Traveling with your best friend can definitely make-or-break your friendship. All your personality ticks are revealed, who you truly are as a person becomes apparent and what you thought of as a mildly annoying trait in your pal will get multiplied a thousand fold.
But traveling with a friend isn’t all doom and gloom – it’s always nice to have a familiar face and someone who knows you by your side as you discover new things, and if you can make it through a trip without killing each other, you’ll most probably end up best friends for life. Sometimes you just don’t want to travel solo.
So how do you pick the right pal to take that trip with you? Consider this:
Your best travel buddy is not necessarily your best friend or your partner
My best friend and I get along fabulously but we’ve never taken a trip together. Why? Mostly because we’re pretty similar in temperament – easy-going, not too particular about stuff, tending towards laziness.
While that works in our friendship in that we’ve never had a serious argument, as travel partners, we just might end up spending all our time lazing because we’re waiting for the other person to plan something.
Picking the right travel partner is essential. While the default person to travel with is usually a spouse or a best friend, you need to consider if your relationship will withstand the pressure of spending 24/7 together in a foreign land.
Are your travel styles compatible?
I know of plenty of couples who break up and friends who stop speaking to each other after a disastrous vacation, but I also have best friends who I hold dearer after surviving a trip together.
Consider this: can you decide together on things? Does one of you naturally take charge, or are you both passive? Sometimes quick decisions need to be made on the road, and sometimes, you’ll disagree on things you want to do. Will you be able to just do your own thing for a day with no hard feelings?
Some compromise and tolerance goes a long way
When you’re overseas, it’ll be just you and your best friend spending most of your waking moments with each other.
If foreign languages are involved, you’ll probably only have each other to talk to, so your travel buddy has to be someone who you’re both comfortable with having long conversations and being silent with. Awkward conversation will only add to any tension on your trip.
You might snap at each other at some point – being with someone 24/7 will definitely show the best and worst of each person.
The graduation trip I had with my school buddies hit a bit of a bump when one party decided he had to leave early for a pining partner, and it caused a lot of tension during and after the trip (thankfully we got through that and occasionally reminisce about ‘that time’ over drinks today).
Take some breathing room when you need it
If your personalities and interests differ significantly, you’ll need to compromise by doing a little of what each other likes. You might also want to consider planning your itinerary so that you’ll give each other some space on the trip – perhaps a day where you each do your own thing and meet up for dinner to trade stories.
Maybe you want to go shopping but your best friend wants to chill by the pool? Be sure you’re both the kind of people who are comfortable doing some things alone, even when you’re on a trip together. Don’t be upset because they don’t want to do what you want to do!