Whether you’re backpacking through Europe or hanging out at a tropical island beach bar, having a travel buddy along for the ride just makes things easier. There’s always someone to watch your back, your bag or your beer. Travelling with your bestie is like having your very own Patron Saint of travel.
Coping with differing personalities
But what happens when things go wrong on holidays? Spending every hour of every day together can become a little tiresome. And let’s face it, travel can be stressful. Planes get delayed. Trains don’t turn up. Buses break down. Hotel rooms don’t live up to those glowing online reviews. Little annoyances can become a big deal if they’re not dealt with swiftly.
Travel journalist Lucy Cooper* has made a career out of living out of a suitcase and usually prefers to travel with a friend rather than going solo.
‘I much prefer to travel with someone than alone. I have travelled a lot on organised trips over the years with the same friend, always amicably, splitting the bills etc. But we always have our own rooms!’ she clarifies.
Unfortunately, things don’t always work out so well and friendships become strained. ‘I often travel with friends and usually it’s fine,’ Cooper says. ‘I guess there’s always got to be a first time for travelling with a friend, but although I’d known Maria for many years, I saw a different side of her when we went on a three week overseas trip together.’
It helps to establish some simple ground rules before you travel. Discussing parameters beforehand on what is and isn’t acceptable to each of you is a good idea too. Cooper notes that this could have saved them a lot of angst as she only discovered previously unknown things about her friend once they hit the road together. ‘I didn’t know that she would be late for everything, including bus connections. She didn’t care. Nor did I know that she would spend hours in our shared bathroom!’
Photo credit Surf Goddess Retreat Bali
Who hasn’t been on holiday and fallen hopelessly for the bartender with the sparkling eyes or the bubbly boat hostess handing out the snorkelling gear? What’s a little harmless holiday flirtation? It’s all part of the fun right?
But a holiday romance can cause conflict with your bestie once a third person is introduced into a formerly contented twosome. This is where open, honest communication and ground rules become important. Leaving your friend by him/herself whilst you canoodle with your holiday fling doesn’t usually go down all that well. Or what if bestie and your new love don’t hit it off? It’s all about consideration and respect for your travel buddy and, ultimately, your friendship.
Photo credit Small Luxury Hotels
Show me the money
Money is one of those ugly subjects many of us are too embarrassed to talk about, even with our friends. Travelling can be an endless procession of handing over cash so it pays to have this conversation long before your bags are packed. A sure way to upset your travel buddy is to be the one that never has any cash at the checkout.
It helps if you and your travel buddy have a similar budget and style of travel otherwise there’s a chance you could fall out with one another. One tip is to create a shared kitty that you can both contribute to equally to pay for things like meals, drinks, public transport etc. On a broader scale, the kitty can also pay for accommodation or sightseeing tours, particularly in places like Indonesia where cheap and cheerful beach bungalows cost a few dollars a night.
Remember why you’re travelling
Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’re human and that means we’ve all got our own little idiosyncrasies that can drive someone else nuts. Travel with a friend long enough and you’ll be exposed to every single one of their annoying traits. You’ll soon learn that they ask a million questions, aren’t good at making decisions, can’t read a bus timetable, snore loudly, the list is endless.
At the end of the day, remember what motivated you to travel in the first place. Savour your adventures and keep planning places to travel to with friends you’ve not yet met.
Photo credit Blanket Bay NZ
What are you waiting for? Use Skyscanner Australia to start planing your holiday with your bestie.
*not her real name
About the author
Fiona Harper is a north Queensland based travel writer at Travel Boating Lifestyle. Widely travelled, highly acclaimed and much published, when she’s not writing she’s probably running a marathon or exploring the world by foot, bike, kayak, camel or boat: whatever mode of transport she can get her hands on!