How is traveling with Friends
“There ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them”
– Mark Twain
Is it possible to travel with friends and not turn into a complete nut job mid journey? It all depends on how well you and your travel buddies communicate with each other. Spending 24/7 together and making decisions, in sometimes stressful situations, can be challenging.
No matter how well you think you know your best friend of 20 years, traveling together will teach you something new about them.
Maybe they can’t relax for more than 2 minutes at a time without wanting to go explore or do something. Maybe they hate the beach, but love ruins and all you want to do is go surfing. What might normally be small annoyances in usual situations, could lead to a big falling out during a long journey. But why should it be that way? It doesn’t have to be. Proper communication, honesty and planning, can make your travel adventure a successful one.
When planning to leave Australia I had no idea of the people I would meet along the way. A good mate heard I was making a solo journey; he had a similar plan in mind with a friend too. We decided to all board the same flight and spend the first few weeks of the trip together. I knew that’d be a great way to kick off a new chapter with some good friends to share in the moments of a new country.
These times were complete madness – in a good way for us. It was incredible being with good positive people to get the first leg of the trip underway. But with our individual solo adventures already planned we parted ways, meeting back up again in Colombia some 3 months later to exchange stories and plenty of laughs.
But traveling with friends can sometimes be rough. Luckily I’ve personally only ever had good experiences. Unfortunately, for other travellers I met it wasn’t the case.
So, whats it like?
I travel with people I get along with. Long bus rides, late nights, waiting around, airports, more waiting around… this can quickly lead to stress for most people. I’ve been told I’m a super laid back kind of guy, but, even I know that arguments can happen over the smallest things during travel. I chose to travel with like minded easy going people to fit my personality. I wanted to have the best time ever without distractions and bad energy from people who stress out easily.
Here are my tips on how I travel with friends:
◦Choose a travel buddy; I’m all for spontaneous decisions for travel, but a good travel companion needs a bit of thought, choose friends whose company you enjoy in all situations.
◦Be real with each other; talk about expectations and outcomes for the trip. Is it a spiritual journey to find yourself or to chase the best waves on the coast, chasing girls/guys, partying every night, exploring nature and the outdoors??? Consider your wants and needs of the journey and communicate these to your buddy.
◦Talk about money; save on an argument over a $2 bus fare in comparison to walking and discuss just how much you are both willing to spend on the trip upfront. Same goes for the food junkies who love eating out at all the restaurants but their travel buddy might prefer eating only peanut butter sandwiches to save money for other things. Establish each others budget first.
◦Find time to yourself; it is not a bad thing to want to be alone too. If you have different agendas when traveling that’s fine. Every minute of the day doesn’t need to be spent together, even if it requires 2-3 days apart to soothe frustrations. This will give you plenty of new material discuss when you meet up again later.
◦Be flexible; as with any relationship, there comes a point when compromises need to be made. Stand ground when you need to, but going with the flow will make everything way easier. Don’t be TOO laid back, It can be frustrating for people when others don’t make a decision
◦Consider others; pay attention to each others mood and fatigue. Don’t be messy. Don’t hog the bathroom. Don’t leave the dorm room light on all night long.
◦Don’t make ANY decisions when hungry or stressed; actually this is something I’ve learned traveling as a couple (text coming soon). Everyone, myself included, gets way too easily annoyed when they’re hungry/hangry. So just avoid this wherever possible.
◦Communicate; as in all things, it is key. Don’t let something build up. A slightly awkward discussion is always better than a fiery argument. Communication is everything. Do what you can to stay on the same page while you’re traveling together.
Finally, being keen to all of this made me learn how to become a stronger traveler and better companion on the road. The things that made my group travel work were having similar interests and being equally budget-conscious. By collaborating with travel savvy friends I was shown new places to go, easier and cheaper ways of traveling and meet people I wouldn’t have met on my own. Traveling with friends opened my eyes. It further broadened my knowledge and thirst for wanting to explore further. Who will your travel buddy be?
Photo by LovaLinda