TSE writer Niamh Crawford-Walker talks travelling with friends.
At least once a week, my best friends and I take to the group chat to reminisce about our last trip together. It was Bali. We were broke. It was a blast and I’d do it all again tomorrow though maybe without the food poisoning during the long journey home this time.
Travelling with friends is a totally different experience to that of travelling with family or a significant other. It’s a chance to properly catch up and strengthen friendships while also figuring out how not to push each other’s buttons too much. All in all, there’s no better feeling than switching that out of office on in preparation for jetting off on a girl’s trip.
My best friends and I thankfully travel well together. We’re comfortable enough with one another to know when we need space or when we’re up for an adventure. We’re also close enough to know that a holiday squabble is just that, a moment of stress when we’ve snapped and will be over it in five minutes.
The memories created by a trip with friends are like no other and are to be treasured for life. If you’re off to travel the world with your friends this summer, here are some top tips to make it the trip of a lifetime that you’ve been planning it to be.
Expectations versus reality
Rule number one when planning a trip with anyone is to establish what everyone’s priorities are for the trip. Take note of all of the things you’d like to do on the trip and map out activities on your radar. If you’re really organised you can break these down into must-see places so that you don’t miss out on anything you really wanted to do. Also, take into account the kind of vibe you’re expecting the trip to take. Is it a weekend filled with partying? Chill by the pool? Or an adventure holiday jam-packed with activities? Whatever you decide, check in with one another about this before the trip.
Consider your compatibility
Friends are amazing and we could all sing their praises until the cows come home. We’re all so tight-knit for a reason after all. However, there is a difference between enjoying a night out with friends and being able to live with them for sustained periods of time. It doesn’t weaken your friendship if this is the case, it just means you both can be self-aware about where you both stand with one another. You never truly know people until you’ve either lived with them or travelled with them. Better to think about this ahead of time than ruining the holiday for yourselves. How do you like to spend free time? How organised are you both about getting to the airport and organising the admin side of travel? Do you have conflicting dietary restrictions? Have a realistic conversation about what it will be like to travel together before booking your trip.
Give each other space
You’re spending a lot of time together. All day every day and most likely sharing a room as well. It’s a barrel of laughs spending that much time with people who understand you the most but at the end of the day, we’re all human, we all need space at some point. Personally, I consider myself to be introverted which means I need to know that at some point in the day I will have time to myself to recharge. In my case, that could be something as simple as half an hour of peace to read my book by the pool. When interrailing with my best friend a few years ago, our shorter stints of transport was when we had some space from one another, put our earphones in and watched the world go by. Wanting time alone shouldn’t be considered offensive, it’s a reasonable human need and just because you’re travelling together doesn’t mean that you have to do everything together.
While it’s important to discuss expectations and priorities before the trip, it’s important to remember there will come times whether in the planning stages or while on the trip itself that you’ll have to be prepared to compromise. In a group, there will always be someone who might be a little pickier about food, overly relaxed about when to get to the airport or worried about money. Compromise where you can but stand your ground when it feels important to you. You also invested in this trip and deserve to enjoy yourself as much as anyone else but for the most part, compromise from all parties will make everything flow much better.
As mentioned in the last point, you’ve invested time and money into this trip and what’s the point of a holiday if not to let your hair down and have fun? There are always going to be challenging moments at some point in the trip but don’t let them stress you out too much. Enjoy the chance to travel and see the world with your friends while you have opportunity to do so. Here’s to having the best trip possible with your favourite people around you.