It feels like these days, everyone is a traveller — or wants to be. From surfing in Hawaii to hiking in Nepal, it’s clear that globe-trotting has become a major life priority for many people my age.
For instance, an amazing 39% of Millennial and Generation Z workers won’t accept a job that doesn’t let them travel. And no wonder, as travel can bring so much richness to your life, from mind-blowing experiences to lasting memories and from greater self-confidence to a broadened perspective on life.
So if you would like to see more of our planet and are planning to team up with a few pals to do so, then that’s fantastic. In fact, 40% of Millennial travelers will take a vacation with their friends in the next year. However, the truth is, jetting off with your best buddies can bring the odd pitfall as well. In order to avoid that, here are three top tips for travelling with friends:
1. Work out if you are planners or free-wheelers
Some people like to plan every aspect of a trip down to the very last detail. They know exactly what accommodation they will be staying in, exactly what tours they want to take, and exactly what coffee shop serves the best triple mochaccino (according to the latest online reviews).
Others are free-wheelers — they decide on a destination, book a flight, throw a bikini into a backpack, board the plane and cross their fingers. But while neither approach is better than the other, it can be a problem if you are one type and your friends are another. So what should you do?
The answer is simple — compromise. If you are a planner, then try to avoid micromanaging every aspect of the trip. By all means, research key things like the best budget guest houses or the fastest travel links (your friends will thank you for it). But try to avoid mapping out every single day like it’s a military operation.
And if you are a free-wheeler, then by all means, be spontaneous and go with the flow. But remember that it doesn’t hurt to check a few maps in advance, or to read up on key safety information.
In fact, the good news is that planners and free-wheelers can really complement each other on a trip. The former can help everyone to avoid disasters and obstacles, while the latter can bring a little spontaneity into the picture. And let’s face it, to have a great travel experience, you definitely need a bit of both.
If you are a shoestring traveller but one or more of your buddies wants a slightly more luxurious experience (or vice versa), then this could soon create conflict. So you all have to decide in advance what your general daily budget will be in terms of food, accommodation and activities. For instance, will it be cheap beach huts or deluxe bungalows with air-con? Will you be eating street food or dining out on three-course meals with wine?
Often, the best approach is to mix and match both experiences (a little bit of luxury never hurt anyone, especially when you are aching from carrying that backpack). So aim to come to an agreement about money in advance in order to avoid conflicts later on. This travel budget calculator might come in useful.
3. Embrace your differences
Maybe your friends are die-hard party-till-dawn people, while you’re more of a sensitive introvert who wants to sit by a waterfall reading a novel. Or maybe you are a thrill-seeker who wants to bungee jump off cliffs, while your friends are far less daring and would rather relax on beach hammocks? Either way, it’s crucial to acknowledge these differences before travelling, so that you don’t all end up feeling disappointed in each other.
But that said, it is also important to be flexible and embrace new activities that are out of your comfort zone. So if the idea of jungle trekking makes you nervous, but your friends are dying to head off into the rainforest, then why not push yourself to give it a shot? It’s all about being willing to find new sides of yourself. In fact, is that not what travel is all about?
I hope that these tips have been useful to you. Remember, going off on an adventure with your buddies can be an incredible experience and most importantly of all, it will give you memories to share forever. So get planning and have a good time!