This blog post was updated on July 28, 2021.
If you want to get to know someone, travel with them. And if you already know that someone, whether it be your best friend from college or a new friendship at work, you might think traveling with them is a great idea. You’ll all get along and want to do and see the same things. However, travel can bring out the best and worst in people, making or breaking friendships in the process. If you’re toying with the idea of a group trip, make sure to follow these helpful tips for traveling with friends to avoid issues on the road.
Organize a Trip-Planning Meeting
If you’ve decided to go on a friend trip, first and foremost you have to organize a meeting to go over all ideas and expectations. Things can head south before your friend trip gets off the ground if you don’t all get on the same page. You’ll want to avoid having one person take over in terms of planning where you’ll go, how you’ll get there, and where you’ll stay. If one friend makes all the decisions, this can lead to resentment and disappointment. At your trip-planning meeting, everyone needs to lay out their ideas and expectations for the journey. If one friend just wants to sit on the beach for 5 days and another wants to party the whole time, you’ll find this out on the road and conflict will ensue. While discussing the planning of your trip, you will also want to delegate. It’s important to recognize strengths and weaknesses and decide who should tackle what with planning.
Talk About the Budget
When money and friends mix, disaster usually follows. In terms of traveling with your friends, if you don’t have a budget plan in place before you go, you might face ruined friendships. It’s essential to never resolve to settle up later in terms of who will pay for what and how much. In the planning stages, be sure that everyone is open, honest, and comfortable with the total cost. For example, if one friend wants to stay at all 5-star hotels and another can only afford hostels, you’ll need to resolve this before hitting the road. All too often, one friend gets slammed with the airline tickets or hotel bill. If someone forgets to pay them back, this can only lead to awkward encounters and at times, broken friendships. Before you go, have a plan in place with money. Figure out how you will split meals, flights, hotels, gas, and rental cars. If everyone agrees to a budget beforehand, you’ll meet fewer surprises from a monetary standpoint.
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Keep It Fair on Travel Days
Once you have laid out your budget and figured out where you’re going, the next step is to take the trip. Friends shouldn’t neglect the actual travel component to their trip – the flights, car travel, or train rides. If you’re going somewhere long haul with a group of friends, be sure someone isn’t stuck in the middle seat the entire time or another friend is the only one driving for hours on end. Switch off and switch seats. You don’t want one friend cranky upon arrival because they had to drive for 12 hours!
Don’t Be Too Easy Going or Too Uptight with Sightseeing and Activities
If you’re going to explore a destination with your gang, there’s always a friend who has no opinion on what to do, a friend who has too much of an opinion, and usually a few caught in the crossfire. While you can’t always control how your friends might behave while traveling, you can control yourself. Avoid being that person who has no opinion on what to do. Someone will feel as though they have to make all the decisions for you and worry will set in if you are actually happy with the plan. At the same time, don’t be too rigid and uptight. Traveling with friends can be liberating. It can force you outside your comfort zone and make you compromise when needed. Find that careful balance of not being too laid-back or too opinionated.
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Set Aside Some ‘Me’ Time
Whenever you travel with friends, it can be exhausting being around people from the minute you wake up until the minute you go to bed. When you get to your destination, be sure that everyone is going to have their ‘me’ time. Meltdowns will occur if each friend doesn’t get some alone time to go do something they really want. If you’re scheduling your days chalk full of group activities and leaving no alone time, eventually, someone will snap. Breaks from the group can be restorative and a healthy component to traveling with friends.
Are you a seasoned expert on friend trips? What other tips would you add to the list for a successful getaway? Share your ideas with us in the comments below.