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!
I’m lucky – I have several best friend travel buddies. My husband is the first. We are very similar in our likes and dislikes and it makes traveling together really pleasant. I also have a best female girlfriend that I recently took a cruise with – sharing a small cabin – and we are still best friends. You know you are good friends when you can do that! I also am very lucky that I am close friends with my sister and sister-in-law and we often travel together. We make each laugh until we cry and have memories from all our years together. I’m truly fortunate with all my great travel buddies!
Timely post because I’m just embarking on a short tripwith a girlfriend I’m not really very close to. It’ll be an adventure and experience, but, as it is short, not much harm can come of it. Otherwise, it’s me, myself and my ego. We get on fabulously.
I’ve had great experiences traveling with friends! At times small things can become bothersome, but when that happened, I found that communication was key. Talking about things instead of letting them fester is the best way to go. And if you’re sick of who you’re with, you can always venture off on your own for the day (if not more)!
thanks for all your comments ladies! =)
I think giving each other space is an absolute must on a trip. I went on a trip with a friend of mine who couldn’t handle one minute alone and it drove me nuts!
Ugh, clingy travel friends are the worst! Sometimes it’s okay to go out, do your own thing and make new friends on your own!
My partner is almost always my travel buddy and it works splendidly – we have the same interests, have the same pace, and work pretty well together. I’ve tried traveling with other friends and they all drive me mad after a few days. 😛
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I have two-three travel buddies. One is Ash and she’s just like me. We travel well together and we have a laid back attitude on things. Plus, she has interests like me. My other is my BFF, G. She gets great airplane options with Delta, but we fly standbye. She is different than myself, but we work it out together. I do something she wants to do and she does something I want to do. Of course, we talk about this beforehand. Being the nerd that I am, I will create a spreadsheet of the places we want to go to in that city. My other one is not one I typically travel with, but she wants to party and have a good time. She’s me X 50. So, it works out.
I’m hoping to add a new friend to the list soon.
Also, my boyfriend and I did our first trip together in Dublin. We have fun together and just enjoy walking, talking, and taking in the sights/eachother’s company.
The friendship I have with a very close friend has almost been destroyed by travelling together. We do well on tours but on our own it is a disaster. On tours I just have to keep her amused and laughing and make sure she doesn’t get lost when off the bus. On the road she seems to be incapable of contributing in any helpful way and I feel similar to a mother talking to a child. She feels that I have a negative attitude and that her own behaviour is “just who she is”. I feel that she relies on me for everything – even having me send her the pictures I take on my own camera as her camera is “acting dumb”! I don’t want to see any more of her warts and have learned to choose my travel mates more carefully…