[The overlook from the hike up to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh]
I feel like I’m qualified to talk about this topic because I’m just going to go ahead and say I am. Which is pretty much the reason I’m qualified to do anything! No certifications or degrees needed here. Lol but really, I’ve traveled with 3 good friends in college, random people that I’ve met while traveling solo, a man friend, an old friend from high school, my mom, etc.
But okay, so – here are the things that I feel like makes traveling with another person and not strangling each other so much easier!
CONSIDER YOUR TRAVEL GOALS & STYLES
[If all your friends want to do is graze around a patch of grass all day but you want to go see the sights, that might be a problem]
It definitely helps to ensure that you and your friend have similar travel goals – ie things you want to do. And not only that, but that you both have similar travel styles.
Some people are go-go-go, must see everything type of people; some like to have some relaxation; some like a little mix; some like to go out at night and sleep in; some like to get up at the buttcrack of dawn and explore explore explore. It’s also a good idea to talk about times – for instance, my friends and I usually set a time each morning that we want to get out of the hotel/hostel etc. so we’re not yelling at the other person to hurry up, or still asleep while the other person is ready to go.
[Caution: super cheesy tourist pic!! But really, do your friends want to do all the touristy things while you’re more interested in getting off the beaten track? Do you want to hike while they’d rather shop? These are all important discussions to have! Side note: don’t go to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s a hassle to get to and soooo touristy it’s ridiculous haha]
I think it’s definitely good to have a conversation before you travel with someone for the first time, and really make sure you’re both on the same page. And if you want to do different things, that’s fine – but just make sure you discuss that beforehand so you’re not left without a travel partner 90% of the time when you originally thought you’d be with someone for that same percentage!
DO YOU WANT TO BE HERMIT-FLIES OR SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES?
[How much do you want to go out and be social, and how much do you want to stay in and live the homebody life?]
Another thing I think is important to bring up (especially for me, as an introvert!) is how often you want to socialize with other people and go out etc. Some people are more into it than others, so it might be nice to know what to expect beforehand!
PICK YOUR ONE ‘THING’
[My ‘thing’ always seemed to involve flowers…Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in London]
When I traveled with my friends in college, something we did that I still use today is that we’d each pick one thing in each place we stayed that we’d make sure we did no matter what. And, whoever went with that person was not allowed to be in a shitty mood or rush that person during that time!
GOOGLE DOCS/SHEETS ARE LIFE
[My itinerary from Oregon that I created on Google Docs! I don’t always plan this intensely, but we had a specified amount of time and wanted to see so many things!! And, since we were staying with friends occasionally, had to plan ahead so they’d know when to expect us; But notice my obsession with fonts and specific colors HA]
Other helpful tools to schedule things are google docs and google sheets – that way you can both see the itinerary as the other person is editing right then and there! Personally, I don’t like to plan down to the second, but I think it’s good to have a rough idea of what you’d like to do each day or just in general. I’m a huge planning nerd so I often end up being the annoying one asking all the questions and bugging the other person, but I just really like to know what the heck I’m going to be doing to ensure that I hit everything I want to see. This is also important, too – is the person you’re going with a planner, or a go-with-the-flow? I’ve traveled with mostly go-with-the-flow type people and that seems to work out pretty well, because I just tell them what we’re doing lol and that way I get to pick out our activities. Although sometimes it’s really nice to go with a planner because I can just sit back and relax…
DIVIDE UP THE WORK
It also might be a good idea to divide up the ‘jobs’ so that one person doesn’t end up doing the bulk of the work. For instance, one person will search for the places to stay, or look up places to eat, or how to get from A to B and what public transportation is like, etc. Also another thing you may want to communicate beforehand!
TALK ABOUT THEM BENJAMINS
[Look at how ballin’ I was!!!! Lol jk I don’t even remember what’s what anymore]
It’s also a good idea to discuss how much you wanna pay, and what your thoughts for the cost of the trip will be. If you’re broke AF and your travel buddy is ballin’ outta control, that might lead to some awkwardness – like if your friend wants to eat out all the time or stay in expensive places, while you’d rather live on homecooked pasta in your hostel. I travel pretty often with one friend who likes to be cheap like me (lol), but my friend that I most recently went to Scandanavia with likes to spend a little more than I usually do. However, we worked out a plan since we talked about our ideal spending habits beforehand, and thus avoided a ton of conflict once we were actually on the trip.
BRING EARPLUGS AND AN EYEMASK
What if your friend is the loudest snorer to ever sleep on any planet ever? What if they are secretly scared of the dark or like to fall asleep with the TV on? Just saying.
DISCUSS FOOD THINGS
[Markets are great because they almost always have options for everyone! This is La Boqueria Market in Barcelona, so worth going to, it’s huge and everything tastes amazing.]
I’m a vegetarian, and it hasn’t been an issue so far, but sometimes my meat-eating friends will forget and suggest a restaurant that has meat, meat, meat and a side of meat. With one small side of potatoes. And I am all for being flexible, but tbh I don’t really want a side of potatoes as my meal. Might be good to discuss this up front, as well as how much eating out you’d like to do vs cooking/picnicking. I’ve also discovered that carrying snacks is very helpful after getting extremely hangry and snapping at my friend.
YOU WILL PROBABLY (DEFINITELY) FIGHT, SO JUST EXPECT THAT
[I’ve had little disagreements to full on arguments (although that rarely happens) with almost everyone I’ve traveled with, ha; even though we definitely had disagreements on this trip (many from the result of being hangry haha) we managed to make up and take cheesy pictures like this]
And if you do get in arguments (which will happen, travel can be a catalyst for conflict), it might be a good idea to do your own thing for a hot sec while you cool off, then regroup and talk it over.
Anyways, I enjoy both traveling with other people and solo (here’s some tips on making friends if you’re solo!) – but if you’re going with another person (especially if it’s a friend or family member that you can’t just ditch if you’re not getting along lol) it’s often helpful to have an idea of what to expect. Especially if you’ve never traveled together before! This way, your trip (hopefully) won’t end up in arguments and bad memories…Good luck and have fun!
[We didn’t split up because we were fighting (although we did fight on this trip lol), but we just wanted to do different things! My other two friends went to the Van Gogh museum, and my other friend and I went to the Tulip Museum – it was also kind of a nice change of pace and was nice to have different things to talk about when we all reunited]