Arguably the only thing better than finally exploring your dream destination is to experience it with the ones you love most. There's nothing quite like sharing special moments on the road with friends and family, turning to each other is surprise and wonder as stories that will be told for years to come unfold before your eyes.
This said, it's not uncommon for seemingly perfect companionships to dissolve on the road. They're spending big while you're on a budget. You want to go fast to cover all the 'must-see' attractions, but they prefer aimless wandering. You love meeting other travellers, they prefer to hang out with those they know well. At home (in small doses), you seemed like the perfect match but after six days together, you're on the brink of tearing their hair out.
This is where our guide to travelling with others come in; simple measures to ensure you land back home with relationships that are stronger than ever.
Don’t avoiding talking budget when planning your trip. It’s super important that you understand your travel partner's relationship with money. While you may not earn the same, having a similar attitude to spending will go a long way in easing tension down the track. We are big fans of keeping a kitty where each traveller contributes an equal share of money to be spent on communal expenses (i.e. taxis, groceries, accommodation, restaurants that don’t split bills). This saves the agonising, “You paid for the cab, but then I got dinner and our metro ticket, so how much do you owe me? Or do I owe you?” conversation every few hours.
Everyone needs a little time to themselves. One of the best ways to prevent yourself from being driven (or driving someone) insane, is to take a few moments alone. Agree before you leave that this is something you all want and schedule solo adventures as you go. Whether you’re just darting out to the supermarket, wandering the local neighbourhood or decide to split ways for a day (a great way to catch the museum your friend didn’t want to see, or to avoid their bucket list party bar), head out alone and refuel. When you’re back together, replenish your conversations with stories and observations from your travels.
Remember that, like life, travel is all about compromise. Some like it fast and if your friend wants to race through a city’s major attractions in a day, then that’s ok. But on the same hand, when you’re looking forward to a full day of purposeless city wandering, you should be able to enjoy that too. Talk about your travelling styles before you leave and work out how you can make them both work for your adventure partnership.
While it’s important to respect the opinions of your fellow travellers, make sure you voice your perspective too. Despite being totally at ease with whatever your companion has planned, avoid leaving all the decisions to them with a dismissive ‘I don’t mind, whatever you want to do’ attitude. Do your own research and put forward ideas that interest you!
And while we’re on the topic of respect, if you have a train to catch or you’d all agreed to make it a local attraction before the crowds, don’t be half way through your bathroom routine while everyone else is waiting at the front door (see compromise above). No one likes a drag.
While it’s important that everyone is contributing equally, money can divide relationships pretty quickly as tensions rise. Understanding that travel will cost you, give or take the $5 you spent on your friends metro card yesterday, will go a long way in keeping the peace. As mentioned earlier, discuss budgets before you leave and spend from a communal kitty where appropriate. However if your mate's short a few bucks, shout them a round of drinks tonight - hopefully they'll get you an ice cream tomorrow. With like-minded companions and open communication, you should all come out on top (bar a few dollars on either side).
Tell us about your experiences travelling with others. Do you have any tips to keeping the peace? Share them below!