For many people, traveling is their favorite thing to do. And what could be better than doing your favorite thing accompanied by friends?
Traveling with friends can certainly be a wonderful experience, but we can’t ignore the potential problems that you might run into…from disagreements to getting annoyed thanks to too much togetherness to different travel styles, and more.
That’s why I put together this list with 10 tips to travel with friends including a table showing the pros and cons of traveling with friends and 2 bonus options in case you don’t have a travel partner to join you.
Here they are:
- Make sure you really know the friend you’ll be traveling with
- Have a well-defined travel plan
- Be flexible with your trip planning
- Stick to the group’s travel budget
- Know when to stand your ground
- Learn to respect what others want for the trip
- Take time for yourself (and know that it’s okay to separate from the group from time to time)
- Make sure your expectations are aligned with your travel partners’
- Learn how to share responsibilities
- Be tolerant & patient with your friends
Below, I’ll talk about each of these trips in more detail and show why they deserve to be a part of this list. Let’s dive in!
Make sure you really know the friend you’ll be traveling with well
Above all else, it’s extremely important that you know the people that you will be traveling with well. Even though someone may seem easy to get along with at the start, they may have very different tastes than you do, habits that don’t work with yours, or travel preferences that conflict.
And if this happens, your trip can turn into a true nightmare.
Put another way, just because you are friends does not mean you’ll travel well together (as is true with living together!).
So, the first tip is the very first thing that you should consider when traveling with friends. Who will you be traveling with? Do you really know this person? Not only how good of friends you are, but how well your travel styles may mesh. Which means asking yourself things like: do you know their tastes and travel preferences? Do you know what to expect from them on your trip?
Without knowing these things, it can be quite risky to travel with friends.
Remember, just because you’re school/college/work friends doesn’t mean you’ll be good travel friends. A good way to test your travel compatibility is to test a short weekend or week trip first before committing to something longer.
Have a well-defined travel plan…
If you’re on your own, you may be able to get away with being more flexible with your travel plans.
But if you’re going with others, you’ll want to do a bit more planning ahead. Of course, it’s important to simply know how many people will be joining you on the trip. But you also need to know where you’re going, what you’ll do there, how much time you’ll stay, and what the budget is.
I’m certainly not saying that you have to plan every step you’ll take on your trip ahead of time. Of course, discovering new things is all part of the experience and the magic of traveling with friends. But you can’t focus purely on this.
That’s why I recommend that everyone going on the trip together have a conversation about the main things they want to visit, how you will make the most of the trip, and what everyone’s obligations will be during this time.
This will keep everyone on the same page about what the trip will be like and what you’ll be doing so everything runs smoothly.
Be flexible with your trip planning
I know I just said to plan out your trip, but you also need to be flexible.
When you travel with other people, it’s natural that people’s tastes/preferences/travel styles won’t mesh 100% of the time. And personally, I think this can be a good thing! Particularly because you won’t be right all the time. And because this can make you discover new things that get you outside your comfort zone!
So, it’s important to be flexible when it comes to planning what you and your friends will do during your trip. This means listening to what others want to do while not being overly stubborn yourself (remember that if there is something you really want to do, you can always do on your own if the group isn’t interested).
If everyone goes into the planning phase with this same idea in mind, preparing for the trip will go much smoother.
Stick to the group’s travel budget
This is a very important tip, particularly if you are traveling with people who have more or less savings than you do. Naturally, many of us probably would love to stay in fancy hotels and eat at the best restaurants.
But the truth is that when you travel with a group, things need to be viewed as a middle ground with a set budget that everyone respects.
And when I say it should it be respected, I mean that everyone needs to follow the same rules with the same conditions if they want to stick with the group (again, if someone wants to spend more, they are free to head out on their own to that fancy restaurant).
For example, if you agree to split the bill at restaurants, it’s not fair for the person who ate the most expensive meals to pay the same amount as everyone else.
And when it comes to budget, discussing accommodation is very important. This means it’s best to define how much each person can pay per night for a hotel or hostel. It’s not very cool for the guy who has the most money to always want to go to expensive restaurants and stay in fancy hotels if there are others in the group that can’t afford these types of things.
Know when to stand your ground
Remember what I said above about being flexible? Well, if the goal of the group is to look middle ground, then you also need to know when to stand your own ground.
After all, how’d you to travel with a group and only do what they want to do the whole time? Unless you are a super go-with-the-flow person, it might not be your favorite thing.
So, it’s important to know how to stand your ground and speak out if there is something you really want to do. Again, just make sure it’s a balance between what everyone is looking for!
Learn to respect what the others want on your trip
Just as you want to be heard and have your opinions considered on your trip, you also have to respect the wills of your travel mates.
I’ll say this yet again: you need to arrive at a middle ground. Without this balance, things just won’t work and a part of the group, or at least one person, won’t be satisfied.
Of course, the larger the group is, the harder this gets. That said, there’s a lot of other benefits to traveling in a group such as the opportunities for fun and deeper conversations. It’s all about knowing how to communicate and understand exactly where you want to get to. This will help a lot when it comes to settling on the places and attractions you’ll visit.
Take time for yourself (and know that it’s okay to separate from the group from time to time)
Whether you’re traveling with just one friend or with a big group, it’s always important to have some time to yourself. This time can serve as the perfect counterpoint for the experience you’re having with your friends where you can reflect on the main advantages and disadvantages of taking a trip of this kind.
Whether you take the time to read, write, browse the internet, visit a site or a museum that you’re friends weren’t interested in, watch a bit of Netflix…everyone needs a bit of time to themselves, right?
I know I do. I need my time to read the news!
Make sure your expectations are aligned with your travel partners’
It’s impossible to have a good trip if one person expects hiking, visiting waterfalls, and having adventures while the other wants to spend their days at the beach. Everyone has to have their trip expectations more or less aligned so there isn’t any frustration.
This is also part of good trip planning. When everyone is discussing, learn what they are expecting from the trip, what you’ll do, and how the group reacts to it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that everybody has to have the same tastes or travel styles, but it is important to understand that an adventure travel trip will have less luxury and comfort, while a party/going out trip won’t leave you with many nights to rest and relax.
In other words, look to travel with friends that have the same interests that you do. Or choose different friends for different kinds of trips. Personally, I have certain friends who I like to go to the mountains for ski & snowboard trips with, and others who I like to be more relaxed and explore new cities with. A system like this seems to work quite well!
Learn how to share responsibilities
When you first start planning, responsibilities should be divided so the group can act as one and there won’t be any disagreements. If this type of thing isn’t established previously, it’s common for someone to end up taking on too much.
In other words, they’ll end up losing exploration time on the trip when they get stuck taking on tasks that were the responsibility of others. And even if this person isn’t you, you shouldn’t let it happen to someone else.
Be tolerant & patient with your friends
It’s almost impossible to spend a lot of time with someone without getting annoyed sometimes…even more so when traveling! But the big secret here is to know how to be tolerant and patient to alleviate those uncomfortable/stressful situations that are sure to arise at some point.
If everyone’s aim is to have a good time with friends, being able to avoid conflicts is a powerful way to do it.
Pros and Cons to Traveling with Friends (AKA Should I travel with friends or travel alone?)
Now that you’ve read my 10 tips for traveling with friends, you can take a look at the table below to see if traveling with friends is really for you.
|You’ll always have someone to go out with you||The final decision about where you’ll go and what you’ll do isn’t completely yours|
|It’s fun!||You’ll have to compromise and won’t be able to do what you want 100% of the time|
|You can split expenses (extra useful when it comes to accommodation and rental cars!)||You may have to accept changes to the itinerary that you don’t want|
|You can share the responsibilities that you’d have alone||You probably won’t meet as many new people since you’ll be with your friends most of the time|
|Traveling with a friend can be a great bonding experience||Disagreements and fights might arise|
|You may feel safer and will have someone else to navigate the stresses of traveling (getting lost, missing a bus, etc.) with you||You might have to plan the trip for your friends if they don’t want or don’t know how|
And what do I do if I don’t have friends to travel with (or no one is available to travel with me)?
If you really want to travel but your friends and family are busy or saving money or just can’t travel with you, don’t worry! Here are two options:
a) Travel solo and meet other people during your trip!
These days, it’s very easy to meet people and make friends while traveling, particularly if you stay in a hostel. My article 11 Tips to Meet People and Make Friends While Traveling may help.
b) Travel with an organized group tour for solo travelers!
If you really don’t want to travel alone because you’re afraid of not meeting people on your trip or for any other reason, a great alternative is to do an organized group tour with other solo travelers!
I recommend taking a look at my article with the 5 Best Tour Companies for Solo Travelers to see what your options are (whether you’re looking for party, adventure, culture, or just about anything else!)
Traveling with friends is always an unforgettable experience, but not always in a good way. That said, I think it’s always worth having these moments (although it’s best if you can read some tips like these before you go).
It’s said that friends are the family you choose. If this is true, then a trip with friends will have moments of tension as well as joy. As with all human relationships.
And remember: if your trip with your friend goes well, it’s safe to say that this is the type of friendship that lasts forever…and the same goes for a romantic relationship! As Nikki and I found, at the end of the day, there is no better test for a relationship than traveling together!
So, what do you think? Would you add any tips to this list about traveling with friends? Any other thoughts you want to drop in? Let us know in the comments area below. The more experiences we can share, the better for all travelers!
Planning your next trip?
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And finally, will you need to rent a car during your trip? Then check out Rentalcar.com to search and compare car rental companies from all over the world on a single website. Then, you can find the cheapest price for the best car!