Travelling with a friend or friends is a great way to catch up and spend quality time together, especially when you don’t live in the same city or country. Up until now my home base has been New Zealand but my best friend lives in Melbourne, Australia. Over the last 8 years we have both made it a priority to do a 3-4 day road trip together once a year. Either I fly over to Melbourne or she comes to Christchurch. Most of the year we Skype approx. once a month but spending time with her in person is priceless. Even though we get along famously, there’s usually one occasion during each trip when things get a little “titchy” between us.
This got me thinking about some of the issues that can arise during holidays with friends and how we can plan and minimise them.
Cost of Accommodation and Food
Friends may have quite different incomes and/or financial responsibilities that will dictate how much they can afford to spend on a holiday. We should not assume that our friends have the same amount of money available for a trip as we do. I can imagine situations where it could be very uncomfortable for someone if their friend/s decided on a hotel or restaurant that was beyond their budget. The same goes for ordering alcohol at restaurants. It is best to discuss these things before entering the establishment.
I am quite tight with my money and tend to gravitate toward budget travel whereas my friend likes a bit of luxury and is much more open with her wallet. Our experience of travelling together has taught us to discuss how much we are willing to spend on accommodation before the trip. What has worked for us is a compromise of both budget and higher end accommodation, but the important thing is that we discuss it beforehand. She knows that I don’t drink alcohol in restaurants because it’s expensive but she is welcome to buy herself a glass of wine if she chooses. Travelling with her has been good for me because she has encouraged me to have experiences that I normally wouldn’t allow myself e.g enjoying a Degustation menu at a top restaurant during our road trip to the Grampians in Victoria, Australia.
Organising the Trip and Changes of Plan
Is one person doing all the organising or is task equally shared? Friends may take on different organizational tasks depending on their personal strengths, or maybe one person takes the lead because they simply have more time while their friend/s don’t. Again it is a good idea to discuss this beforehand so that everyone is comfortable with the arrangements and no one has their nose put out of joint.
Some of us like to have every detail of an holiday nailed down before we leave while other people like to be flexible with arrangements so they can take advantage of opportunities that may arise during the trip. We all have our preferences but there are certain things I wouldn’t do e.g pulling out of the trip (unless you had a very good reason) or inviting another friend along at the last minute when your friend/s have already booked their ticket/s.
What travel style do you have?
My friend and I usually have a basic itinerary and book accommodation ahead of time when we know it is limited. We like to have some flexibility built in, especially if there is the possibility of a dramatic change in the weather forecast. Whoever is least busy in the weeks leading up to the trip usually offers to book the accommodation. Re. planning the itinerary the one of us who has the most local knowledge tends to take the lead but will always check that the other is happy with the plan.
I don’t think I snore but I probably do occasionally, as does my friend. Also sometimes hotel walls can be thin and your snoring next-door neighbour’s bed might be up against the wall. That’s why I always take earplugs with me.
Taking eye shades is a good idea too. If you are sharing a room with your friend/s you may want to go to sleep while they might want to stay up for a while and read. Problem solved. Secondly, some accommodations don’t have great curtains to block out the morning sun. Eye shades will prevent you from waking with the sun at 0500 hours!!
What issues have arisen for you when travelling with friends? How did you manage them?