If you’re used to doing things solo when you adventure, then traveling with other people can be a daunting thought. The idea of having to compromise your own sightseeing as you explore on someone else’s time is enough to put any friendship, relationship or acquaintance to the test. It can lead to some pretty nasty fights and result in a ruined vacation that will make you want to never return to that place again. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Follow these simple tips to ensure that you and your travel buddy both get the most out of your travels.
Know your travel style.
The first things you should when planning any vacation is to figure out what kind of a traveler are you. Do you like last minute plans or would you rather plan out all the finer details months before? Are you a couch surfer or do you prefer classy hotels? Do you skip lunch or does your health require you to eat three meals a day? Narrowing down your travel style allows you to outline what you anticipate your trip to be like. This will help you decide if you and your friend have similar expectations or if you can compromise in any way.
Choose friends with similar travel styles.
Once you’ve figured out your travel style, pick your travel buddies. Find those friends who have similar expectations, budgets and bucket lists to you. It doesn’t have to be identical but the closer the better as this will make planning your trip easier.
Plan your trip together beforehand.
Make some time before your departure to plan the details of your trip together. Jot down what you want to see, which parts of the city you would like to stay in and how much you’re willing to spend on attractions, food and other activities. It doesn’t have to be a firm itinerary that you follow strictly but by doing this together you both now have some idea of what to expect and can plan accordingly.
Schedule some alone time.
Having a travel companion can be lots of fun. You have someone to share the exploring with, someone to discuss what you’re seeing and of course someone to snap pics of you! But it’s also a good idea to schedule some alone time too. This will be YOUR time to do those things that perhaps your friend was not interested in doing. Perhaps she didn’t want to try the street food or was getting a little frustrated with you taking pictures of the ancient architecture every five minutes. Alone time is perfect to do all those things that YOU want to do.
Share your opinion.
One of the best parts about having a friend on your travels is that you get to share your thoughts with someone instantly! No more immediate posting of pictures on social media and waiting for someone to comment on the beauty of what you saw. No more sending tons of expensive messages to family that are thousands of kilometers away about something new you’ve learnt! You and your friend can gasp (or growl) and share your opinions, thoughts and ideas with each other allowing you both to learn together.
Reconfirm plans for the next day.
As exhausted as you may be after a long day of exploring, don’t just say goodnight. Always take a few minutes to reconfirm your plans for the next day. Double check what time you will be meeting and where the location is. It’s the perfect time to check if any plans have suddenly changed and reschedule anything.
Don’t change plans without informing anybody.
It’s understandable that sometimes plans can change at the last minute but the last thing you want is to be standing at a ticket entrance waiting for someone for over two hours. That’s pretty frustrating. If you find your plans change suddenly, always let your friends know as soon as possible.
Always keep each other’s contact details.
Take down your friend’s mobile number and room number and ensure you’ve added each other to your social media or instant messaging platforms. Being reachable and being able to reach your travel partners are essential should any emergencies arise on your trip.
Use your best skills.
If you’re great at reading maps and working navigation systems, then do it. If you’re excellent at picking out scam artists, then be on the lookout. Nobody likes a travel buddy who sponges off the others or who doesn’t help out. Figure out one or two things that you’re good at (make sure they’re different things) and take charge of that.
Be mindful of each other’s budget.
Nothing can be more frustrating than wanting to spend a little more cash and enjoy the city you’re in but having a friend squeal about every cent they need to spend. The same is true for traveling with someone who has no concept of scam artists and insists you spend hundreds of dollars on a tea ceremony. Try your best to be mindful of each other’s budget when traveling. If something is too expensive and you don’t want to spend money on that particular activity, then politely decline for yourself but encourage your friend to go ahead so they don’t feel bad. If you want to spend a little more then don’t feel bad. Go ahead but don’t constantly bring it up.
Communication is key.
Traveling is one of the best ways to tell if you are truly compatible with a person because it teaches you things about each other that you wouldn’t normally be exposed to on a regular basis. It also shows if you’re willing to compromise and work together with that person. Communication is essential when traveling so if you feel yourself getting frustrated then just talk it out with your friend. More often than not, he or she may have their own frustrations, so talking about what’s on your mind will keep any arguments from escalating.
Have you had a bad experience while traveling with friends? How did you deal with the situation?