Golden Rules for Travelling With Friends

Golden Rules for Travelling With Friends

Taking trips with friends is awesome. I’ve done loads of travel with friends of mine, from weekend city breaks to week-long ski holidays in the middle of nowhere and even two months of backpacking in Australia. As rewarding and fun as it can be though, there are certain things you should consider before embarking on an adventure with your BFF, or you may run into some unforeseen issues.

Of course, this goes for travelling with anyone, whether it be family or your partner, and some of these tips may apply in those situations too, but your family will always be your family, and love covers a multitude of sins. A friendship, on the other hand, can be made or broken by travel. If you want your trip to go well, follow these golden rules for travelling with friends and you’ll be sure to come home with only the best kind of memories.

Don’t travel with just anyone

Make sure you and your travel buddy or group are a good match for you and each other. Sure, you’re not looking for them to be your life partner, but you’re also not just going to the pub for a beer together. You’ll be spending a lot of time in each others’ company and trying to make decisions as a team.

So if you’re into completely different things or have opposing ideas of what a holiday looks like, perhaps you should just stick to sharing beers at the pub and find someone who you can travel well with. You don’t want your friendship to be ruined because you fancied lying on the beach, but your bestie spent the whole time berating you for not ‘immersing yourself in the culture’.

Get the budget conversation over and done with

Golden Rules for Travelling With Friends

image source: wikimedia

Once you know who you will be travelling with, sit down and chat about budgets before you get started with booking flights/accommodation/activities. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re holding someone else back because you can’t afford to do what they want to do, and it’s equally no fun to forego your dream experience because you don’t want your friend to have to sit outside alone and wait for you.

Work out a rough budget and agree on a ball-park figure. Sure, one of you may have more money to splash out on extras, but if you know what the maximum spend is from the start, you’ll all be on the same page and there won’t be any of those awkward ‘well why don’t you want to treat yourself to this £400/night hotel just this once?’ conversations mid-way through the trip.

It can also be helpful to work out how you’re going to handle shared expenses e.g. groceries or toiletries. I have found in the past that a kitty system works well (each person puts a designated amount into the kitty and that money is used to pay for shared expenses; when it runs out, everyone chips in again) but whatever works for you, decide what you’ll do and stick with it.

Be prepared to compromise

No matter who you travel with, there will always be times when you disagree on where you should go, which hotel looks better, where you should eat, what you should see and do, and the best way to get there. It’s inevitable that you’ll disagree at one time or another, but you are going to have to compromise if you want it to be an enjoyable trip.

That doesn’t mean that you should miss out on seeing the one thing you planned your whole trip around, but it does mean that you might have to take what you think is the long route, or eat at the restaurant that had worse reviews than your ‘hidden gem’. If it’s not going to ruin your entire trip, just let it go. You never know, your friend’s dodgy-looking restaurant might just serve the most amazing food.

Understand that everyone has bad days

When you’re travelling with family or your partner, you’ve usually seen the best and the worst of them. You know what sets off their cranky moods, when they’re just over-tired or when they simply need some time to themselves.

You may not know this about your friends, so be patient and recognise that not all days are going to be good days. Everyone gets grumpy sometimes, but there’s no point taking it personally. Of course, you won’t always be on your A-game either, so know that it goes both ways and that it’s not a big deal.

Give each other space

It’s difficult being around someone else 24/7, especially under the intense circumstances travel often brings. It’s OK to spend some time alone, doing the things that you want to do or just doing nothing at all. At the end of the day (or even after just a few hours) you’ll feel much more refreshed and happy to spend time together again. Don’t be scared to tell your friend that you need some time to yourself…it can make the world of difference!

When I’ve travelled with friends in the past and have considered all of the above tips, the trip has gone smoothly and the stories we still share together are priceless. Sure, we argued over how the other person did the dishes, or watched in horror as the majority of the group chose the Irish pub on the Greek island, but at the end of the day, we all had a memorable and enjoyable holiday and we’re still friends, which is what really matters in the end.

What tips do you have for travelling with friends? Share them in the comments below.

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11 Comments

  • Smile_UK says:

    Hi Elle, these are such great tips! I wish I’d read this last year when I went on 2 holidays with 2 different friends – half the problems occurred on one, the other half in the other! It’s a shame, but I felt it left a bad taste, and now I’m not as close to one of them after I discovered a whole different side to them. I think when you’re really young and don’t care about the small details as much, these things are often overlooked. But when you work hard to save money for a trip you’ve been looking forward to for so long, these become bigger issues than they should be. I’m going to Budapest with my best friend next month and we’re great travel buddies – your tips made me appreciate her even more! Also loved your Budapest tips. Thank you! x

    • Elle Croft says:

      Hi, thanks so much for your comment. It’s a shame that your travel partners didn’t work out for you, but at least you learned from it. Never take for granted a friend you travel well with; it’s SO important!
      Have an amazing time in Budapest, I’m sure you’ll love it! x

  • Faye says:

    Great tips Elle! What we decided on our girls holiday was if two of the girls started arguing, within the first few seconds one of them would bring up an old funny memory. It worked because it defused the situation and also its best not to let things linger :) x

  • Mgates says:

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  • Lola says:

    Such good tips!! I am going Japan this summer so this’ll come in handy! XX

  • Eyeliah says:

    great tips, thanks! I have a trip coming up with a pile of friends so this helps :)

  • Amanda Yaceyko says:

    Ah, the classic Irish pub in ___________ (insert country here). Great tips. Not much to add, but one thing I’d say would also be to just enjoy the travel experience and not plan too much. I’ve traveled with over planners, and it causes more stress than not. Even if its your first time traveling with someone, leave a bit up to chance!

  • Great tips. I would also add that it’s a good idea to share a bit of space in each others’ suitcase: each person packs an outfit & toothbrush in someone else’s suitcase. That way if anyone’s luggage gets lost, there’s a bit of a backup system in place.

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