Going away with friends can be one of the best ways to share experiences and enjoy uninterrupted time together. Unfortunately, anyone who’s traveled with friends in the past could also tell you that this style of shared travel is very much a make-or-break situation for the majority of friendships.
Unfortunately, the pressures and stresses of going away together can highlight the holes in a friendship like nothing else. If you aren’t careful, even a short trip away could end up costing you that relationship altogether.
This is hardly the harmonious vibe you would like during your much-needed break. Luckily, there is a way to travel with friends and avoid all of that drama, and you simply need these five tips to make it possible.
1) Choose the Right Friends
Ultimately, a successful trip away starts with choosing the right friends for travel. It may seem harsh, but this requires a pragmatic approach to your personalities, vacation preferences, and general feelings.
The simple fact is that a great friend isn’t necessarily a great person to travel with, and that’s likely no fault of their own. Still, two anxious people abroad together are unlikely to do well, while two life-of-the-party confident individuals may very quickly get on one another’s nerves. Your differences may also drive you apart if, say, you love a planned and busy trip while your friend prefers a poolside getaway. By discussing all of these things in advance, you can make sure that you’re going away with someone who shares your vacation attitude but isn’t likely to worsen your neurosis.
2) Talk Money Matters
In general conversation, it wouldn’t be polite to talk to our friends about their earnings, but going away together is a different matter. While you still shouldn’t come right out and ask what your friend is willing to spend, you do need to get a feel for things like the kind of hotel they’re willing to pay for, and also the general spending money they’re taking for things like activities, meals out, etc.
If you fail to take this step, then you risk booking things or accommodations that your friends may struggle to cover, or vice versa. If you can head out for a nice meal every night while they’re stuck with the self-catering buffet, you may also find that discrepancies and resentments start to bubble. So, be clear about finances well in advance, and keep that in mind throughout the planning stages.
3) Choose a Leader, but Let Everyone Have Their Say
Every group needs a leader, and having someone to implement things like daily plans, timelines, etc. is going to help keep your vacation structured. But, it’s vital that your trip doesn’t turn into a dictatorship because of this.
Ultimately, your trip ‘leader’ should be there to execute things that have already been decided by the group. Everyone should also feel able to have their say about activities that interest them, any towns they want to visit, and even just the general pacing of the trip. Coming together like this, ideally well before you start booking things or set off, means that you’ll all feel more satisfied.
The appointed ‘leader’ of the trip should then make sure to keep this communication open throughout any time away. Regular meetings, perhaps every morning at breakfast, mean that there’s way less risk of anger festering and turning sour as your trip goes on
4) Make the Most of Group Activities
One of the best things about going away together is the fact that you can access group activities that wouldn’t be available to you otherwise, typically at a reduced rate depending on the number of people. This is an advantage you should make full use of because, when you have set plans to be somewhere, you remove a lot of the uncertainty of group travel.
If you’re all on board to do activities like these (depending on your budgets, etc.), then make extra sure that those plans go down well by fitting them with the general tastes of your group. If you’re all on the adventurous side, then something like bungee jumping or rock climbing is certain to go down well. Or, if you prefer sea-based activities, you may enjoy something like windsurfing, kayaking, or even deep sea fishing charters. And, of course, for a chilled bunch of vacationers, few things are more appealing than spa days and luxurious beach excursions. Simply make these plans as a group, ensure that everyone is happy with what’s laid out, and enjoy a ready-made vacation schedule that no one can complain about.
5) Don’t Be Afraid to Break Up
It’s easy to feel pressure to stick together when you’re travelling as a group, but that’s rarely the right way to keep the peace. After all, no matter how well-suited and happy in one another’s company you are, we all need a breather from time to time if we don’t want to drive each other wild.
While group activities are great, it’s also worth planning periods where you can just please yourselves. Aim to do this at least once every other day of your trip, whether for the whole day, the evening, or just a few hours in the morning. The main point is that you feel free to get away from each other and that no one’s worried about hurting feelings if they fancy going off for a romantic meal with their partner, rather than the entire party.
You can never guarantee harmony when different groups of people travel together, especially if this is the first time that you’ve shared this kind of experience. However, arguments between friends abroad often involve misunderstandings, a lack of communication, and a lack of structure.
You can overcome all of these setbacks when you put these plans in place, which makes it way more likely that your trip will go off without a hitch, or at least without any major friendship mishaps along the way.