Heyyyyyyyyyyy you guys!!!!
Anyone who knows me well will know I love to travel; my passport is most definitely my most prized possession. It has taken me lots of places and is taking me even more this year. From Barcelona to Boston, Cork to California, New York to Naples, Paris to Postonja… I’ve done my fair share of travelling.
The majority of my trips I have gone on are with friends and I can tell you now there is nothing better than exploring a new place with your pals to cement a relationship. The good memories (like taking photos with Peter Pan at Disney) to the not so good (getting lost in Postojna) become fun memories and great stories that will make you laugh for years. Travelling with friends means you get to know them better than you ever have done, spending time with people 24/7 is a sure-fire way to ensure that. However, if you are not careful it can also be a sure-fire way to arguments and silly disagreements. In worse case scenarios there can be friendships lost forever. We all know those friends who went away together and came back barely speaking, right?
Over my travels I have learnt quite a lot, not just about the cities and cultures of the places I’ve visited, but also about how to travel with companions. I realised in Paris how much I had actually learnt about travelling with friends over the years. How to avoid arguments and how to ensure that you all, no matter how big or small the group, get the most out of your trip!
Here are my Top 5 tips for an argument free va-cay…
- Make sure you both/all understand what it is you want from the trip
Do you wanting to spend all your time on the beach with a cocktail in hand? Is your companion a person who is all go-go-go, sightsee-sightsee-sightsee?
I am someone who loves to walk around wherever it is I am and see loads of things but even I can only take so many museums. However, the idea of spending more than 1 or 2 days being a beach bum is the least appealing thing to me, ever. I could never enjoy spending a whole week lying on a beach, I’d be too bored so having a chat about what you all want is a sensible thing to do… and this brings me to my next point quite nicely.
Compromise is key in all relationships, possibly more so when you are travelling. You’re in a foreign place where you either don’t understand/ have a basic understanding of the language. This confusion and unfamiliarity is a breeding ground for anxiety and short tempers (trust me, I’ve been there). Even if you do consider yourself fluent in the language of the place you’re visiting chances are you still don’t know the local customs and slang.
Compromising will help you get the best out of the experience. You really want to go and see that statue? Basilica? P.O.I? Your friend wants to go shopping? Well why don’t you do one today and the next tomorrow? It seems like a pretty basic tip but you’d be surprised how quickly it can go out the window when you have your heart set on something or somewhere.
Money. This can sometimes be a sticky subject, even between the best of friends. However, in order to know what you can all do and get without making someone have to re-mortgage their home or sell their car, you must have this discussion. Both before you book and before you plan excursions.
One thing I am extremely lucky to have is friends that are honest about this and what they are will to scrimp on and what they are not. A lot of my friends share the same thought as me, so long as where I sleep is safe, has a bed and a shower it can be a $35 a night hostel. I am not a princess and, being on holiday, I don’t plan on spending much time in the room anyway. I’d rather spend less on accommodation and have more money to upgrade a long haul flight, or go and eat at that Michelin starred restaurant (foodie4lyf) than have a fancy hotel room.
Decide before you go how meals are going to work. Are you going to pay for what you ate or split it down the middle? Where do alcoholic drinks come in to that equation? If you have 5 beers that cost $5 a pop but your friend that is paying is drinking tap water all night is it really fair that your friend is footing that bill?
Talking about it and understanding what the other person can afford stops any embarrassment or anyone feeling left out-of-pocket.
- Divide and Conquer/ Make sure you get some alone time.
Don’t be afraid to split up! If there is something you want to do but your bud doesn’t and visa versa why not go off and do your own thing for a bit? You will, more than likely, have your phones with you. Agree to stay in touch and meet at a certain time and place and you’re good to go. Not only does it mean that no one begins to resent the other, it gives you much-needed alone time to soothe any frustrations. You’ll also enjoy sharing those escapades over a cocktail or two at dinner that night!
Be sure you don’t hold those differing interests against each other too. If you would rather stay up till the wee hours talking with a bunch of randoms she just met, or with the receptionist in your hostel then that’s fine! Go for it. Just don’t get shitty with the rest of the group that would rather get a relatively early night before a long day of travelling.
Spending time along on a trip is healthy for you; some people (me) need it more than others. Don’t think this is weird, don’t take it personally if it is your companion that wants or needs more alone time than you. Very often they just need some time to process everything – holidays are very often sensory overload and we all need a moment of calm.
- Be considerate of other people’s feelings.
Be conscious of your travel buds mood and fatigue. Are they ratty when they are hungry? (Sophie) Or when they get to an airport? (Sophie). When they are tired? (Me). Don’t take this too personally. We all get crabby from time to time, just ignore them, I do. They come around eventually. Don’t hog the bathroom, respect that they need 10 minutes to be silent in the morning (me) before you; the incredibly energetic morning person (Leanne/ Jade’s mom) jumps on them.
More than anything though… Have fun! Take too many photos, make a fool of yourself, leave part of your heart in another city (Valencia), live like the locals… make the most of your trip – after all, it may be the only time you visit that place!
Wishing you stress-free, happy travels,