Traveling with your best friend can be the most fun or the most frustrating thing you’ll ever do. Usually, it’s both! It’s kind of like what they say about living with a friend: It’ll make or break your relationship.
I’ve been lucky enough to be blessed with a BFF who is a perfect travel companion- shout out to Hatty! We have been on more than 10 trips together, from quick weekend getaways to month long stays in Asia.
And while there have been unforgettable moments and too many hilarious memories to count, we’ve definitely gotten into a spat or two. Here are 6 incredibly useful tips for traveling with friends that will turn your BFF into your travel soulmate.
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1. Start small
Before you book a 3 month Asia trip, first find out how 3 days in Miami work out. Some friends are great to party with, but wouldn’t necessarily be your top pick for a 12-hour train ride. A short getaway gives you the opportunity to observe your friend’s everyday habits and see how they match yours.
Is your friend an early-riser or night owl? Is she a slow walker? Is she cranky in the morning or rude at the airport? And most importantly for me- does she have the same taste in food and likes to share meals?
Traveling, even only for a few days, can bring out a side in people you wouldn’t see in everyday life. So make sure you love her on her good and bad days.
2. Look for certain characteristics
What qualities do you look for in a potential travel buddy? The answer to that varies from person to person. However, helpful characteristics are:
- doesn’t mind ‘hustling’
- tries to find humor in a bad situation instead of complaining
- is willing to read a map/ able to figure out a bus timetable
- always ready for an adventure.
The best travel buddy will probably share certain values with you but have different natural abilities. Maybe one of you is great at coordinating transportation and finding the best restaurants. And the other has a knack for making new friends and sticking to a timetable.
These different skill sets will set you up for a successful trip if you learn to recognize and appreciate them.
3. Discuss expectations BEFORE your trip
Besides the travel destination, you would like to visit, there are many other points you should discuss before you set off. Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to budget, activities & travel styles.
If you’ve been saving up for your dream trip for a while, you don’t want to feel limited by a friend who decided to tag along last minute. Because trust me, it’ s never fun to be broke. So talk about what you can and cannot afford beforehand.
That way she is prepared for that $500 scuba course you want to do and can pack a few good books for her solo beach hangouts.
This also applies to what kind of things you enjoy doing on a trip. While you might consider shopping on vacation a waste of time, your travel buddy might see it as a must. Create an itinerary that includes different activities and allows each one of you to venture off on their own. Remember compromise is key!
In addition, you’ll also want to decide if you want to stay in a luxury or budget hotel, a shared hostel or private Airbnb, a female only or mixed dorm. There are so many options to choose from. And be sure to discuss no go’s ahead of time to avoid frustration.
How will you get around? Is your friend bougie or does she appreciate saving money by taking a local bus instead of a flight? These are the kind of things you should find out before you commit to a trip. Once these are out of the way, the fun part of planning can begin.
4. Use a shared wallet
This is my favorite one of the 6 incredibly useful tips for traveling with friends, which will make your travels so much easier!
Each one of you puts a specified amount of cash into an envelope, which is used for shared expenses and topped up as needed. That way you don’t need to keep track manually and can pay for your shared costs without doing a bunch of math every time.
Trust me this will save you a lot of headaches when you are dealing with a lot of different expenses. And there won’t be a silly argument about who paid for the accommodation last time because you just pay for it out of the mutual fund!
5. Give each other space
It doesn’t matter how well you get along with your BFF, after spending multiple days together nonstop, you will appreciate some alone time.
You may not even realize it at first, but trust me it is important for the both of you.
Decide on little breaks and go do something that relaxes you. Read a book, go for a run or just hang out in the room and listen to music. After a few hours apart, you’ll enjoy each other’s company even more.
So take my advice in point 2 and choose a friend that is independent and knows how to entertain herself!
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Unless you’re the most chill person on the planet, you’re probably going to be annoyed by your BFF’s behaviors from time to time. It’s okay I don’t judge you.
However, try to be mindful of your differences and avoid impatience. An eye roll or sigh might feel unavoidable at the moment, but will only build tension and give your friend a reason to be equally annoyed.
If there’s something that really bothers you, try to communicate it at a time when there’s no tension. Just like in any relationship, honest & open communication goes a long way. If you approach it with kindness & you are both emotionally mature, it will lead to a stronger friendship, not a fight.
Rebekah graduated with a Magazine’s degree in 2011 and promptly hit the road, traveling through Europe, Central America & South East Asia. After spending a year living & working in Australia, she moved back to Atlanta, Georgia with the mission of seeing more of her native land- the good ole U S of A.
Do you know any other incredibly useful tips for traveling with friends? Please share them with us BELOW!