When Traveling with a Friend Becomes a Problem

Fighting wolves

Most of my friends do not travel often but the handful that do always share stories about the nightmares they experienced with their travel partners.

Just the other day a friend was telling me how the two people she was traveling through Asia expected to be able to use their credit cards everywhere and refused to get any cash. That backfired when they were unable to buy anything to eat for a couple of days unless it was in a hotel or a tourist trap.

Another friend told me about how they are no longer friends with the people they traveled through Europe for a few weeks with. By the end of the trip they were at each other’s throats for various reasons, but mostly because they just spent too much time together and didn’t get enough space.

A recent trip of mine didn’t go a smoothly as planned with my travel partner and I realized we had quite different tastes and plans for our trip. We were able to solve these issues fairly easily though and I will give you some tips on how we did it.

Plan ahead of time

You don’t need to set dates or times, but discuss what you would like to see, activities you would like to do, and what you would like to eat. Don’t forget to take budget into consideration. Make sure that you understand each other’s desires and what they are financially capable of doing.

Notice when an issue arises

Do not ignore problems. When you see that something is beginning to become an issue, address it immediately. Talk about it. Explain your feelings, listen to their concerns and wishes, and try to find a compromise. Never force somebody into doing or going somewhere they don’t want to. They will inevitably have a terrible time because they had a poor attitude about it to begin with.

Split up

Sometimes there is no easy resolve and the best thing to do is simply go your own way. Maybe you just need to explore the area on your own or hang out with some people from your hostel. There is nothing wrong with this. Just be an adult and explain that it has become obvious you guys need some time apart.

This doesn’t mean you have to sever all ties from this person foe your entire trip. Maybe a day or two apart is all you need.

This is what we did in my situation that I mentioned earlier. I don’t think either of us minded. We were both mature enough to realize the issue and we enjoyed some activities together, and also had fun meeting other people to spend time with.

If you haven’t realized by now, the key is communication, understanding, and respect. Your travel partner has spent just as much money and sacrificed just as much time to be there. You both deserve to have fun and with these tips hopefully you can.

[tip]Have any tips or horror stories? Please share in the comments below![/tip]

5 Replies to “When Traveling with a Friend Becomes a Problem”

  1. Great article and I think the key thing here is to think about how well you know your travel buddies and also how compatible you are but it can indeed be an eye-opening experience!

  2. I laughed when I read your fear article and it said “missing home.” I travelled for a week with a friend of 13 years who couldn’t wait to get away from her family; only to sink into horrible depression the second we got on the plane. She didn’t talk the entire trip and only came alive in souvenir shops where she could buy stuff for her family she missed. It was horrible. I basically just decided to enjoy myself and ignore her. It worked great, but I’ve never asked her to travel with me again.

  3. Great tips. A couple years ago I did a week in Europe by myself. A couple friends were going about a month after I was and didn’t understand why I didn’t want to go with them. I came back from a great trip, made new friends, saw and experienced lots of interesting things. They came back and didn’t speak to each other for a few months because of all the stress. Isn’t there some saying that if you want to know what someone is like, you have to travel with them.

    I think it’s important to realize that everyone has their own expectations of traveling. And it’s important to discuss that before you leave. No one should have to give up on their idea of a vacation. If you want to hit the museums and you’re friend wants to shop then split up. I’d also recommend testing out the travels with a shorter trip, like say a few days in Vegas or a small road trip, to see if you can do long term travel together.

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