Traveling with friends can be fun but also challenging. For your next trip, here are some tips and tricks to maximize pleasure, while minimizing the drama.

Friends enjoying travel together.
Friends enjoying travel together.
Photo by Katie Drazdauskaite on Unsplash

Traveling is one of the biggest pleasure in life and who better to share those experiences with than your close friends? Having a companion or two adds an element of comfort, safety, and fun to any trip. It’s a hard decision though…who should you travel with?

My trip-planning criteria includes spontaneity, heart-racing activities, and a backpacker’s budget. Naturally, this type of vacation wouldn’t appeal to my friends who prefer water beds and long days lounging on the beach. Arguments are inevitable if each member of your group has starkly different wants and need. Avoid the drama by choosing your travel buddies wisely. This means considering any annoying habits they may have or any unresolved tensions or conflicts still simmering beneath the surface.

Miscommunication among travel partners can ruin your vacation plans. Here are three tips that will help you avoid these messy situations.

Don’t Over-Organize

Don't plan too much when you travel
Don’t plan too much when you travel
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

If you’re traveling with friends, avoid the mindset that every hostel, train ride, and daytime activity must be figured out in advance. This adds unnecessary pressure and is usually an unrealistic goal anyway. That’s when arguments happen!

When I travel, I like to have a basic outline of where I’ll be and which sites and activities I’d most like to check out while there. Go with the flow and you’ll enjoy it so much more. Creating a strict timetable will only limit you if something doesn’t go according to plan. This will lead to confrontation.

When I traveled to Canada, I had the Lonely Planet book with me at all times to track where my friends and I had been. We also used it to circle hostels, restaurants, and activities we were most interested in, with each of us using a different color to indicate our preferences. It was a great way to understand the interests of my fellow travel buddies. Much of the time, a location would be circled in multiple colors, suggesting that we all wanted to go there. This is an excellent method to understand one another and avoid arguments.

Spend a Day Apart

Take some time away from friends.
Take some time away from friends.
Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

This is a great way to travel and ensures you and your friends don’t get sick of one another. Often, arguments stem from indecision about how to spend the day. Perhaps one of you wants to relax by the pool, while another prefers a Jeep tour in the mountains.

We all like to indulge in different interests and that’s OK. Maybe one of you is just too tired and wants to stay in rather than checking out that lobster buffet. Life is too short to stress about such minor details. If you want the buffet, go and enjoy the buffet!

It’s nice to reconvene with friends later on and discuss what those few hours apart brought you. To be able to travel is a wonderful thing, so try not to waste a second of it and do what makes you happy.

Agree On a Budget

Discuss your travel budget.
Discuss your travel budget.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

In an ideal world, you and your travel buddies would agree on a budget in advance. Choosing travel partners who share your spending philosophy is always preferable but this often isn’t possible. One of your companions might want a luxury hotel, while another is thinking more along the lines of a hammock on the beach. You must communicate your travel budget before embarking on a trip to avoid unwanted confrontation later on.

Sometimes, this comes down to travel desires. I’m a walker. I’ll walk anywhere. I enjoy exploring unknown places on foot but I’ve also traveled with friends who insist on taking taxis everywhere. I did an entire Barcelona getaway like this and it really wasn’t my style.

You will almost always need to compromise. With friends, a bit of give and take is a good thing. For example, if some of you have the budget for a skydiving adventure, you shouldn’t be held back by friends who can’t—or won’t—spend the money on such an excursion. Be sure you are completely transparent when planning your trip. Advanced communication and honesty will do wonders to keep everyone on the same page.

So there you have it: three tips to help you avoid confrontation when traveling with friends. It’s all about being realistic, communicating effectively, and respecting the thoughts and ideas of others. Traveling with friends can be an incredibly amazing experience. Enjoy your time away and make lifelong memories.