with.