How to Travel with Friends and Stay FriendsWritten by 1 Comment
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS AND STAY FRIENDS
Like Confucius said, “you NEVER really know someone until you travel with them”. Well he didn’t say that but I am and trust me, you will thank me for my words of wisdom later. You see, some people share the same thoughts, feelings and emotions while traveling, but more often than not you find out things about your travel companions personality that you never needed to know, wanted to know, or care to ever witness again.
Ah yes… We have all been there and if you haven’t, chances are that you will. What began as a dream trip to Phuket with your best friend turns into a “never speak to me again you drunken whore”, or “I saw him first”, or “I’m going out, deal with it”, or “I don’t care if you’re locked out, I’m having fun”, or…. well, you get the idea.
You see travel combines all things specifically designed to put a human being on the edge of sanity: long hours in transit, sleep deprivation, jet lag, waiting in queues, climate changes, international time zones, languages you can’t understand, bugs you have never seen… the list goes on and these are the basics. Throw in some fundamental personality differences, sharing a room, sharing your space, having to compromise everything, foreign food, fighting over the same guy/girl and you can begin to see my point.
It really is a jungle out there and my advice is to make like a boy scout and always be prepared. To help you out, here are my top five tips to ensure you stay friends while travelling overseas:
There’s nothing worse than when you and your travel companion’s mindset on spending don’t match – while you’re looking at getting by on cheap beer and roadside Pad Thai, your friend’s rolling on a champagne and caviar budget. I’m not saying you must have the same amount of coin, but talk honestly about what your budgets are and what you want to spend your money on because what seems like a small thing at first can rapidly snowball into a nightmare.
IN OR OUT
Never assume you know what your friend wants to do overseas. Just because they snort blow off naked chests on a regular basis back home, does not mean they want to go out overseas. It’s called a holiday for a reason. Check in with the people you are going with and figure out just how large you want the holiday to be. Trust me there’s nothing worse than being expected to go out when you really don’t want to.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me… and you… and your friends. Now, I don’t know about you, but even if my friend lived solo on the moon it DOES NOT mean I’m comfortable with them wandering off drunk and alone. If you have traveled before, chances are that you’re pretty independent which is great, but just because you fancy yourself as a bit more worldly than your travelling buddies, having them worry that you’re lying dead in a ditch somewhere while you’re actually enjoying cocktails with a bronzed Brazilian boy called Carlos ruins their night and is easily avoided by making sure you communicate clearly – be that by ensuring you have a chat about wandering off alone before heading out for the night, or by leaving a little note on your bedside table letting your friends know where you are. It’s all too easy to misunderstand a nod, a smile and a drunken hand gesture from across a darkened dance floor, so be clear about where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Then, stick to that schedule and keep your friends informed of any changes.
By all means spend time alone, but a little common courtesy and some old-school manners will save you and your friendship from a world of “Where they f*ck have you been!?” dramas.
THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT
If you and your travel buddies are single and ready to mingle then meeting other likeminded souls is as much a part of your itinerary as lying on the beach or sampling local beverages. Plus, it can be insanely fun. But trust me – when out on the prowl with your BFFs in a foreign land there are many sharks lurking in the murky water. Most dangerous is the fact that there might actually only be one shark – the tall, dark and handsome one that you both have your eye on… Ahhh yes, some things don’t change from our teen years and two friends cruising the same babe is always going to be bad. Throw in sharing the same hotel room and way too much alcohol and it will end in tears every time. Avoid this at all costs. Set some ground rules and stick to them. Again, communication is key.
BACK AT THE RANCH
Speaking of sharing a hotel room, in the event that either you or your travel companions do pick up, it pays to keep in mind the realities of taking your new friend back your place to – you know – get to know each other a little better. Personally, I’m not a fan of two things: the first is listening to my BFF getting it on in the bed next to me while I’m trying to sleep, and the second is having a friend wander off into the night with a complete stranger in a foreign county. He may seem like the cutest boy she’s ever met but then again could also be the local serial killer, so safety first at all times. Try and reach a compromise with room-sharing, the old “hang-a-towel-on-the-door-handle” agreement is usually pretty effective. It also pays to remember that no holiday romance – however intense/cosmic/fleeting – is worth ruining a friendship over; sisters before misters. Bro’s before… well… you get my drift.
Also on the subject of housekeeping, when you are sharing a room be clear about some basic things from the get go. Things like: who has keys, or agree to carry a key each; keep common areas clean; what is a comfortable setting on the air conditioning; hell, it even helps to decide how you’re going to split payments for everything from the room, to transport to rounds at the bar. It might seem trivial, but for the love of god and your friendship, sort them out early before adventuring out into the big, mad yonder together and you might just get there and back with your friendship intact and – the best part – be able to reminisce about it together for years to come.
If you have had your own nightmare experience, or perhaps have a travel tip you’d like to share let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org